Immigration Bill Aims to Heighten Enforcement, But at What Cost?


On October 13th we're set to see the second reading of the 2015 Immigration Bill in the House of Commons. This Bill hopes to implement sweeping changes in the pursuit of cracking down on immigration and heightening enforcement. It will affect everyone from migrants, asylum seekers, students, landlords and employers.

Immigration Bill Aims to Heighten Enforcement, But at What Cost?

We're briefly looking at some of the key parts of the Immigration Bill and the implications these proposed rules could have.

1. Increasing enforcement over the labour market
The Bill hopes to "crack down on serious exploitation of workers" by making it an offence to work illegally. The government will seize the earnings of workers and will make it easier to prosecute employers who 'turn a blind eye' to employing illegal workers.

A recent article in The Guardian by Caroline Robinson (Aug 2015) expresses concern that these provisions with destroy the "all important trust between labour inspectors and those who are being exploited," making it harder to expose slavery, trafficking and forced labour.

2. Making it harder to live by restricting access to services
The right to rent provisions, which have so far been trialled in the West Midlands, would be made nationwide. These provisions hope to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants who have lost the right to live in the UK, and they may be able to do so without a court order. Landlords will also need to check an individual's status before agreeing to a lease, and will be at risk of civil penalties and up to 5 years in prison if they fail to do this.

These provisions may well raise human rights issues, for example, the children's rights if there are children in the house that have been born in the UK. This increased hostility could see discrimination against prospective tenants, and the Scottish Government is worried that the Bill could see more migrants left homeless or being exploited by rogue landlords.

3. Deport now, appeal later
Another rule proposed is the expansion of the 'deport now, appeal later' approach to appeal rights. Currently, an appeal can be brought in the UK when the Home Office has made a decision which breaches a person’s human rights. The Government proposes to remove any in-country right of appeal for all human rights decisions. There are concerns as to whether the government is genuinely allowing an opportunity to have a case heard, and whether people have genuine access to justice.

Other proposals include:
  • Stopping support for refugees who have had an asylum claim refused.
  • Introduce an 'immigration skills charge' to increase fees paid by employers for employing migrants.
  • Introduce a code of practice setting out minimum English language requirements for public sector workers.

We at Simpson Millar LLP share the concerns that imposing such extensive restrictions may well increase hostility and discrimination, whilst also raising questions over human rights breaches. New aggressive rules and enforcement may leave many migrants fearing speaking up or asking for help over concerns of the repercussions.

Our Immigration Law specialists at Simpson Millar LLP handle a huge range of complex immigration cases and are here to provide advice should you need legal support.

To find out how we could help you please make a no-obligation enquiry or call freephone: 0808 129 3320.

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