New Immigration Bill: what are ministers proposing?
'Tough' new laws would make it harder for illegal immigrants to live, drive and bank in the UK
THE GOVERNMENT has proposed a range of "tough" new laws to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to live in the UK.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper says the new Immigration Bill, published today, would "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".
The new Immigration Bill would:
- Require banks to check the immigration status of people applying to open an account
- Demand private landlords check the immigration status of their tenants
- Streamline the appeals process in immigration cases. In cases where there is "no risk of serious irreversible harm", it aims to deport foreign criminals first and then hear their appeal later. It also plans to reduce the number of grounds for appeal from 17 to 4
- Require temporary legal migrants, such as overseas students, to make a contribution to the NHS. A £200 levy has been mentioned as an option
- Introduce new powers to check the immigration status of driving licence applicants and revoke the licences of those who outstay their visa
- Create stronger guidance for the courts on the use of human rights laws to prevent deportation, particularly the right to family life
The Bill has already been met with criticism. "Landlords will need to become experts in forged passports, there will be new court battles over the appeals process and, undoubtedly, complaints of poor and unfair decisions will remain," says Dominic Casciani, home affairs correspondent for BBC News.
Labour has complained that the Bill does not tackle problems with the "increasingly shambolic" border control or exploitation in the labour market. Meanwhile, lawyers, landlords, immigration welfare charities and housing organisations have told The Guardian that the bill will lead to a real risk of increased homelessness and widespread discrimination. ·