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10.10.13

Immigration Bill to reduce ‘pull factors’ of UK

Immigrants will be subject to a series of checks when applying for housing, healthcare and banking under the new Immigration Bill. 

At the recent Conservative Party Conference, home secretary Theresa May announced that the Bill will make it tougher for illegal immigrants to live in the UK. 

Banks and private landlords will be required to check the immigration status of applicants, and councils will face fines for allocating social housing to people from outside their areas. Driving licence applicants will also be checked. 

Appeals by foreign criminals will now be heard from abroad under a ‘deport first, appeal later’ policy, when there is “no risk of serious irreversible harm”. 

Students from outside Europe will have to pay £200 before they can use NHS services and immigrants must produce their visa before they are issued with a temporary NHS number, in a bid to stop so-called ‘health tourism’. 

The Bill will also streamline the appeals process in immigration cases. 

Immigration minister Mark Harper said: “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.” 

But Labour's shadow immigration minister David Hanson said: “The Tories are still failing on immigration and this Bill won't address some of the biggest problems.” 

Barbara Roche, the chairwoman of Migration Matters, said: “Legal migrants make a massive contribution to the economy and are essential to Britain’s recovery. 

“If the public have confidence in the enforcement of the rules, then some of the toxicity of today’s debate on immigration can be addressed, allowing a more reasoned, evidence-based discussion on the right level of legal immigration for Britain.” 

And the Institute for Public Policy Research’s associate director Tim Finch said: “There is very little evidence of so-called health tourism to Britain and students who are generally young and fit are not putting a strain on the NHS.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com 

Image c. Danny Howard

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