Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday opened the second reading debate for the Immigration Bill which the government believes will make the immigration system operate more fairly and effectively.
The Immigration Bill will make it easier to remove those with no right to be in the UK, reduce the number of appeals they can make, and simplify the process.
In addition it will ensure that only legal migrants can benefit from and have access to the labour market, health services, housing, bank accounts and driving licences.
“Those who play by the rules and work hard do not want to see businesses gaining an unfair advantage through the exploitation of illegal labour. They don’t want to see our valuable public services – paid for by the taxpayer – used and abused by illegal migrants,” Ms. May said. “It is unacceptable that hard-working taxpayers have to compete with people who have no right to be here. The bill will begin to address these absurdities and restore the balance.”
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.