The new UK Immigration Bill- What has it got in store for you?
The Home Office has published a new Immigration Bill which amongst other proposed changes is aimed at stopping migrant workers 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.
The Bill proposes sweeping changes ranging from the introduction of a levy to be paid by all migrants applying for more than six months limited leave to enter or remain for the National Health Service (NHS), to a complete overhaul of the current appeals process right through to changes to registration for Marriages and Civil Partnerships. The fairness of this Bill is undoubtedly debatable.
- Cut the number of decisions that can be appealed from 17 to four – preserving appeals for those relating to human rights, asylum claims and revocation of refugee status or humanitarian protection.
- Extend 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.
- 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.
- Changes to how and when immigration detainees can apply for bail by restricting the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail if they have previously been refused.
- 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.
- Make it easier for the Home Office to recover unpaid civil penalties.
- Introduce a new requirement for temporary migrants for example overseas students, who have only a time-limited immigration status to make a contribution to the National Health Service.
- Require banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening a new bank account.
- 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.
- Clamp down on people who try to gain an immigration advantage by entering into a sham marriage or civil partnership.
There are also proposals to change the regulations allowing the Civil Penalties imposed on employers found to be employing illegal migrants to be capped at £20,000 per illegal migrant employed (double the current level).
There are numerous elements of the Bill which are cause for concern. The removal of the right to appeal for most migrants is one change which is particularly worrying and so is the proposed NHS levy and changes to the duties of landlords. It is worth stating that the bill has to be approved by the parliament before it becomes law and all this while we can only wait to see whether it becomes law.
In case of any questions/clarifications, please contact Rahul Batra, Partner on 020 3553 7711 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.