Visa Crunch

UK Will Bring Additional Measures, Visa Penalties To Expedite Deportation of Illegal Migrants

With the “Nationality and Borders Bill” measure the Home Secretary will be given unprecedented powers to impose visa penalties on nations who refuse to return their own citizens who have no right to be in the United Kingdom. The bill was unveiled on October 15.

The Home Secretary will be empowered to take a stronger position on nations that refuse to cooperate with deportations and removals under these new powers, including banning visas outright, charging a £190 premium on visa applications, and lengthening visa processing timeframes. When these powers are deployed, they will encourage other countries to work with the government to remove persons who have no legal right to be in the country.

One of the amendments the government has tabled to the Nationality and Borders Bill is the new ability to impose visa fines, as part of the Home Secretary’s promise to create a fair but firm immigration system as part of the New Plan for Immigration.

These policies, taken together, will help to avoid dangerous unlawful entry into the UK and disrupt the criminal gangs’ economic model of exploiting people. Home Secretary, Priti Patel said, “The UK has a proud history of being open to the world but we rightly expect our international partners to work with us to remove those who have no right to be in the UK, such as dangerous foreign national offenders. It is unfair on UK citizens and taxpayers that pressure is put on our public services by foreign nationals with no legal right to be here”. 

Patel further explained, “Through my New Plan for Immigration and this landmark legislation, I will continue to take the difficult action needed to fix our broken asylum system and deliver on what the British people want – full control of our borders”.

Many foreign criminals will be deported sooner as well. Foreign national criminals will now be eligible for removal up to 12 months before the conclusion of their jail sentence, rather than nine months, under revisions to the Early Removal Scheme.

The Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Tom Pursglove said, “The New Plan for Immigration provides the only long-term solution to fix our broken asylum system, and we are taking another step forward in delivering on this commitment as our Nationality and Borders Bill continues its passage through Parliament”.

“We are ensuring our system is fair for those who play by the rules, but firm on foreign criminals and those in our country illegally,” Pursglove added. “We have brought forward the most significant reforms to the immigration and asylum system in decades. This is what the British people have consistently demanded. Strengthening the Bill through these amendments will ensure that we continue to deliver for them”.

Further revisions to the Bill have been proposed by the government, including:

  • To protect sensitive information, revisions were made to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act of 1997. This means that legal objections to immigration decisions involving sensitive information can be reviewed by a court that specializes in data protection.
  • Increasing the kinds of claims that can be handled in an expedited appeal from custody, so that more matters can be decided while the person is still in detention rather than being released into the community. Offenders from other countries are included under this category.

Further government changes that are scheduled to be introduced in Parliament this week include:

  • Implementing a rigorous approach to age assessment in order to better identify children seeking asylum and prevent adults from using children’s services
  • In keeping with the government’s goal of securing the border, legislation to establish an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) Scheme has been introduced. Before passengers (excluding British and Irish nationals) can travel to the UK, airlines will need to check that they have a digital authorization or some other kind of approval.

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