Yesterday I received the letter below from the Immigration Minister summarising the new Bill before Parliament to help control immigration. In view of the large number of comments on this site on this topic I thought I would share it with you:
“Today the Immigration Bill had its second reading in the Commons. This marks another important step in our work to clear up the mess we inherited from Labour, by building an immigration system which is fair to hard-working people and legal immigrants, while cracking down on those who are here illegally.
As things stand, it is too easy for people to live and work in the UK illegally and take advantage of our public services. The appeals system is like a never-ending game of snakes and ladders, with almost 70,000 appeals heard every year. The winners are foreign criminals and immigration lawyers – while the losers are the victims of these crimes and the public. It is too difficult to get rid of people with no right to be here.
This is not fair to the British public and it is not fair to legitimate immigrants who want to come and contribute to our society and economy. The Immigration Bill will stop immigrants using public services where they are not entitled to do so, reduce the pull factors which encourage people to come to the UK, and make it easier to remove people who should not be here.
Specifically, the Immigration Bill will make it:
i. easier to identify illegal immigrants by extending powers:
- to collect and check fingerprints;
- to search for passports;
- to implement embarkation controls; and
- to examine the status and credibility of migrants seeking to marry or enter into a civil partnership.
ii. easier to remove and deport illegal immigrants by:
- cutting the number of decisions that can be appealed from 17 to 4 – preserving appeals for those asserting fundamental rights;
- extending the number of non-suspensive appeals – where there is no risk of serious irreversible harm, we should deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeal later;
- ensuring the courts have regard to Parliament’s view of what the public interest requires when considering Article 8 of the European Court of Human Rights in immigration cases; and
- restricting the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail if they have previously been refused it.
iii. more difficult for illegal immigrants to live in the UK by:
- requiring 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;
- making it easier for the Home Office to recover unpaid civil penalties;
- introducing a new requirement for temporary migrants who have only a time-limited immigration status to make a contribution to the National Health Service;
- prohibiting banks from opening current accounts for migrants identified as being in the UK unlawfully, by requiring banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening accounts; and
- introducing 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.
The Home Office has produced a series of factsheets that cover the detail of each of the measures in the Immigration Bill. These can be accessed online at https://www.gov.uk/government/ collections/immigration-bill, along with other important information about the Bill.
The Immigration Bill builds on the immigration reforms we have implemented since 2010. These reforms are working: immigration is down by almost a fifth since its peak in 2010 and net migration is down by a third. We have reformed the Immigration Rules to cut out abuse where it was rife, while at the same time maintaining the UK’s position as an attractive place to live and work for the brightest and best migrants.
We will continue to welcome the brightest and best immigrants who want to contribute to our economy and society and play by the rules. But the law must be on the side of people who respect it, not those who break it.”