UK will be a 'harder place' for dishonest immigrants


Home Secretary Theresa May said that the government's Immigration Bill would make "Britain a harder place to live for those who have no right to be here", during the debate on the Queen's Speech on 9 May 2013.

The bill is designed to make it easier to deport foreign criminals more easily, while migrants' access to the NHS will be restricted. Businesses caught employing illegal foreign labour, and landlords who house them as tenants, will face large fines.

Mrs May said that immigrants would not gain "free access to the NHS until they have made at least some contribution to the Exchequer" and would need to hold "lawful immigration status of more than six months to qualify for a UK driving licence".

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper admitted Labour should have introduced transitional controls on migration from eastern Europe but claimed that government had failed to deal with illegal immigration.

She said the "the backlog in finding failed asylum seekers has gone up" whilst "the number of illegal immigrants deported has gone down".

Former Home Office minister Labour's Fiona Mactaggart was critical of a provision in the bill to require landlords to check tenants' immigration status, saying it would lead to discrimination.

She said : "Getting landlords to check the status of tenants will lead to suspicion that anyone who is not white or has a foreign-sounding name is here illegally."

Plaid Cymru's leader in the Commons Elfyn Llwyd MP said that "much of this debate is actually dictated by the drumbeat of UKIP" and the proposed legislation was "in part, very unfortunate".

Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert called for an end to "the era of decade after decade of backlogs and of people not getting answers promptly".

However, the MP for Cambridge warned that "we must ensure that in the drive to correct our systems, we do not bring in measures that stifle our success or international standing".

This is part one of the second day of debate on the Queen's Speech. Part two can be viewed here.

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