The Queen has made her first legislative speech today as a majority Conservative government.
The Immigration aspects included:-
1. Bringing forward the proposals for a British Bill of Rights. However, the Government has decided to pull away from legislating to scrap the Human Rights Act 1998, as it is reported they were faced with a backbench rebellion. It will be interesting to see how this progresses and whether we could end up with both a Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Act in existence!
2. Early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the EU before the end of 2017. The individuals allowed to vote will be those who are British, Irish or a Commonwealth citizens over 18 years old. We were expecting this.
3. Renegotiating the UK’s relationship with the EU and pursue reform of the EU for the benefit of all member states. It will be interesting to see how this will be approached by the Government.
4. There was a brief mention that “measures will be introduced to control immigration”. It is understood that this will mean:-
-creating an offence of illegal working
-allowing the police to seize the wages paid to illegal migrants (as proceeds of crime)
-banning employment agencies solely recruiting overseas
-new enforcement agency to tackle the worse case of exploitation
-creating a new visa levy on firms using foreign labour to funds apprenticeships for British and EU workers
-force banks to take action on accounts held by illegal migrants
-deport first, appeal later regime to all immigration cases, not just criminals; and
-tag foreign offenders released on bail “so we always know exactly where they are”.
There is nothing much new to these proposals, other than the delay to scrapping the Human Rights Act, which remains a key weapon in most individuals’ armour when appealing decisions post 6 April 2015.