The Queen's Speech on 8 May set out the government's legislative programme for the next year. One of the keynotes was the announcement of the forthcoming immigration bill. The bill is primarily aimed at curbing illegal immigration, strengthening the law on deportation and preventing immigrants accessing services to which they are not entitled. The Prime Minister has described the immigration measures as the "centre piece" of the forthcoming legislative year.
If passed, the bill will aim to make it easier to deport those without the right to stay in the UK, particularly foreign criminals. It will also impose a duty on landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants and increase the fines on businesses that use illegal labour. Illegal immigrants will be prevented from obtaining driving licences. Access to the National Health Service will be curbed and temporary visitors will have to contribute to the cost of their care. Rights of appeal against immigration decisions will be further restricted and immigration officers given more power.
As ever, the devil will be in the detail, which has yet to emerge. Measures concerning landlords and access to the NHS will follow a consultation period.