You may be interested to know that the Immigration Act received Royal Assent earlier this month. I give below a Ministerial summary of what it does:
• reduce the number of immigration decisions that can be appealed from 17 to 4, whilst introducing a quick and cost-effective system of Administrative Review to correct case-working errors – preserving appeals for those asserting fundamental rights;
• ensure the courts have regard to Parliament’s view of what the public interest requires when considering Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in immigration cases;
• reform the removals process, replacing the current multiple decision points with a single decision notice to ensure individuals are in no doubt as to their immigration status and their liability to removal;
• reinforce our commitment to end the detention of children for immigration purposes by putting key elements of the family returns process into law;
• restrict the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail unless there has been a material change of circumstances;
• require private landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants, to prevent those with no right to live in the UK from accessing private rented housing (this will be implemented in one geographical area first and the results evaluated before it is extended);
• introduce a new requirement for temporary migrants with a time-limited immigration status in non-exempt categories to make a financial contribution to our National Health Service;
• require banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening bank accounts;
• make it easier for the Home Office to recover unpaid civil penalties;
• introduce new powers to check applicants’ immigration status before issuing driving licences and to revoke licences where immigrants are found to have overstayed in the UK;
• clamp down on people who try to gain an immigration advantage by entering into a sham marriage or civil partnership;
• allow the Home Secretary to deprive a naturalised British citizen of their citizenship in cases where they have conducted themselves in a way which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK, where the Home Secretary has reasonable grounds for believing the person is able to become a national of another country;
• correct an anomaly in nationality law to enable certain children born before 1 July 2006 to a British father but whose parents were not married at the time to apply to be registered as British citizens and acquire their father’s British nationality. This rectifies a historical anomaly and provides all children with the same rights, irrespective of whether their parents were married when they were born.
This new legislation deals with some of the complaints bloggers here and others have been making about a lack of control over our borders. It remains true that control over who comes here to work from the rest of the EU cannot be changed without renegotiation or exit from the EU, which depends on the result of the 2015 General Election.