The government has announced plans to launch a further crackdown on illegal immigration, in particular those that overstay their visas. The proposals are contained in the new Immigration Bill that was announced recently. In particular there is the intention to include a new offence of ‘driving while unlawfully in the UK’.
The government plans to make it illegal for those with no immigration status to drive a car when their leave expires. Under the planned legislation, individuals that flout the law will potentially face jail and have the vehicle they are driving seized. The new offence will mean that anyone convicted of the offence potentially face a sentence of up to 6 months in prison and an unlimited fine in England and Wales.
Furthermore anyone arrested for the new offence could have their car impounded and, if convicted, the car could be forfeited.
In order to pave the way for this, Immigration Enforcement Officers will have new powers to search individuals and properties and seize driving licences if they suspect someone is in the UK illegally.
The government says that the new bill aims to toughen their action against those with no right to be in the UK in a number of ways. This includes introducing new measures which crack down on the exploitation of low-skilled workers, increasing the punishments for employing those with no status along with strengthening sanctions for illegal working.
The government also aims to build upon the measures introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 with the aim of ensuring only people living lawfully in the UK can have access to UK bank accounts, driving licences and rental accommodation. The government also intends to increase the powers available to make it easier to remove people that have no right to be in the UK.
The government has been trying to deter illegal migrants from coming to the UK and to make it harder for those already in the UK to live and work in the UK and to encourage them to try and regularise their status or leave the UK if they have exhausted all avenues.
The Immigration Act of 2014 made it much harder for people to live in the UK illegally and it achieved this by restricting access to public services and benefits. The legislation also introduced the Immigration Health Surcharge. This means that most migrants who are legally in the UK must now contribute towards the National Health Service and they must continue to do so until they are eligible for settlement in the UK.
The government says that the new Bill is intended to reduce the factors that might encourage illegal migrants to come to the UK and to take away the availability of public services which assist such people to remain in the UK unlawfully.
The new bill will include a range of new powers to tackle illegal employment, including a new offence of illegal working. It will stop providing support to migrants who do not return home once all claims to asylum have been considered and have failed.
Under the new bill public organisations will be required to ensure that all public employees in customer-facing roles speak good English. It will also ensure that all those on immigration bail are electronically tagged. There will also be a new skills levy imposed on businesses bringing migrant labour into the country, the aim being to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported labour.
The Immigration department at Wildings solicitors have assisted many clients who have no status in the UK or have overstayed their visas.
Should you need advice or assistance with any of the issues mentioned in this article or any other immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact the Wildings Solicitors Immigration Department and we will be happy to speak to you.