Immigration Act 2016
The Immigration Bill has received royal assent and is now officially the Immigration Act 2016. Measures will be implemented over the coming months.
The Act will introduce criminal sanctions for employers who are employing illegal workers and for those who are working illegally, either because they do not have permission to be in the UK or because although they have permission to be in the UK they are not permitted to work. Illegal workers can be imprisoned for up to 51 weeks in England and Wales and can also have their earning seized. Employers who knowingly or negligently employ those not permitted to work can face up to five years imprisonment. These provisions are in addition to the civil penalties that were introduced by the Immigration Act 2014.
Unlawful migrants will be prevented from accessing services such as housing, bank accounts and driving licenses. There is also provision for banks to freeze bank accounts and for a landlord in England, to evict a tenant by giving them 28 days notice without the requirement for a Court order.
Deport first, appeal later
The appeals certification process commonly referred to as the ‘deport first appeal later’ was introduced by the Immigration Act 2014 and enabled the Secretary of State to remove foreign national criminals from the UK denying them a right of appeal from the UK. This has now been extended to all migrants. A person will only be able to appeal from the UK if they can demonstrate that they are likely to suffer from serious irreversible harm or it will be a breach of their human rights if they are unable to appeal from the UK.
Section 4 of the Immigration Act 1999 has been repealed and a new Section 95A introduced which is support for failed asylum seekers who can demonstrate that there will be a genuine obstacle to them returning to their country of origin. There will be no right of appeal to those that are refused section 95A support. The definition of ‘genuine obstacles’ will be published in regulations in due course.
There have been minor concessions on the detention of pregnant women by the Government. Pregnant women can be detained up to 72 hours and up to a maximum of a week on ministerial order where they are in the process of being removed or there are exceptional circumstances.
Guidance on Vulnerability
The Government will also be obliged to issue guidance on vulnerability to determine who is vulnerable and whether the individual should be detained. Guidance would need to be approved by Parliament and introduced by way of regulations. Decision makers would be obliged to comply with this guidance.
Duty to children
The 2016 also provides that the duty relating to the welfare of children under section 55 of the Borders Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 should not be limited by any provisions under the 2016 act.