Nine reasons why Labour should oppose the new Immigration Bill


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3:58 pm - October 21st 2013

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by Anita Hurrell

The government’s new Immigration Bill is about two things: making it easier for the Home Office to forcibly remove and deport people, and creating a ‘really hostile environment’ in the belief that people will leave the UK if their existence here is made impossible.

If the Bill goes through, legal rights to appeal wrong decisions for all migrants, including the sought-after Brightest and Best, will be severely restricted. This is happening at the same time as the government is cutting off access to the courts through changes to legal aid and judicial review.

Will there be any opposition? The Lib Dems broadly support the Bill, claiming ‘the worst of the Tory excesses have been stripped out’.

And what about Labour? There are some predictable lines: the Tories are still failing on immigration; government is missing its own target; the Bill won’t tackle biggest problems; ‘illegal immigration’ is up and deportation numbers down; The Bill does nothing about exploitation in the labour market. And Yvette Cooper said ‘checks on driving licences and bank accounts sound sensible and build on changes Labour made before the election’ and ‘landlord checks are sensible in principle’.

But this Bill shouldn’t be allowed to pass unopposed for many reasons – here are a few.

1. Stripping people of appeal rights will lead to more bureaucratic chaos
People will no longer be able to appeal on the basis that the Home Office got its decision wrong. Independent scrutiny of many of the decisions that determine people’s lives will go. A person will only have an internal administrative review, which will be ineffective and is a recipe for even more backlogs and delays.

2. Cutting appeal rights will shift costs
Cutting down the decisions which give rise to a right of appeal will lead to more judicial reviews, displacing what were simple fact-finding hearings in the First-Tier Tribunal to the more expensive and time-consuming JR jurisdiction of the Upper Tribunal.

3. The Bill will hit highly skilled migrants
A Tier 1 entrepreneur wrongly denied an extension of her/his visa won’t get the chance to have the decision examined by the independent Tribunal. Yet there is no evidence that appeals are currently meritless: in 2012/13 49% of Managed Migration appeals were allowed.

4. The government’s approach to Article 8 and children’s rights is wrong
The government had a go in the Immigration Rules at dictating to the courts how to interpret Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the qualified right to respect for private and family life. It is now trying to do it in statute. But its approach does not reflect the law on Article 8 or on children’s best interests, and its attempt should concern those who want to defend the Human Rights Act and the UK’s membership of the European Convention on Human Rights.

5. Immigration enforcement must not come at the expense of children’s welfare
Labour should be proud of lifting the reservation on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that said foreign children didn’t count. The proposals in the Bill totally undermine that progress and fly in the face of case law on children’s best interests.

6. Casual with civil liberties.
Can anyone who wants to be able to talk about civil liberties really allow further restrictions on bail applications in a country where the government can detain people indefinitely with no automatic judicial oversight? HM Inspectorate of Prisons last year found someone in who had been in immigration detention for nine years.

7. Landlord checks cannot work.
Landlord checks are illiberal, authoritarian and likely to lead to discrimination for anyone whom a letting agent thinks looks a bit foreign. They will place a massive regulatory burden on individual landlords (most of whom only let one property), push vulnerable people further underground and manufacture homelessness, which will increase costs on local government due to statutory homelessness and community care duties.

8. Neither will cutting off access to healthcare
The evidence of health tourism isn’t there. The British Medical Association said: ‘The reality is people don’t come to the UK to use the NHS, they’re more likely to come to work in the NHS.’ And there are public health risks: the proposals are ‘as disastrous for community health as they are financially moronic’.

9. Identity checks for all.
The system being proposed is one of identity checks for all. We will all have to prove our status to access services, and for some this will be easier than others.
This Bill is the nastiest piece of legislation in a long time, even compared to the depths to which New Labour sank in the early-2000s anti-asylum hysteria. It’s Lynton Crosby politics. What have we come to if this kind of legislation passes unopposed?

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Reader comments


Enough of the list based articles, ffs. Seriously lazy journalism

You’re not bloody buzzfeed

“The government’s new Immigration Bill is about two things: making it easier for the Home Office to forcibly remove and deport people, and creating a ‘really hostile environment’ in the belief that people will leave the UK if their existence here is made impossible.”

1. This implies that one of the two main STATED purposes of the Bill is to create ‘a really hostile environment’ (presumably for all immigrants, or perhaps – who knows? – or everyone in the country; you don’t elucidate). Can you show us where the Bill says this? If the pharase dos appear it would be well to know what it specifically refers to; if it does not appear, then you have some explaining to do as to what it’s doing in quote marks here.

OP:

“A person will only have an internal administrative review, which will be ineffective and is a recipe for even more backlogs and delays.”

Why? The reviews could and should be swift.

“Cutting down the decisions which give rise to a right of appeal will lead to more judicial reviews…”

Really? When you also say: “the government is cutting off access to the courts through changes to legal aid and judicial review”?

“…there is no evidence that appeals are currently meritless: in 2012/13 49% of Managed Migration appeals were allowed.”

No evidence? When 51% of appeals were not allowed?

“Immigration enforcement must not come at the expense of children’s welfare”

Why? Parents of illegal immigrants should consider their children’s welfare before trying to enter the UK, not use it as a lever afterwards.

“Landlord checks are…likely to lead to discrimination for anyone whom a letting agent thinks looks a bit foreign.”

Nonsense. If they have the right documentation, no problem.

“They will place a massive regulatory burden on individual landlords…”

Hardly, just one more small check before letting.

” The system being proposed is one of identity checks for all.”

Not really…

“We will all have to prove our status to access services, and for some this will be easier than others.”

If you’ve got an NI number, no problem. If you are a freeloading illegal immigrant, go elsewhere.

4. Lord Mandelbum of Fondelbuoy

Ludicrous leftist bilge!!

5. Churm Rincewind

The question is misplaced. The problems which exercise public opinion are not (in my view) about levels of immigration but are rather about social cohesion and the extent to which immigrants should be required to observe the current norms of British society.

These are delicate matters – if Sikhs, for example, should be exempted from British laws on motorcycle safety requirements (which they are on the grounds of religious observance), should Somalis be exempted from British laws on female circumcision on a similar basis? And if not, why not?

It’s only because no-one wants to engage with such questions that politicians go for the easy answer of trying to preclude the problem in the first place.

@ TONE 3

You surpass yourself here. When it comes to housing matters you are a total knobhead. I’m sure your mother is proud of your prattle yet again. Wish her well on my behalf.

Meanwhile, read the following if it is not too much for your limited mental capacity.

IMMIGRATION BILL
(HC BILL 110)
CHAPTER 1
S 17.

I look forward to your reasoned reply. Please include your NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER to verify your status.

7. Lord Mandelbum of Fondelbuoy

Pandora @ 6:

“…you are a total knobhead…read the following if it is not too much for your limited mental capacity.”

I see, you can’t answer the points I make @ 3, but having your preconceptions challenged makes you angry and abusive.

I am familiar with s.17 of that promising piece of legislation. But it’s up to you to show how it refutes the points I make above, not me.

As you said, “I look forward to your reasoned reply”.

@3 and @7

I suggest you seek the services of a therapist which may help.

Convey my best wishes to your mother who must be highly tried.

Listening to Start the Week on BBR4, I learnt of a new book by an economist, Paul Collier, on: Exodus – Immigration and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century (Allen Lane Press 2013)

Try this critical review of the book:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/book-review-exodus-immigration-and-multiculturalism-in-the-21st-century-by-paul-collier-8871734.html

Not long ago, John Cleese remarked: London is no longer an English city. With 37pc of resident Londoners born abroad, that makes sense.

In the news recently, the NHS was reported to be recruiting nurses in Span, Portugal, the Philippines and India. From talking with a specialist nurse a few days ago, I learned that is because the NHS can’t recruit enough nurses in Britain to maintain standards.

thank you for this im concerned that i have nt seen anything on this in the mainstream media. i do get the morning star every day as well as differing mainstream papers that i aint going to advertise. any links from anyone.
point seven is devastating if you were a landlord and didnt want to do these checks you would just only rent to people with names like sarah smith. im not a fan of landlords having dealt with them myself but im guessing that this is what most of them will do to avoid the checks.

@ 10. james ?

Yes, the landlords and their agents will not do the checks. Far easier to let to white Anglo – Saxons with names to match.

An admission the Border Agency are not doing their job.

4 quite

It looks like TONE has identity issues or possibly s/he posts in different names to give the impression that the larger the number of posters making idiotic and bigoted claims, gives said claims more legitimacy. It wouldn’t surprise me if SMFS makes up this unholy trinity.

Expecting landlords to know who has the right to live in the UK is ridiculous. What kind of documentation are tenants meant to show the landlord? Their Home Office file? Their appeal documentation? So someone who is legit rents the flat and people who aren’t move in. Does the landlord have to keep up on that too?

It all seems like a bit of a waste of time anyway.
Just spending some time walking about in inner city areas with very diverse populations shows that ”we” don’t really know who is living amongst us. Just other humans from somewhere on earth is about as close as you can often guess.
There are SO MANY people from places that I can only guess at that it makes any kinds of control seem like too little too late.
So best not to worry about it IMO.

Did anyone see this story the other day?
God only knows how accurate or not it is.
Immigration: ‘One In Five Marriages A Sham’

I don’t know about the percentage … as one in five seems like such a high figure – even if for just small areas. But I’m sure that it’s pretty routine and anyone who wants a bogus marriage can just get one.
It’s the ”new asylum”.
When one door closes, another opens.

Do you know EB1 is one of the groups in the first preference category of employment-based immigration, which benefits foreign nationals who have reached the top of their field of endeavor? The purpose of the EB-5 is to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by offering immigrant investors the benefits of permanent residency in the United States. Do you know, The H1B visa program is the primary method for employers to recruit & hire International professionals and International students to work in the USA?
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