New Tough 2013 Immigration Bill Introduced by Home Office – repost

Today we received confirmation from the Home Office that the Secretary of State proposes the introduction of a new immigration Bill into Parliament which will further erode the rights of applicants and immigrants. The new Bill arrives on the day that a recent YouGov survey reports that the public do not actually want tougher immigration rules introduced. People in the UK simply want the Rules that we already have enforced properly! The new YouGov poll found that 60% of people were not convinced that immigration rules are being applied properly and consider this to be a more important factor than bringing in new Rules.

 

A summary of the proposed bill is set out in the email we received, a copy of which is produced below:

Dear SolicitorsFirm.com
Today the Home Office published a Bill that will continue our reforms to the immigration system.  The Immigration Bill may contain measures that are of interest to you, and so I wanted to take this opportunity to make sure that you were aware of it and set out what it is trying to achieve.  Whether you are interested in all or just some elements of the Bill, I urge you to read the factsheets that cover the detail, and other important information online atwww.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office/series/immigration-bill.
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.The Bill will:

  • cut the number of decisions that can be appealed from 17 to four – preserving appeals for those asserting fundamental rights;
  • extend the number of non-suspensive appeals. Where there is no risk of serious irreversible harm, we should deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeal later;
  • ensure the courts have regard to Parliament’s view of what the public interest requires when considering Article 8 of the European Convention on  Human Rights in immigration cases;
  • restrict the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail if they have previously been refused it.
  • require private landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants, to prevent those with no right to live in the UK from accessing private rented housing;
  • make it easier for the Home Office to recover unpaid civil penalties;
  • introduce a new requirement for temporary migrants for example overseas students, who have only a time-limited immigration status to make a contribution to the National Health Service;
  • require banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening bank accounts;
  • introduce new powers to check driving licence applicants’ immigration status before issuing a licence and revoking licences where immigrants are found to have overstayed in the UK;
  • clamp down on people who try to gain an immigration advantage by entering into a sham marriage or civil partnership

In recent months we have consulted the public on migrants’ access to health care, private rented housing and illegal working. The comments have been important when considering our policy proposals for the Bill.  Our responses will be published on the Bill’s web pages.
As the Bill progresses through Parliament, we will continue to reform the immigration system – establishing excellent customer service for our visa system and ensuring that we are attracting the best and brightest to the UK, securing the border and enforcing the immigration rules when they are broken.

We will also ensure we work with those affected by the proposals in the Bill during the passage of legislation and beyond.

Mark Harper MP

10 October 2013 Immigration Bill Factsheet

10 October 2013 European Convention on Human Rights Memorandum on proposed new immigration Bill

10 October 2013 Delegated Powers Memorandum on proposed new immigration Bill

As the Bill starts to make it’s way through Parliament the Parliamentary Committee today (18.10.2013) crticises the Government’s immigration policy of ‘hostility’ towards migrants:

UK Government presents new ‘hostile’ Immigration Bill as Parliamentary Committee Criticises Asylum System

 

UK Government presents new ‘hostile’ Immigration Bill as Parliamentary Committee criticises asylum system

UK Government’s new ‘hostile’ Immigration Bill presented as Parliamentary Committee publishes critical report on the UK asylum system

The new Immigration Bill, designed to create a ‘hostile environment for illegal migrants’, as described by the Home Secretary, will require private landlords and banks to carry out checks on immigration status and gives more search and data recording powers to police and immigration officers. The Bill also dictates that UK courts, when considering deportation appeals, must accord ‘little weight’ to the appellant’s family life established while their status was ‘precarious’ or unlawful. Perhaps most controversially, the Bill will institute a policy of ‘deport first, appeal later’ for claims certified as ‘clearly unfounded’ or, in the case of ‘foreign criminals’, for appellants who would not face ‘a real risk of serious irreversible harm’ if required to appeal after deportation.

The British Refugee Council, Member of ECRE, finds that the Bill disregards the vulnerability of many irregular migrants in the UK, stating that ‘refugees and asylum seekers came to the UK escaping persecution. It is our responsibility to offer protection and a place of safety, not to discriminate and to marginalise them further’.

The day after the Coalition Government proposed the new Immigration Bill to Parliament, the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) of the House of Commons published a report describing the UK asylum system as ‘under strain’ and ‘overburdened’. The report criticises the ‘wholly unacceptable’ number of applicants still waiting for an initial decision after six months, which rose by 63% in 2012. The quality of decision making is also a concern, according to the worrying statistic that 30% of appeals against initial decisions were allowed in 2012. In what appears to be connected problems, the report condemns sub-standard housing provision and a lack of transparency and monitoring of private housing providers who receive public funding. The Committee criticises gaps in the provision of support both for persons whose asylum claims have not been successful who cannot be returned and for those granted protection who have not yet gained access to domestic benefits.

The report highlights that the process for lesbian and gay applicants, many of whom are fleeing persecution, is said to rely too heavily on anecdotal evidence and ‘proving that they are gay’. This had led to claimants handing over photographic and video evidence of ‘highly personal sexual activity’ to caseworkers.

The British Refugee Council has stated that ‘the damning findings of the HASC report reflect our long-held, grave concerns about the asylum system in the UK, illustrating a dysfunctional system characterised by poor quality decision making and routine insensitivity. The Government now needs to demonstrate the political will and leadership to use this roadmap for change as the basis for achieving an asylum system that is fair, efficient and commands public confidence.’

For further information:

New Tough 2013 Immigration Bill Introduced by Home Office

Today we received confirmation from the Home Office that the Secretary of State proposes the introduction of a new immigration Bill into Parliament which will further erode the rights of applicants and immigrants. The new Bill arrives on the day that a recent YouGov survey reports that the public do not actually want tougher immigration rules introduced. People in the UK simply want the Rules that we already have enforced properly! The new YouGov poll found that 60% of people were not convinced that immigration rules are being applied properly and consider this to be a more important factor than bringing in new Rules.

 

A summary of the proposed bill is set out in the email we received, a copy of which is produced below:

Dear SolicitorsFirm.com
Today the Home Office published a Bill that will continue our reforms to the immigration system.  The Immigration Bill may contain measures that are of interest to you, and so I wanted to take this opportunity to make sure that you were aware of it and set out what it is trying to achieve.  Whether you are interested in all or just some elements of the Bill, I urge you to read the factsheets that cover the detail, and other important information online atwww.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office/series/immigration-bill.
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.The Bill will:

  • cut the number of decisions that can be appealed from 17 to four – preserving appeals for those asserting fundamental rights;
  • extend the number of non-suspensive appeals. Where there is no risk of serious irreversible harm, we should deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeal later;
  • ensure the courts have regard to Parliament’s view of what the public interest requires when considering Article 8 of the European Convention on  Human Rights in immigration cases;
  • restrict the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail if they have previously been refused it.
  • require private landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants, to prevent those with no right to live in the UK from accessing private rented housing;
  • make it easier for the Home Office to recover unpaid civil penalties;
  • introduce a new requirement for temporary migrants for example overseas students, who have only a time-limited immigration status to make a contribution to the National Health Service;
  • require banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening bank accounts;
  • introduce new powers to check driving licence applicants’ immigration status before issuing a licence and revoking licences where immigrants are found to have overstayed in the UK;
  • clamp down on people who try to gain an immigration advantage by entering into a sham marriage or civil partnership

In recent months we have consulted the public on migrants’ access to health care, private rented housing and illegal working. The comments have been important when considering our policy proposals for the Bill.  Our responses will be published on the Bill’s web pages.
As the Bill progresses through Parliament, we will continue to reform the immigration system – establishing excellent customer service for our visa system and ensuring that we are attracting the best and brightest to the UK, securing the border and enforcing the immigration rules when they are broken.

We will also ensure we work with those affected by the proposals in the Bill during the passage of legislation and beyond.

Mark Harper MP

10 October 2013 Immigration Bill Factsheet

10 October 2013 European Convention on Human Rights Memorandum on proposed new immigration Bill

10 October 2013 Delegated Powers Memorandum on proposed new immigration Bill

As the Bill starts to make it’s way through Parliament the Parliamentary Committee today (18.10.2013) crticises the Government’s immigration policy of ‘hostility’ towards migrants:

UK Government presents new ‘hostile’ Immigration Bill as Parliamentary Committee Criticises Asylum System

 

Home Office ‘Go Home’ Advertisements Banned for being misleading

Home Office ‘Go Home’ Advertisements Banned for being misleading

 

A recent Home Office (former UK Border Agency) campaign telling illegal immigrants to “Go Home” has been banned for using misleading arrest statistics.

The campaign, which involved vans displaying a huge poster on each side saying ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ were driven through six London boroughs between July 22 and July 28 2013. They attracted 224 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), including some from groups representing migrants in the UK, legal academics and the Labour peer Lord Lipsey.

The poster was designed to scare and featured an image of someone holding a pair of handcuffs and wearing a uniform with a “Home Office” badge and provided a telephone number for migrants to call to facilitate their own removal from the UK.

However below these large lettered words was green text in the style of an official stamp claiming that there had been “106 arrests last week in your area”. Small print hidden at the bottom of the poster corrected the claim and stated that the arrest figures were from the period June 30 to July 6 and covered Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Hounslow.

Most of the complainants said the poster, and in particular the phrase “go home”, was offensive and distressing and reminiscent of slogans used by racist groups. The complainants stated that the advertising campaign was irresponsible and harmful because it could incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions. It was also stated that the small print was not legible on the moving vehicle and therefore the advertisement was misleading. For this reason it has now been banned.

 

For an excellent repertoire of the failed and misleading advertising campaign we highly recommend the The Pukka Punjabi article of 28 July in the Guardian – anyone requiring a lift home is advised to Text ‘HOME’ to 78070 !

 

National Crime Agency NCA replaces Serious Organised Crime Agency SOCA

The National Crime Agency (NCA) replaced the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) yesterday as the home secretary published the government’s strategy to ‘relentlessly pursue’ organised and serious crime. The agency will have significantly less funding than it’s predecessor.

Labour chairman of the Home Affairs select committee Keith Vaz raised questions as to whether the budget will be sufficient, as the organisations forming the agency have a combined budget of £812m, but the agency will have only £473.9m next year. This marks the third occasion since 1998 that the crime agency has been rebranded by the Government and the question does need to be asked, apart from a new name and shiny new logo, what else has really changed? The Home Office claims that the new National Crime Agency will provide a ‘national lead’ against organised crime. But let us not lose sight of the fact that the Home Office itself undergoes regular rebranding is a shining example of how rebranding does nothing to improve a problematic agency.

It is difficult not to compare the latest NCA rebranding with the regular rebrands attributed to the Immigration Department of the Home Office. What used to be known as the Home Office was rebranded into Immigration & Nationality Department, only to be replaced by the UK Border Agency which has now, in a spectacular U-turn, been returned to being called to the Home Office. The initial difficulty was delay in processing applications, general confusion and employee dissatisfaction with their work practices. 20 years of rebranding and we ask, has anything changed in the Immigration Department? Is delay under control, has confusion been replaced with control, is there employee satisfaction? We think not!

The new NCA plans to tackle crime under four commands – organised crime, economic crime, border and policing and child exploitation and protection, alongside a National Cyber Crime Unit. According to Home Office estimates more than 5,500 organised crime groups operate in the UK involving around 37,000 individuals and costing more than £24bn each year. (Not sure how they calculate all that, but that is the claim).
It is suggested that the National Crime Agency strategy, announced yesterday, will use the counter-terrorism framework to set out action that will be taken ‘at every opportunity’ to ‘relentlessly disrupt’ serious and organised criminals. Does that mean that they will be using the same systems currently in use by counter terrorism forces? Perhaps so! What are those systems? We don’t know! But it certainly sounds impressive.
It is claimed that the NCA strategy will include strengthened powers to attack and seize criminal assets; a crackdown on foreign organised criminals operating in the United Kingdom; more aggressive use of serious crime prevention orders and travel restriction orders; and a cyber emergency response team to deal with the most serious cyber attacks, including cyber crime.

We wish the NCA the very best of success in their operations and all look forward to living in a safer and better environment. However; we are nevertheless left wondering whether there is substance to this change beyond the rebranding and name change.