UK to publish new immigration bill

The UK Government is set to unveil a new immigration bill which will aim to make it harder for illegal immigrants to settle in the country as well as make it easier to deport foreign criminals.

UK Border AgencyThe immigration bill, which is the centrepiece of the coalition’s legislative programme this year, will make it a requirement for banks to check the immigration status of all people applying to open accounts, while private landlords will also have to make similar checks on their tenants.

“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,” explained the UK Immigration Minister, Mark Harper.

However, the Minister has denied that in seeking to take a tougher stance on immigration the government is closing the door to immigrants. “We will continue to welcome the brightest and best migrants who want to contribute to our economy and society and play by the rules,” he said. “But the law must be on the side of people who respect it, not those who break it.”

Another new requirement will be that all temporary migrants, including overseas students, will have to make a contribution to the National Health Service in order to gain access to treatments – except for in emergency situations.

However, some GPs are not too enamoured by this new rule. David Lloyd, a GP in the London borough of Harrow, told Sky News that the new requirement would mean health professionals would 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.

In a separate interview, also with Sky News, the National Landlords Association chief executive Richard Lambert issued similar sentiments to Doctor Lloyd. “Obviously landlords cannot replace the Border Agency and they shouldn’t be asked to do their job,” he said. “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.”

The new bill is set to be published later today.