On 14 May 2014, the Immigration Bill 2013-2014 received royal assent. Numerous changes which affect migrants and non-migrants alike will now be introduced by the Immigration Act 2014.

In particular, the Act impacts on migrant access to services and widens the UK Government’s powers as follows:

MIGRANT ACCESS TO SERVICES

The Immigration Act 2014:

  • requires migrants, who do not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, to make a financial contribution to the NHS, regardless of whether or not they will or already make National Insurance contributions;
  • requires landlords to check tenants’ rights to be in the UK - like right to work checks, this will apply to landlords and tenants regardless of nationality; and
  • prevents migrants, who may not have the right to stay in the UK, from obtaining UK driving licences and opening bank accounts.

UK GOVERNMENT’S POWERS

Under the new Act:

  • the Government has been given wider powers to investigate potential ‘sham’ marriages and civil partnerships;
  • the number of immigration decisions which can be appealed has fallen from 17 to four; and
  • the Secretary of State can deprive a naturalised individual of his or her British citizenship, thereby making the individual stateless, if the individual’s actions have been prejudicial to UK interests and the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds for believing that the person is able to become a national of another country.