Prime Minister David Cameron today announcedhttps://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-on-immigration details of a new Immigration Bill to be included in the Queen's Speech on 27 May. This will contain a series of measures intended to control immigration and target illegal migration.
According to the Prime Minister's Office's press release https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-pledges-to-control-and..., the new Immigration Bill will include the following measures:
- New powers for councils to crackdown on unscrupulous landlords and evict illegal workers/migrants more quickly.
- Banks will be required to check all bank accounts against databases of people here illegally.
- The "deport first, appeal later" regime will be extended to all immigration appeals and judicial reviews.
- Satellite tracking tags for foreign criminals awaiting deportation so the Home Office is able to locate them.
- Creating a new offence of illegal working, which will enable police to seize illegal migrants' wages as the proceeds of crime. This will apply both to migrants who have either entered the country illegally and to those who entered legally but are in breach of their conditions of stay or have overstayed.
- Making it an offence for business and recruitment agencies to recruit abroad without advertising in the UK.
- Creating a new labour market enforcement agency to crack down on the worst cases of labour market exploitation.
Thus, there is to be yet another major immigration statute only a year since the last one (some of which has only just entered into force). Practitioners and applicants are only just getting to grips with the latest changes introduced by the Immigration Act 2014. It is surely no coincidence that the latest Bill has been announced on the same day that annual net immigration reached 318,000, the highest number since 2005, indicating that previous policies are simply failing to reduce the numbers.
There is real concern over some of these measures, not least the "deport first, appeal later" proposals, which is to apply to all except asylum appeals. It therefore appears that the Government intends to make people pursue their human rights appeals from abroad. This gives rise to the possibility of appellants suffering irreparable harm through removal before a court has determined whether there is a real risk of such harm.
The Prime Minister indicated that the Government intends to roll out the measures contained in the Immigration Act 2014 requiring landlords to check whether their tenants are here legally, which he claimed was blocked by the Liberal Democrats in the previous Government. He also said that the Government will introduce a new mandatory licensing regime for landlords.
Mr Cameron also said that the Bill will require banks to take action against existing accounts held by illegal immigrants.
It is also unclear whether the new offence of recruiting abroad without advertising in the UK will apply to recruiting in EU Member States.
The full content of the Bill will not be known until it is published. However, the fact that the Bill is to be included in the new Government's first wave of legislation sends a message that there is unlikely to be any respite from the seemingly never-ending (and increasingly complex) production of immigration legislation by Parliament for the foreseeable future.