The Immigration Bill has received Royal Assent, introducing a series of reforms to further crack down on illegal migration. It will ensure that the immigration system supports the best interests of the UK and those who play by the rules.
The Immigration Act 2016 will further strengthen the immigration system and make it harder than ever for people who have no right to be in the UK to live here.
The new measures will crack down on the exploitation of low-skilled workers by making it an offence to employ illegal migrants, ensure that only people living lawfully in the UK can have access to services such as UK bank accounts and rental accommodation and increase powers to make it easier to remove people who have no right to be in the UK.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said:
The message is clear – if you are here illegally, you shouldn’t be entitled to receive the everyday benefits and services available to hard-working UK families and people who have come to this country legitimately to contribute.
Whether it is working, renting a flat, having a bank account or driving a car, the new immigration act will help us to take tougher action than ever before on those who flout the law.
It will deter illegal migrants from trying to reach the UK by preventing them from accessing benefits or services in this country and make it easier for us to remove those with no right to be here.
At the same time, it will help us tackle the exploitation of low-skilled workers, create a fairer and more humane detention system and offer the vulnerable sanctuary.
The 2016 act includes a range of new powers to:
- tackle illegal employment, including a new offence of illegal working
- require landlords to carry out checks on whether prospective adult tenants have a valid immigration status
- immigration enforcement officers will have new powers to search individuals and properties and seize identity documents if they suspect someone to be here illegally
- electronically tag foreign national offenders on immigration bail
- restrict the support we give to people whose claims for asylum have been rejected to those who are destitute and face a genuine obstacle to leaving the UK
- resettle unaccompanied children impacted by the ongoing migration crisis
- ensure all public employees in customer-facing roles speak good English
- impose a new skills levy on businesses bringing migrant labour into the country so we can reduce our reliance on imported labour, and boost the skills of young people in the UK
The government has also committed to place new limitations on the detention of pregnant women and will introduce regular bail hearings to ensure those entering detention stay there for the shortest period possible.