Borders Bill marks new phase of immigration crackdown

The government has published its new UK Borders Bill  today as part of an immigration crackdown.

The bill equips the new Border and Immigration Agency with a range of powers to deter, detect and deport any migrants breaking UK immigration laws.

Under the new bill, immigration officers will have the authority to arrest people smugglers or traffickers if their crimes were committed outside the UK and access Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs data to track down illegal immigrants.

Foreign nationals living in the UK will also face additional obligations, including having to apply for a “biometric immigration document” – a compulsory biometric ID for those moving to the the UK from outside the EEA. The document is aimed at tackling fraud, illegal working and multiple identities. Failure to obtain biometric ID will put the person at risk of losing their leave to remain in the UK and/or a civil penalty of up to £1,000.

Immigration minister Liam Byrne said: “The UK Borders Bill will give immigration officers vital new powers to do their job better, to secure our borders, tackle the traffickers and shut down illegal working. It will build on existing legislation and commitments made by John Reid last summer to overhaul our immigration system.”

The CBI’s deputy director-general, John Cridland, said the bill would help deal with rogue employers.

“It is only right that government takes tough, targeted action against the small minority of firms which persistently and knowingly employ illegal immigrants,” he said.

“The proposed new identification document should help employers by simplifying the current system of checks, which the government itself acknowledges makes things far too complicated for legitimate employers.

Business will expect to see results from doubling the enforcement budget – it is for the government to take the lead and not make employers take on roles that should properly be done by expert immigration officers.”

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