Everything you need to know about the Immigration Bill 2015 and how it may affect you

The Immigration Bill 2015 being proposed by government and presented to Parliament is now available to view.

It lays out the expansion of powers to a large number of immigration officials and makes it easier to remove people. It includes a crackdown on illegal immigration, removing protections of migrant workers and affects UK bank accounts, driving licences and rental accommodation.

There is a a second reading of the bill on 13th October where it will be debated in the House of Commons.

Here are the main ways in which the bill may affect you:

Charges on Tier 2 Sponsorship

Allows the Home Office to impose an immigration skills charge on sponsors of Tier 2 non-EEA nationals. This visa levy on businesses using foreign labour is being considered by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) review on Tier 2. Until MAC have fully advised government, the extent of the charge is not known, however it is believed a charge will be administered in some form.

Illegal Workers and Employment

Immigration officials can close down businesses, seize earnings and have right to enter and search properties and seize them too. Focus is on small businesses such as the ability to close off-licences and takeaways. These small businesses and employers are often unable to carry the burden of complex immigration checks. If found employing illegal migrants, you could recieve a maximum criminal penalty which has changed from two to five years. Illegal migrants could get a sentence of up to 51 weeks including a fine.

Deport First Appeal Later

The ‘deport first, appeal later’ provision will be extended to all immigration appeals and judicial reviews. This means not only non-human rights cases, but human rights cases as well.

Driving Licences

Under the bill, it will be a criminal offence to ‘drive whilst an illegal immigrant’. This includes a criminal sentence of up to 51 weeks and/or a fine. When investigating illegal migration, police are able to seize driving licences. This means it is even more likely, as an ethnic minority, that you will be stopped by the police whilst driving.

Bank Accounts

The bill forces banks to check current accounts against migrant databases. Banks will have to notify the Home Office if checks confirm the account holder no longer has permission to remain in the UK. This could lead to the freezing or closure of accounts. This is particularly worrying as many cannot produce satisfactory evidence of their right to remain in the UK which could lead to many being closed mistakenly.

Language Requirements

Public sector workers will be required to have fluent English language requirements or will be barred from public sector jobs. This includes migrant workers in local authorities, health and education. Details of how this will be tested are currently unknown but a code of practice for employers will also be published.

Residency and Renting

The immigration bill introduces a criminal charge of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine for landlords letting out property to a migrant without a ‘right to rent’. This policy can sometimes encourage discrimination for those with foreign sounding names or appearance.

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For more information on applying, read Migreat’s guides on: Tier 2Tier 5 and how to get a visa sponsorship to work in the UK after graduation.

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