Migrants’ Rights Network: Is a new Immigration Bill to be announced in the Queen’s Speech?

by , under Awale Olad

Migrant Tales insight: Events in the United Kingdom resemble a self-fulfilling prophesy for white English and an ever-worsening and ever-hostile place for migrants and visible minorities. The treatment and approach to immigration of Prime Minister David Cameron’s government is shameful. It reveals more cowardice than sound judgement.

The worst matter in the United Kingdom isn’t migration, but parties like the UKIP, Conservatives and Labor that feed the country’s self-fulfilling prophesy. Scapegoating is easier than sound leadership. 

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The ‘hostile’ Immigration Act 2014 was indeed a flagship piece of legislation and we are, it seems, set to see a second tough immigration bill announced in the Queen’s Speech this coming Wednesday.

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The first Immigration Bill, which became an act in May 2014 after a long battle with Conservative Backbenchers who believed it was not tough enough on EU migrants, introduced new measures that reduced the appeal rights for migrants, access to private housing, ability to access driving licenses and bank accounts, and new powers to strip the citizenships of migrants the Home Secretary deems unworthy of British citizenship.

Now, however, rumours are circulating that Iain Duncan Smith, the Work & Pensions Secretary, will team up with Home Secretary Theresa May, to introduce a short new bill that aims to respond to the United Kingdom Independence Party’s (UKIP) recent popularity in the European and Local Elections, where they topped the vote in the UK.

According to the Telegraph, the new measures in the bill will include extending powers on deportation and targeting EU nationals who are not employed, discouraging businesses from solely employing EU migrants, reducing the ability of unemployed EU migrants claiming benefits, and a new ‘wealth test’ that will ban migrants from new poorer EU accession states from entering the UK.

Theresa May is also set to lock horns with David Willetts, the Conservative universities minister, as further measures in the upcoming bill continue to drip out into mainstream media. May wants to stop international students reuniting with foreign spouses/partners in the UK, moreover, the Home Secretary will introduce greater sanctions on universities whose foreign students disappear, and allow for immigration officers to have greater access to universities who they suspect to have bogus students.

The last Immigration Bill was meant to be the most accelerated piece of legislation since the Coalition came to power in 2010. Starting its Commons stage in October 2013, the Bill was meant to receive Royal Assent by the beginning of this year but was slowed down by Nigel Mills’s amendment to stop Bulgarians and Romanians from entering the UK in 2014. The amendment received almost one hundred Tory backbench backers and stalled the legislation’s progress in parliament.

Given the scare UKIP delivered to the mainstream parties at last week’s local elections by campaigning primarily on the impacts of EU migration in the UK, a response from the Conservative Party would seem apposite. However, Paddy Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats and their current election coordinator, has said that the Liberal Democrats will block the bill if it is not to their taste.

This new bill will certainly have EU leaders looking closely at the proposed measures although the government will be at pains to point out that the proposals are consistent with German legislation. The crucial obstacle for May and her colleagues is whether this bill meets the demands of despairing Tory backbenchers who are under threat from a UKIP surge.

Read original story here.

This piece was reprinted by Migrant Tales with permission.

*Awale Olad is the Public & Parliamentary Affairs Officer at MRN, coordinating the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, supporting parliamentarians and policy makers on establishing a cross-party consensus on immigration policy.

 

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