David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has strongly backed the Government Bill that would make it much harder for people to live and work in the UK illegally. He voted in favour of the Immigration Bill at Second Reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday night (22 October).
The Bill will make it easier to identify illegal immigration by extending investigatory powers, and easier to remove and deport illegal immigrants. It also introduces new requirements that would make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to live in the UK. Specifically, the Immigration Bill will:
i. easier to identify illegal immigrants by extending powers:
• to collect and check fingerprints;
• to search for passports;
• to implement embarkation controls; and
• to examine the status and credibility of migrants seeking to marry or enter into a civil partnership.
ii. easier to remove and deport illegal immigrants by:
• cutting the number of decisions that can be appealed from 17 to 4 – preserving appeals for those asserting fundamental rights;
• extending the number of non-suspensive appeals – where there is no risk of serious irreversible harm, we should deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeal later;
• ensuring the courts have regard to Parliament’s view of what the public interest requires when considering Article 8 of the European Court of Human Rights in immigration cases; and
• restricting the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail if they have previously been refused it.
iii. more difficult for illegal immigrants to live in the UK by:
• requiring private landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants, to prevent those with no right to live in the UK from accessing private rented housing;
• making it easier for the Home Office to recover unpaid civil penalties;
• introducing a new requirement for temporary migrants who have only a time-limited immigration status to make a contribution to the National Health Service;
• prohibiting banks from opening current accounts for migrants identified as being in the UK unlawfully, by requiring banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening accounts; and
• introducing new powers to check driving licence applicants’ immigration status before issuing a licence and revoking licences where immigrants are found to have overstayed in the UK.
Speaking at a meeting of Barnehurst Conservatives on Wednesday night (23 October), Mr Evennett said “Labour’s open-door policy on immigration has caused real problems for our public services and a vast backlog of cases yet to be determined because of the administration involved and the repeated appeals by failed applicants. Labour in government made it difficult to deport people with no right to be here in our country.”
“I welcome this Bill as it will deliver the tough action needed to clear up Labour’s mess. We have already cut immigration but there is still some way to go. Conservatives in Government are building an immigration system which is fair to hard-working people, while cracking down on those who are here illegally.”