17 May 2016
The Immigration Act 2016 was published today.
It is a weighty tome (236 pages) and we haven’t had time to read and absorb it all as yet, but it is a depressing document, and as various parts of it are implemented it will continue to escalate the “hostile environment” which the government has so proudly created.
Penalties for illegal working – and for employing someone who doesn’t have the right to work in the UK – have increased, and landlords renting their houses to someone who is in the UK illegally could find themselves facing up to five years in jail, as well as a hefty fine. Employers registered on the Register of Sponsors will, from 17 July 2016, have to pay an “immigration skills charge” to sponsor someone from overseas.
But perhaps the saddest, most depressing part of this document is what, at first glance, appears to be the end of an in-country right of appeal. Until now, even if your visa ran out you remained in the UK legally, as long as you had submitted your application whilst your visa was still valid, or as long as you were in the appeal process. When section 64 of the new Act is implemented, you will be fine while your application is being considered, but if the application is refused, you will no longer be in the UK legally, and will only be able to appeal from overseas.
Watch this space – we’ll keep you updated as we get a better grip on the implications of this new Act.