"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Movement Against Xenophobia: Immigration Act 2014 (with some comments by me)


'The document below is useful for legal practitioners but also accesible to those of us who are not legally proficient. It is a worrying and discriminatory piece of legislation, MAX will continue to campaign against it, monitor the impacts and challenge where ever possible. We ask the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties to pledge to scrap the Act should they form a Government in 2015.'

The end of the right of appeal :

'Appeal rights have been replaced by administrative review. The only rights of appeal still available are in protection claims (where a person is seeking refugee status or humanitarian protection) or where that leave is being revoked or where a person claims breach of human rights.'

Comment: There are numerous cases on this site - and I am aware of many more - where the partners of British citizens have been incorrectly denied visas to the UK, cases which have subsequently been won on this appeal. Ending the right of appeal ends the oversight of an often hostile and incompetent system, and is an assault of natural justice and democratic values.

Effectively this means that there is now no oversight to the many mistakes made when, for example, spousal or other family visas are dealt with.

British citizens and voters NEED TO KNOW that if their sons and daughters fall in  love with a foreigner, their right to start a family is now at the whim of the Home Office - the same Home Office that is in pursuit of an increasingly distant target of net migration.

Landlords as border guards - can we expect to see migrants and indeed 'foreign' looking and sounding people to be forced into substandard, overpriced accommodation?

'All non-British, non-EEA or non-Swiss citizens who require leave to enter or remain in the UK but do not have it are disqualified from entering into a residential tenancy agreement. Landlords have a duty to check a person’s immigration status. If they rent to someone who does not have leave they can be fined up to £3000 per adult by way of a penalty notice. Landlords can object to the penalty notice and do have a right of appeal against it. They are also required to adhere to the Code of Practice which will tell them how to make the checks and how not to be discriminatory. Breach of the code does not carry any civil or criminal liability. '

Comment: 'No dogs, no blacks, no Irish'. Back to the bad old days. Landlords will be reluctant to rent to migrants - including categories such as students and foreign workers - and even British citizens whose skin may be the wrong colour, or who may have the wrong access. This sets the clock back generations.

The end of universal health care.

'This clause provides the Secretary of State with a power, by order, to require migrants seeking leave to enter or remain (or entry clearance) to pay an immigration health charge ... '

'Those ordinarily resident in the UK are not subject to a charge for the NHS. This clause changes the ordinary resident test for the purposes of charging so that all those who do not have indefinite leave to remain can be charged. This includes those who need leave to enter or remain but also those currently living and working here with limited leave.'

Comment: Completely contrary to the principles of the NHS. The category of those who do not have 'indefinite leave to remain' includes those on spousal or fiancee visas leading up to ILR, even if they are resident in the UK. Even if they are working and paying taxes for the NHS.

A nurse from the Philippines, whose husband is British, on a spouse visa, will have to pay if she needs care on the NHS - the same NHS  which she works for and pays taxes for. THIS IS AN OUTRAGE.

Attack on employment rights.

'This clause amends the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 with regards to appeals by employers against penalty notices for a breach of the illegal working provisions in the Act. The effect is that the employer must first give a ‘notice of objection’ to the Secretary to State who will determine the objection by way of administrative review. The aim is to negate the need of an appeal.'

'... The purpose of this clause is to make it easier for the Secretary of State to recover penalties from employers by removing the need for court proceedings (which allows the employer to raise a defence ). The amendment will allow the Secretary of State to enforce the penalty as if it were a debt under a court order, register it with the civil court and take enforcement action immediately.'

Comment: In much the same way as the attack on the right to housing, this provision will drastically limit rights to employment. Indeed, employers without the access to big legal or HR departments will be reluctant to hire migrants - maybe even those with ILR - maybe even British citizens with the 'wrong' complexion or who speak the 'wrong' way. Because those employers will lack the resources to know what to check,  and will therefore be open to huge fines with limited redress.

'No dogs, no blacks, no Irish' - again. This kicks the door wide open to abuse and discrimination.

Undermining the right to marry or form a civil partnership.

'There are several detailed provisions with regard to the conduct of the investigation and information that needs to be provided by couples but the main changes are that all marriages following civil preliminaries and all civil partnerships in England and Wales will be subject to a 28-day notice period (currently 15 days) from when notice is given to the registration official.'

'Where the Home Office has reasonable grounds to suspect that a referred marriage or civil partnership is a sham, it will be able to extend the notice period to 70 days in order to investigate the genuineness of the couple’s relationship.'

Comment: This is an authoritarian, intrusive and grotesquely offensive assault on the right to marry.
A fiance visa is for six months; the timeline from granting the visa, to getting married, to applying for the next visa (the spouse visa) is tight enough already. This provision makes it harder, more uncertain and more stressful. All to tacks a problem which research has shown -does not really exist-.

See Free Movement blog on sham marriages :
There were only 229 convictions related to sham marriages in 2011.

This was from last year - 'Bungling immigration officials crash genuine wedding' :

This provision undermines the rights of families to be together by manufacturing a problem which doesn't exist.

The Act attacks the rights of families in these ways: right to housing; right to health care; right to earn a living; access to justice; and right to exist and be together at all. It is an outrage.

The Act will inevitably greatly affect -everyone- in the UK - not just migrants, or indeed those British citizens who are the partners or children of migrants. It will affect our economy, our society, our relations with the outside world. It is insidious and immensely damaging.


Read on... 
Open Democracy : 'Academics speak out against the UK Immigration Bill' 

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