Saturday, 11 May 2013

UK government announces immigration reform bill

The UK government says that it intends to pass legislation that they say will encourage people who want to contribute to the country but discourage those who want to take advantage of the UK's social benefits. The proposed legislation was revealed by Queen Elizabeth II at the state opening of parliament in Westminster on Wednesday 8th May 2013.

The State Opening of Parliament is an annual event at which the monarch reads a speech outlining her government's legislative agenda for the coming year. This year, the immigration bill was one of the major announcements in the seven minute long speech. The speech contained commitments from the government to pass fifteen laws which will deal with matters as diverse as pensions, social care, job creation and immigration.

The Queen announced that the immigration bill would ensure that the UK 'attracts those who will contribute and deters those who will not'. The bill will do the following if it becomes law:
Restrict access to the NHS for foreign nationals in the UK
Require visitors to the UK to make a contribution towards the costs of any treatment they receive from the NHS
Introduce bigger fines for firms which employ foreign workers who do not have the right to work in the UK
Oblige private landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants before they rent a property. A failure to do so may result in hefty fines
Require the courts, when considering applications from foreign criminals to remain in the UK under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to consider the impact on the victims and on society generally. Article 8 says that everyone has the right to family life. This has been interpreted by the courts in such a way that some foreign criminals have been allowed to stay in the UK because they have fathered a child even after they have committed serious offences.

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