Government publishes new Immigration Bill

10 Oct 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK immigration is about to become more difficult under the terms of the Government’s new Immigration Bill published today.

The Bill includes a number of new checks and charges for migrants, plus a reduced appeal process, which will make it more difficult for people to settle in Britain and obtain UK work permits. Banks and private landlords will be required to check applicants’ immigration status before opening accounts or letting property, and new powers will be granted to check driving licence applications against immigration records.

People in the UK on temporary visas will be charged a fee to access NHS treatment and there will be a fresh attempt to stop people obtaining UK visas through ‘sham’ marriages. The Bill will also reduce the number of deportation decisions which people can appeal against from the current 17 to just four, and a ‘deport first’ stance will be take with foreign criminals.

Immigration minister Mark Harper said: "The Immigration Bill will 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.

"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 Government wants to cut net UK migration from countries outside the EU to fewer than 100,000 annually. The figure stood at 176,000 last year, according to Office for National Statistics figures.

The Bill has been criticised by a number of health and housing groups as being unworkable and poised to create a ‘bureaucratic nightmare’, the BBC reported.