Tougher laws on the way for unlawful migrants

The Government’s latest immigration bill has provided a new offence whereby people who are residing in the UK unlawfully and are caught driving face imprisonment. The new offence of driving while unlawfully in the UK will carry a maximum sentence of six months in prison and an unlimited fine in England and Wales.

The rule also provides that any one arrested for the new offence, could have their car impounded and, if convicted, the car must be forfeited. New powers provided to immigration enforcement officers will allow them to undertake searches on individuals and properties and seize driving licences if they suspect someone is here illegally.

Measures that are included under the legislation published on 17 September have been designed to create “a hostile environment” for illegal immigrants.

This new bill provides landlords with additional routes to evict illegal migrants as well as creating new offences for unscrupulous landlords who continuously rent to illegal migrants.

The other provisions of the bill include creating a new offence of illegal working,making it easier to evict migrants who do not have the correct documentation, and requiring banks and building societies to regularly check the status of their account holders.

The published bill includes detailed measures to withdraw support from refused asylum seekers and to introduce powers to electronically tag those who are refused immigration bail. The bill also includes higher penalties for those who employ illegal migrants, a new skills levy on businesses that recruit staff from outside Europe and a new role of director of labour market enforcement.

Immigration minister, James Brokenshire, has said:

“The message is clear; if you are here illegally, you shouldn’t be entitled to receive the everyday benefits and services available to hard working families and people who have come to this country legitimately to contribute. Whether it is working, renting a flat, having a bank account or driving a car, the new immigration bill will help us to take tougher action than ever before on those who flout the law.”

David Cameron has stated that the Immigration bill is designed to bring the whole of government into the battle to reduce migration flows. He promises the bill will make “Britain a less attractive place to come and work illegally”.

There will be a second reading of the bill on 13 October. It is expected to become law before the start of 2016.

Sana Hussain