The British government has today introduced new legislation to reform immigration law which they hope will crack down on those who are in the UK illegally. In summary, the Immigration Bill will block immigrants living in the country from opening bank accounts, require landlords to check tenant’s immigration status and make it harder for immigrants to appeal deportation. As reported in recent months, the Immigration Bill has caused somewhat of a stir and has been slammed by immigration lawyers and human rights campaigners.
UK Immigration Bill: A Summary of the UK Government’s Bill
On 10 October 2013, the Immigration Bill was introduced into the House of Commons and subject to its Parliamentary progress, the Immigration Bill is expected to receive royal assent in spring next year.
The Immigration Bill will:
- Slash the number of grounds on which migrants can lodge an appeal from 17 to just 4 – preserving appeals for those asserting fundamental rights;
- Extend the number of non-suspensive appeals. Where there is no risk of irreversible harm, foreign criminals will be deported before their appeal has been heard;
- Restrict the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail if they have previously been refused;
- Require banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening bank accounts;
- Introduce new powers to check driving licence applicants immigration status before issuing a licence and revoking licences where immigrants are found to have overstayed in the UK; and
- Clamp down on people who are entering into sham marriages or civil partnerships.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper: UK Continues to Welcome Migrants
Following the introduction of the Immigration Bill, Immigration Minister, Mark Harper has stated that:
“The Immigration Bill will stop migrants using public services to which they are not entitled, reduce the pull factors which encourage people to come to the UK and make it easier to remove people who should not be here.
“We will continue to welcome the brightest and best migrants who want to contribute to our economy and society and play by our rules. But the law must be on the side of people who respect it, not those who break it.”
Will the UK Immigration Bill Reform Current Immigration Law?
The UK government intends for the Immigration Bill to reform the removals and appeals system and they hope that it will make it easier and quicker to remove those with no right to be in the UK. The UK Government intends that the bill will end the alleged abuse of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – the right to respect for private and family life. The UK government also intends for the Bill to prevent illegal migrants accessing and abusing public services and the labour market.
However, Shadow Secretary Yvette Cooper told BBC Radio 4’s The World that the Immigration Bill “doesn’t seem to address some of the serious issues around border control and some of the problems about exploitation of immigration in the labour market, particularly low skill immigration, which has caused concerns about jobs and wages.”