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Zimbabweans Under Pressure From Tougher UK Immigration Policies

Zimbabweans living illegally in the United Kingdom are finding life more difficult as U.K. authorities implement stiffer measures against immigration-related crime.

The Home Office said this week it recruit 800 new immigration officers to enforce the new Immigration Nationality Directorate in force since July. The new rules have led to the deportation of around 5,000 failed asylum seekers of various nationalities.

Measures to identify and deport illegal immigrants include penalties for their employers and rewards for members of the public who inform authorities about them.

Zimbabwean who had failed to obtain political asylum were spared deportation until August, when a special tribunal found that there was no reason to believe that most of them would face reprisals upon their return to Zimbabwe. Some 15,000 Zimbabweans reportedly sought asylum from 2000 to 2005, but relatively few were granted it.

Immigration lawyer Simbarashe Muzenda told Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the crackdown poses a major threat to illegal Zimbabweans.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 For Zimbabwe...