Queen's Speech: Immigrants face tougher rules

 

The Queen's Speech in full

A fresh attempt to curb immigration is the centre piece of the government's planned new laws, set out by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament.

Short-term migrants will pay for NHS care, landlords will be forced to check immigration status and illegal migrants will not get driving licences.

Laws on cheap alcohol and monitoring web use were not among the 15 bills.

David Cameron said the package would boost recovery, but Ed Miliband said the coalition had "run out of ideas".

The Queen set out what the government plans to do over the next year amid the traditional pomp and ceremony of the state opening.

The Prince of Wales, joined by his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, attended the ceremony for the first time since 1996.

In a speech written for her by ministers, the Queen said her government's "first priority" remained cutting the deficit and strengthening Britain's economy.

Start Quote

There is no sign that this is a prime minister and a deputy with an Alex Ferguson-like eye on life after the day job”

End Quote

But the government says it is also determined to do more to tackle illegal immigration and demonstrate that it is backing families who "want to work hard and get on".

The Queen said an immigration bill would aim to "ensure that this country attracts people who will contribute, and deter those who will not".

If passed, the bill would ensure illegal immigrants cannot get driving licences, and change the rules so private landlords have to check their tenants' immigration status.

UKIP surge

It would also allow foreign criminals to be deported more easily, as well as people who are in the UK illegally, after the government's repeated setbacks in its efforts to deport the radical cleric Abu Qatada.

Businesses caught employing illegal foreign labour would face bigger fines.

Migrants' access to the NHS would be restricted and temporary visitors would have to "make a contribution" to the cost of their care, either with their own money or through their government.

Asked on BBC Radio 4's The World at One whether this would mean GPs having to check patients' passports before agreeing to treat them, Business Secretary Vince Cable said "checks of various kinds" were one option being considered but the details had yet to be finalised.

Business Secretary Vince Cable: "People who come into the country overwhelmingly make a positive contribution"

The planned immigration crackdown follows a surge in support for UKIP, which campaigns for a reduction in net migration, but ministers insist the measures had been decided before last week's local election results.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the immigration measures were the "centre piece" of his government's plans for the year ahead, as they "go right across government".

He told MPs: "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."

Downing Street said it could not promise the new laws would come into effect before work restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians are lifted in January.

The prime minister's spokesman said there was a "determination to do this thoroughly". There will be a consultation on new responsibilities for private landlords and a separate one on migrants' access to the NHS, with the emphasis on systems to ensure people "pay what they should".

Other measures announced in the Queen's Speech include:

Ofsted-style ratings for hospitals and care homes will be introduced and a new chief inspector of hospitals given more powers, in response to the Mid-Staffordshire health scandal.

Another bill would increase supervision and drug testing of offenders after release from jails in England and Wales and open up the Probation Service to private competition in an effort to cut reoffending rates.

'Snooper's charter'

There was no place in the Queen's Speech for proposals to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes or legislation on minimum alcohol pricing, although Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has insisted both plans are still under consideration.

Demands by some Conservative MPs for legislation paving the way for a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU were ignored, as were calls from charities to enshrine in law David Cameron's pledge to spend 0.7% of national income on foreign aid.

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A no-answers Queen's Speech from a tired and failing government”

End Quote Ed Miliband Labour leader

The Queen's Speech had also been due to include a communications data bill, dubbed a "snooper's charter" by opponents, which would have allowed the monitoring of UK citizens' online and mobile communications.

But the plans were blocked by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on civil liberties grounds, despite warnings the legislation was needed to help detect terror plots.

The government is now considering forcing internet service providers and mobile phone companies to store more data about the devices used for emails, Skype calls and other messages to help police identify the sender, if necessary.

The Home Office had previously rejected this option, which may not need new legislation to implement, on technical and cost grounds.

Immigration

Giving his response to the government's package, Labour leader Ed Miliband said it would do nothing to boost growth, cut youth unemployment or tackle rising living costs.

"You are not dealing with the problems of the country," he told the prime minister.

Farage: Queen's speech designed to tell UKIP voters, "Don't worry, we're dealing with things"

"No wonder this Queen's Speech has no answers. Three wasted years, today another wasted chance. A no-answers Queen's Speech from a tired and failing government.

"Out of touch, out of ideas, standing up for the wrong people and unable to bring the change the country needs."

Mr Miliband accused Mr Cameron of caving in to vested interests and his own backbenchers by ditching planned legislation on plain cigarette packaging, a communications bill on media monopolies and a statutory register of lobbyists. He said Labour would be willing to back these measures if the PM wanted to get them through Parliament.

On immigration, he said Labour would "look at" the government's proposals but would also push for a crackdown on employers who flout the minimum wage and use "cheap" foreign labour - legal and illegal - to undercut wages.

Business lobby group the CBI welcomed progress on High Speed 2 but called for more investment in the existing transport network, adding that they wanted to see "delivery on the ground not time-consuming new bills that will have little or no impact before 2015".

The TUC said the government should have used the Queen's Speech to ditch its "failed austerity experiment" and "instead of making people work for longer the government should be focusing on creating more jobs".

SNP MP Angus Robertson said the speech, which included a commitment by the government to "continue to make the case for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom", demonstrated why it should be independent.

"The speech shows that Westminster isn't working for Scotland. Instead of boosting economic growth it is focusing on a lurch to the right politically," he said.

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd welcomed proposals to reform the Welsh Assembly electoral system, but described the Queen's Speech overall as disappointing, as it showed "Wales remains far down Westminster's list of priorities".

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the planned immigration measures were aimed at reassuring UKIP voters but would be undermined by EU legislation.

 

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The Queen's Speech 2013

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  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 17.

    A limp offering demonstrating just how bereft the Coalition are of any ideas as to how to serve the citizens of the UK, revive the economy or meet any of their obligations or duty of care to us citizens.

  • rate this
    +21

    Comment number 16.

    Last week our political elite were given the message that people were tired of the same old nonsense and lies, they were told to step up the game. Roll on a few days and we have very little in the bill to help people who are struggling and more promises over immigration. The coalition just dont get it.

  • rate this
    +49

    Comment number 15.

    There is much in this which has my support such as curbs on immigration, easier deportation of foreign criminals, overseas aid etc. and I am looking forward to seeing the details of how this will be delivered. My only question is, why has it taken so long and why have politicians ignored our concerns for so long?

  • rate this
    -49

    Comment number 14.

    Atheist may moan and scream but Thank You Majesty for praying for the Blessing of Almighty God at the very end.

  • rate this
    -14

    Comment number 13.

    "Bloomin' foreigners coming over here and taking all our jobs"
    "Bloomin' foreigners coming over here and living off benefits"

    Erm....make your minds up, bigots!

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 12.

    Surely we need to deal with the drain on resources caused by the royal family? they're from Germany and Greece after all. They get private hospital care and Charlie spends nearly a million a year just flying around the planet.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 11.

    This was a Queen's Speech to help fatcats and the corporate sector only.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 10.

    Empty policies that are designed to win the next election but have no solid basis, and will more than likely not be enforced.

    His refusal to give us a vote on our status in Europe shows that this is all talk and no action, and voters who supported the UKIP/BNP in recent elections will see through it.
    Shame that our politicians, voted in to represent us have no intention of doing exactly that.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 9.

    At one time, if you mentioned immigration you were branded a racist. Will the Guardianista have the temerity to call the Queen racist?

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 8.

    Will not stop EU migrants. In a time of high unemployment we should look after our own first. Ukip realize this, the gov just wring their hands.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 7.

    We don't want to restrict EU immigration. That's the point of the EU. Derp.
    Immigration is a MASSIVE benefit to the British economy in every way. Politicians like to make out that its somehow bad economically as that is the intuition of many people who know nothing about economics. Pandering to the people's ignorance - Not real democracy.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 6.

    so instead of dealing with the problems in our country we are just going to blame a minority of immigrants...

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 5.

    Nothing to help hardworking folk. Nothing to strengthen consumer laws. No action against the banks.

    A waste of a Queen's Speech.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 4.

    I always thought the Government wrote The Queen’s Speech – but it turns out it’s written by The Official Opposition – UKIP.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 3.

    It is my understanding that Abu Qatada is neither a (UK) convicted criminal nor in the UK illegally. How then are these proposed changes going to remedy similar cases? Equally, there is no way to restrict EU immigration other than by leaving the EU. You can fiddle around with some of the 'incentives' but most EU nationals come as either spouses or to work- Treaty of Rome- Freedom of Movement.

  • rate this
    -12

    Comment number 2.

    Queen's Speech: Immigrants face tougher rules
    sometimes i just dont get the queen!
    but because i am fine with her rules so i will probaly be the same with these

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1.

    “For years now, my Government has allowed mass immigration, constantly lying to the electorate that this is good thing. Following recent elections in which UKIP made significant gains, my Government has now decided to change this policy, the reason being is it’s scared to death of losing the next General Election because it has constantly ignored the wishes of its citizens ” said the Queen.

 

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