Immigration Bill introducing a new offence of illegal working receives Royal Assent

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire

The Immigration Bill introducing a series of reforms to crack down on illegal migration has received Royal Assent.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire

Home Office said the Immigration Act 2016 will further strengthen the immigration system and make it harder than ever for people who have no right to be in the UK to live here.

“The message is clear – if you are here illegally, you shouldn’t be entitled to receive the everyday benefits and services available to hard-working UK families and people who have come to this country legitimately to contribute,” Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said. “Whether it is working, renting a flat, having a bank account or driving a car, the new immigration act will help us to take tougher action than ever before on those who flout the law.”

Mr Brokenshire added: “It will deter illegal migrants from trying to reach the UK by preventing them from accessing benefits or services in this country and make it easier for us to remove those with no right to be here. At the same time, it will help us tackle the exploitation of low-skilled workers, create a fairer and more humane detention system and offer the vulnerable sanctuary.”

The Immigration Act 2016 introduces a new offence of illegal working and powers to prosecute rogue landlords and agents who repeatedly fail to carry out right to rent checks or fail to take steps to remove illegal migrants from their property.

Immigration enforcement officers will have new powers to search individuals and properties and seize identity documents if they suspect someone to be here illegally.

It will be possible to electronically tag foreign national offenders on immigration bail.

The Act restricts support given to people whose claims for asylum have been rejected to those who are destitute and face a genuine obstacle to leaving the UK.

It will be possible to resettle unaccompanied children impacted by the ongoing migration crisis.

Under the Act, all public employees in customer-facing roles will be required to speak good English.

It also imposes a new skills levy on businesses bringing migrant labour into the country.

The government has committed to place new limitations on the detention of pregnant women and will introduce regular bail hearings to ensure those entering detention stay there for the shortest period possible.

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