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Tough New Curbs on Immigration

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Tough New Curbs on Immigration

Post  Panda on Thu 10 Oct - 7:33

Video: The bill is the centrepiece of the coalition's legislative programme
Enlarge Two views on immigration from members of the public in Bristol.
Video: 'It's A Good Thing For UK Culture'
Enlarge EmailBy Mark White, Home Affairs Correspondent

Tough new curbs on the appeal rights of illegal immigrants and foreign prisoners facing deportation are being introduced as part of an overhaul of the UK's immigration laws.

The Immigration Bill will see the grounds on which foreign nationals can lodge an appeal against deportation slashed from the current 17 to just four.

It is in part a response to the frustration successive home secretaries faced in their repeated attempts to deport the radical cleric Abu Qatada.

He managed to use human rights legislation to outwit government lawyers over 12 years, before Home Secretary Theresa May finally managed to secure his deportation to Jordan last July.

Richard, 22, fought and won his battle to stay in the UK, using Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights - the right to a private or family life - to convince judges to overturn his deportation order.

The Zimbabwean national has lived in Clapham, south London, since he was 10 years old.

He was sentenced to two years in prison for burglary and issued with a deportation order.

"All my friends and my extended family were in the United Kingdom so me going back to Zimbabwe would have impacted on me," he said.

He has now been granted interim leave to remain in the UK until 2016, when his case will be reviewed again.

He said: "In detention centres I saw the reaction of people given automatic deportations.

"They don't know what to do and a lot of them have tried to end their own lives.

"It impacts on their mental health. It just breaks up families and it's just not right at all."

The Immigration Bill, the centrepiece of the coalition's legislative programme this year, will also see moves to block illegal immigrants from opening bank accounts in the UK.

Banks will have to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening accounts.

Illegal immigrants will be blocked from opening bank accounts in Britain

And, as previously disclosed, a new requirement will be introduced for temporary migrants, such as overseas students, to make a contribution to the National Health Service.

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."

David Lloyd, a GP in the London borough of Harrow, said he was opposed to the Government's proposals to charge short-stay immigrants for using health services.

Dr Lloyd said it would mean health professionals having to act like Border Agency staff, checking a patient's immigration status.

"Although we can see them as an emergency under the new proposals, it does mean that there is an awful lot more paperwork involved so we have got to spend an awful lot more time checking on people at a time when they are at their most vulnerable," he said.

Temporary migrants will have to make a contribution to the NHS

Private landlords will be required to check the immigration status of their tenants to prevent those with no right to live in the UK from accessing private rented housing, while new powers to check driving licence applicants' immigration status will be introduced.

The National Landlords Association chief executive Richard Lambert told Sky News: "Obviously landlords cannot replace the Border Agency and they shouldn't be asked to do their job.

"Existing referencing will pick up immigration issues anyway but if the Government wants to put something in place beyond that, the important thing is that it is simple and straight forward to use."

Mrs May and Prime Minister David Cameron want to reduce net migration - the difference between those arriving and those leaving - from non-EU countries to less than 100,000 before the next election in 2015.

Most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a net flow of 176,000 migrants came to the UK in the year to December 2012, up from 153,000 in the year to September 2012, ending five consecutive quarters of decline.

Shadow immigration minister David Hanson said the legislation shows the Tories are "still failing on immigration".

"This bill won't address some of the biggest problems," he said.

"The number of foreign criminals deported has dropped by over 13% since the election, border checks have been cut with only half as many people stopped and illegal immigration has got worse.

"Yet there seems to be nothing in the promised bill to tackle problems at border control, which is getting increasingly shambolic, nor deal with long delays in getting electronic checks in place, or the UKBA bureaucratic failings that have prevented foreign criminals being deported.

"Nor are they tackling exploitation in the labour market which raises greatest public concern.

"For example the Bill is an opportunity to tackle problems such as enforcement of the minimum wage which would respond to concerns about the impact of EU migration."
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