Immigration Law & Conveyancing

Immigration Bill 2015 – what does it mean for YOU ?

The Immigration Bill makes it clear that the Government wants to make the UK a ‘hostile enviromenment’ for those who are here illegally.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire says ‘ Anyone who thinks the UK is a soft touch should be in no doubt – if you are here illegally, we are going to make it harder for you to remain. We will take action to stop you from working, renting a flat, opening a bank account or driving a car.’

One huge impact of the Bill will also be the fact that as far as appeals are concerned, whilst since March/April 2015 we have only had appeals on human rights or refugee grounds, once the relevant part of the Bill is in force, human rights appeals will include appeals against refusal of family settlement applications and other immigration applications.

What does this mean for you ?

It means that once the appeals part of the Bill is in force, not only do you not have an in country right of appeal against refusal of the application itself, you will also only have an out of country right of appeal on human rights grounds.

The only exception to this is where a human rights claim has been refused, it has not been certified as ‘clearly unfounded’ there is a real risk of ‘serious irreversible harm’ or other breach of the person is removed before the appeal. The test for ‘serious irreversible harm’ however is a narrow one and examples like parents and children being seperated will not enough to meet the test, unless there are other factors in play.

This means that the need to prepare your application carefully in the first instance becomes absolutely vital, because as the applicant, you will have to leave the UK before you can appeal from abroad. It’s huge, and will have a dramatic effect on many people and their families.

What about the rest of the Immigration Bill 2015 ? In their ‘factsheets’ the Home office say as follows:

Driving licences – The Home Office state ‘ We are going to prevent illegal immigrants from retaining a UK driving license, introduce a new criminal offence of driving whilst illegally present in the UK and introduce new powers to seize the vehicles of illegal immigrants.’

The police and Immigration Officers will have the power to search people and premesis, in order to seize the UK driving licences of illegal migrants. If a police officer stops a motorist for a driving offence, they can check the immigration status of that person. If the person is here illegally, the officer can search for and seize the driving license and arrest them for the driving offence and detain the vehicle.

Enforcement Officer powers – The Immigration Bill will give Immigration Officers powers to seize and pass on evidence where there are reasonable grounds to believe it has been obtained through, or is evidence of, a crime. The Bill also creates new powers to allow Immigration Officers to search for and seize evidnece of illegal working (eg pay slips and time sheets), of illegal renting (tenancy agreements and lettings paperwork).

There are also new powers to allow for search and seizure of nationality documents for detainted migrants and prisoners.

Illegal working – It will be a criminal offence to work illegally, with a fine/custodial sentence. There will be powers to seize wages of illegal working as the proceeds of crime. The power to prosecute employers for ‘knowlingly’ employing illegal workers.

Residential tenancies – The Immigration Act 2014 introduced the ‘right to rent’ scheme, which set out to prohibit illegal migrants from accessing private sector rented housing. Aside from asylum seekers, most people present illegally will be excluded from the market. The pilot scheme was in part of the West Midlands and the scheme was to expand across the UK. Under the scheme, landlords have to conduct document checks. If they don’t they are liable to a penalty of up to £3,000 per illegal migrant tenant.

The Bill will enable landlords to evict illegal migrants more easily, in some cases without a court order.

Banks – Will be required to do regular checks on the immigration status of current account holders. This is already under the Immigration Act 2014. The Bill goes further and includes measures to prevent illegal migrants from operating existing bank accounts, and will be required to report an illegal migrant to the Home Office. They will have to close the account as soon as possible

English speaking in the public sector – All public sector workers in customer facing roles must speak fluent english.


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SRA No. 438620

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