Home Office sets out new rules for migrants

home office, migrants, mac 12 November 2009

Every migrant who enters the United Kingdom will require 'permission' to stay under new draft proposals published in Parliament today.

Under measures in the draft Immigration Bill, the five current application categories available to migrants will be replaced by one clear concept - 'permission' to be in the United Kingdom. With this new approach, migrants will either be granted permission or refused, making the rules easier for applicants and staff. Those in the United Kingdom must gain permission or face removal for breaking the law.

These proposals are the next step in building on the rapid progress the Government has made in tightening up Britain's border controls.

Over the past three years the United Kingdom has seen the introduction of e-Borders to check individuals in and out of the country and the implementation of the points-based system which ensures that only those who benefit the economy can come here to work.

In order to bring together the essential changes that have already taken place, the government is proposing a new bill to bring forward a new legal framework to simplify and consolidate 40 years of immigration laws. This will make the system more transparent than ever before.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:

'This government has implemented the biggest overhaul of the immigration system for a generation, and it is important that UK laws reflect these changes.

'I believe that Parliament should be in primary control of immigration - this bill will ensure that Parliament and not case law determines policy.

'The draft Immigration Bill we have published today will enable us to work more efficiently and is the next step in bringing together the strong measures we have put in place to control our borders and making them simpler to use and enforce.'

The new, temporary, time-limited, permission will be given for a particular purpose to visit, work or study and is subject to conditions such as access to work or public funds. Permanent residents will be given permission without any time limit or conditions attached.

The draft bill also proposes a new streamlined power of expulsion replacing the current powers of deportation and removal. Individuals who are issued with an expulsion order will be required to leave the United Kingdom and will not be able to re-enter while the order is in force.

A tough new menu of conditions is proposed for those on immigration bail, including restrictions on residence, work or study; access to public funds; and reporting and electronic monitoring.

Also today, the government published proposals for a new streamlined asylum support system. The suggested shake-up includes proposals to:

make the principles of the asylum system clear to all who apply, rewarding those who play by the rules and getting tough with those who do not;

streamline the current complex system of support to make it easier to understand and easier to operate; and

do more to ensure the system works towards the return of those who have been found to have no protection needs and who have no right to be in the United Kingdom.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:

'I believe our proposals strike a fair balance between supporting asylum seekers while their claim is being determined and encouraging the return of those who have no protection needs and who have no right to be in the UK.

'We expect those who apply for asylum to abide by the rules. If their claim has been refused, we expect them to leave the country. If they do not, we will enforce their return.'

Additionally, the government published today the responses to its consultation into the oversight of the immigration advice sector. The consultation was launched in May and aimed to improve the way the sector is regulated.

To ensure that advice given to individuals seeking to remain in the United Kingdom is of a high standard, the government will retain the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) and will consider a range of measures to allow for greater levels of intervention such as the power to deregister businesses, the power of inspection and the ability to serve improvement and probation notices.

Finally, following the publication of the Migration Advisory Committee's (MAC) shortage occupation list on 21 October, the government today announced that it is accepting the recommended list in full.

Fewer than 500,000 people (less than two per cent of employees) work in occupations and jobs on the recommended shortage list. This has been reduced from a corresponding figure of 700,000 a year ago.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:

'The Migration Advisory Committee's shortage occupation list is a powerful tool in making the points based system work for Britain's economic benefit.

'The MAC can respond quickly to changing economic needs, making sure we only get the foreign workers we need.'

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