JUSTICE’s briefing on the Immigration Bill 2015-16 was quoted extensively during its second reading in the House of Commons yesterday. Both the Shadow Home Secretary, Andy Burnham (scroll down to Column 209) and the SNP’s Justice and Home Affairs spokesperson, Joanna Cherry (scroll down to Column 246), referenced some of our concerns and urged Members of the House to look at our “detailed analysis” of the issue.
Despite concerns expressed by all the major opposition parties, and even some on the Conservative benches, the Bill passed by 323 to 274.
According to the Explanatory Notes published alongside the Bill, the purpose of the Bill is to tackle illegal immigration by making it harder to live and work illegally in the United Kingdom. The Bill contains a number of measures aimed at combating illegal working and restricting access to services for irregular migrants, extends the enforcement powers of immigration officers, detainee custody officers, prison officers and prisoner custody officers as well as making changes to the appeals system, immigration bail and asylum support.
JUSTICE was concerned about a number of provisions in the Bill but concentrated our response to those provisions most closely within our area of expertise, namely:
- Clause 8: Offence of illegal working
- Clause 12: Offence of leasing premises
- Clause 29 & Schedule 5: Immigration bail
- Part 3: Enforcement
- Part 4: Appeals