Reviewing the controversial Immigration Bill

THE IMMIGRATION Bill in its current form has three major aims. Firstly: To make provision about Immigration Law. Secondly: To limit access to services for immigrants. And finally: To make provision about employment by reference to immigration status.

Currently awaiting its Report Stage in the House of Commons, this Government backed piece of legislation has been at the forefront of major criticism from across the political spectrum. The Bill compels landlords to check whether tenants are in the UK illegally, with those failing to do so facing large fines. Banks will have to check immigrants’ legal status before offering accounts and some temporary migrants – such as students – will pay a £200-a-year levy towards the cost of NHS services.

In addition, registrars will have to inform the Home Office of planned weddings between UK citizens and those from outside Europe, to cut down on “sham” marriages. Finally, foreign criminals can be deported even before the outcome of their appeal is known, as long as they do not face “serious irreversible harm” at home.

Tensions have arisen since the introduction of the bill and they have come from every institutional level. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has criticised the legislation saying it opens the floodgates for a culture of ‘Ethnic Profiling’ to develop. This is already an issue the government, and even more so, the tabloid press have been accused of since the debate over EU Freedom of Movement started since the last European Council Summit.

Analysts suggest this Bill is nothing more than an attempt to salvage the decline of the Conservative party share of the vote. This has become a dominant concern for David Cameron as UKIP is on the rise nationwide with record gains expected for them in the European Parliamentary Elections later this year.

This issue has sparked controversy in our own University with calls from many International students to ban the Daily Express for its xenophobic stance towards migrants targeted by this legislation.