The government has unveiled a new Bill meant to make it harder for irregular immigrants to settle in the UK.
The Immigration Bill will reform the removals and appeals system, making it easier and quicker to remove those who have no right to be in the UK.
It will also end what the Home Office terms “the abuse of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights” which is the right to respect for private and family life.
The Immigration Bill will also prevent irregular immigrants accessing or abusing public services and the labour market.
“The Immigration Bill will stop migrants abusing public services to which they are not entitled, reduce the pull factors which draw illegal immigrants to the UK and make it easier to remove people who should not be here,” Immigration Minister Mark Harper said. “We will continue to welcome the brightest and best migrants 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.”
The Bill will make it easier to identify irregular immigrants by extending powers to collect and check fingerprints and by extending powers to search for passports. It will also extend the powers to implement embarkation controls in addition to extending powers to examine the status and credibility of migrants seeking to marry or enter into civil partnership.
In order to make easier to remove and deport irregular immigrants, the Bill will cut the number of decisions that can be appealed from 17 to four – preserving appeals for those asserting fundamental rights.
It will extend the number of non-suspensive appeals. This means that where there is no risk of serious irreversible harm, UK will deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeal later.
The Bill also contains measures meant to make it difficult for irregular immigrants to live in the UK. Private landlords will be required to check the immigration status of their tenants so as to prevent those with no right to live in the UK from accessing private rented housing.
Under the Bill, banks will be required to check the immigration of status of immigrants before opening current accounts.
The Bill further introduces 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.
Temporary migrants who have only a time-limited immigration status will be required to make a contribution to the National Health Scheme.