Parliament publishes the Immigration Bill, Home Office publishes 17-page statement of changes to the Immigration Rules (HC437)
Immigration Bill 2015-2016 published; New Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules
17 September 2015
The Immigration Bill 2015-16 has today been published on the Parliament website.
The summary says: "A Bill To make provision about the law on immigration and asylum; to make provision about access to services, facilities, licences and work by reference to immigration status; to make provision about the Director of Labour Market Enforcement; to make provision about language requirements for public sector workers; to make provision about fees for passports and civil registration; and for connected purposes."
The Government says the Bill "will make it tougher than ever before to live illegally in the UK".
Notably, the Bill introduces a criminal offence for the controversial 'Right to Rent' scheme, meaning that landlords who repeatedly rent their properties to immigrants not legally entitled to be in the country could face up to five years in prison. The Bill will also enable landlords to evict tenants without the required immigration status more easily.
The Government lists the three main themes of the BIll as:
new measures cracking down on the exploitation of low-skilled workers, increasing the punishments for employing illegal migrants, and strengthening sanctions for working illegally
building on the Immigration Act 2014 to ensure that only people living lawfully in the UK can have access to UK bank accounts, driving licences and rental accommodation
increasing powers to make it easier to remove people who have no right to be in the UK
Part 4 of the Bill concerns changes to appeal rights (see here).
New Statment of Changes in Immigration Rules
Also today, the Home Office published a new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, the fourth of the year.
You can read the short 17-page Statement of Changes (HC 437) here.
The purpose of the changes is to:
• implement section 53(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 ("the 2015 Act") which provides that the Immigration Rules must make provision for leave to remain in the United Kingdom to be granted to an overseas domestic worker who has been determined to be a victim of slavery or human trafficking. The changes also make a number of minor changes to the existing Immigration Rules applied to overseas domestic workers;
• make a minor change to the rules for visitors;
• make minor changes to improve the operation of the Tier 2 (General) limit; and
• enable Vietnamese diplomatic passport holders to travel visa free to the UK as a visitor for official purposes, for tourism or for the purpose of "visit in transit".
Colin Yeo notes on Free Movement that the changes to the Tier 2 skilled worker rules are designed to leave the limit of 20,700 places per year in place but make maximum use of it. The changes introduce smaller salary bands in order to maximise the monthly allocation of places and also allow the Secretary of State to reclaim Certificates of Sponsorship which are unused and return those unused places to the limit.