In her speech on the 8 May 2013 at the state opening of Parliament, the Queen announced the Home Office are to introduce more new tougher laws to tackle immigration. The announcement follows the recent major overhaul of the Immigration Rules.
The Queen said an Immigration Bill will aim to “ensure that this country attracts people who will contribute and deter those who will not”.
There are a number of key proposals in the Bill:
- There will be restrictions to free access to the NHS. Temporary visitors will have to “make a contribution” to costs.
- Illegal migrants will be prevented from obtaining driving licences.
- Landlords will be required to check the immigration status of their tenants.
- Currently the fine for employing illegal workers is up to £10,000 per illegal worker. The Immigration Bill proposes even larger fines for employers and businesses.
From the government’s point of view, the announcement of the Bill does seem timely following the gains made by UKIP recently in their support with its focus on a campaign for reduction in net migration figures. In response however government ministers said the proposed immigration reforms had been decided before the local elections last week.
David Cameron, commenting that the measures were central to his government`s plans for the year ahead, said
"Put simply, our immigration bill will back aspiration and end the legacy of the last government, where people could come here and expect something for nothing."
There will be consultations to follow, one on the new responsibilities for private landlords and a separate one on migrants` access to the NHS.
With an emphasis on a "determination to do this thoroughly", according to David Cameron’s spokesperson, Downing Street has therefore said it cannot promise any new laws will come into effect before work restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians are lifted in January 2014, an area that has recently raised concern for expected mass migration.