INDUSTRY NEWS MARCH 2016
THE IMMIGRATION BILL 2015-16: POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES
The Immigration Bill 2015-16 will potentially form a keystone element of the UK’s response to one of the greatest challenges facing Europe in recent years. Not only will the Bill inform how immigration is controlled in the future, but also how the state treats those who are already resident in the country.
Summary of the Bill
Although the Bill aims to add to and alter the law in a variety of ways, there are two provisions in particular which will have a dramatic impact on the illegal immigrant population (which numbers somewhere around half a million.) Firstly, there is the creation of the offence of ‘illegal working’ under Part 1, Section 2 of the Bill. This would alter the Immigration Act 1971 to make it an offence to work within the UK without leave to enter or remain within the UK, punishable by up to a year imprisonment in England and Wales (6 months in Scotland or Northern Ireland.) In addition to this, the new law would also provide the courts with the ability to confiscate the assets of those convicted under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Secondly, Sections 12 and 13 of the Bill increase the measures which can be taken against a landlord (or equivalent) leasing a property to those reasonably believed to be committing immigration offences. The Bill also augments the ability of landlords to evict those committing such offences.
The Bill comes in the wake of the Immigration Act 2014, which itself reduces the ability of illegal immigrants to access rented housing, driving licenses and bank accounts.