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  • Immigration Act 2014 – What you Need to Know

    Posted on 28th March 2014 by admintremont

    On 14th May 2014 the new Immigration Act 2014 gained Royal Assent is now in force. This new Act will affect many different people with different status in the UK.

    The main changes are as follows;

     

    Reduced Rights of Appeal

    The new Immigration Act reduces the amount of people who can appeal against a refusal decision. Previously there were 17 different types of applications where a refusal would carry a Right of Appeal. This number has been reduced to 4.

    In certain Human Rights Decisions the Home Office may grant a right of appeal, however the majority of these will require the applicant to leave the UK before they make an appeal.

     

    This change emphasises how important it is for an application to be complete and full before it is submitted to the Home Office.

     

    Article 8 – Consideration of Public Interest

    The Home Office are attempting to limit the number to people who are granted status in the UK on the basis of their rights to a Family and Private Life in the UK under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

    In doing so the new Immigration Rules stipulate that when Article 8 points are raised, full consideration must be given to Public Interest. The Home Office and Immigration Courts must weigh up a person’s right to a family and private life on the one hand and their duty to maintain effective immigration control on the other.

     

    The main points that they will consider in relation to the public interest are if people;

    • Can Speak English;
    • Are Financially Independent; and
    • Have a Criminal Record

     

    Combined Refusal and Removal Directions

    One of the new powers brought in by the Immigration Act 2014 is to issue combined refusal decisions and removal directions. Where a person who made an application was refused and they had no further leave, the Home Office would note that the person was liable for removal. This would not automatically mean that any removal directions would be set.

     

    The new Act introduced a combined refusal which serves people with a removal decision immediately. However, it is important to note that where a removal decision is set, this generally carries with it a right of appeal. Although, a further aim in this Act is for more appeals to be made outside of the UK once the person has left.

     

    Changes to Access to Services such as Housing, NHS, Bank Accounts and Driving Licences

    The new Immigration Act also serves to limit migrant’s access to services. This section will mainly affect people would are in the UK illegally with no status.

     

    Housing:

    The new act has changed the right to rent a property to mirror someone’s working rights in the UK, i.e. you can only obtain a tenancy for the time you are legally living in the UK.

     

    This Act gives public and private landlords the right to ask about someone’s immigration status in the UK before granting them a tenancy. It also disqualifies people who are currently in the UK illegally from starting a tenancy agreement or renting any type of property, this will also mean that the people who have limited leave to remain can only be granted a tenancy for the time they are allowed to be in the UK.

     

    Any landlord who has a tenant who have remained in the UK beyond the validity of their visa can be given a penalty and could receive a fine of up to £3000.00.

     

    NHS:

    The new Act brings in charges for people with limited or no leave to enter or remain in the UK who use NHS Services. This means that unless you are a British Citizen, are a European Citizen, Family Member, or have Settled Status then you may be charged for any treatment you receive from the NHS. This will include your GP, Hospital Treatment, Dentist and other services which are paid for by the NHS.

     

    Bank Accounts

    The new Act gives Banks and Building Society’s the right to request evidence of someone’s immigration status in the UK before allowing them to open an account. The Act also states that people who do not have legal stay in the UK are unable to open any kind of account.

     

    Driving Licences

    The new Act now includes that there is a residence requirement for migrants to meet before they can be granted a driving licence for the UK. Furthermore the Home Office will now have the power to revoke the driving license of a person who has become an illegal migrant or overstayer in the UK.

     

    It is useful to note that this part of the Act is not yet enforced and it will not be introduced until at least October 2014.

     

    British Citizenship

    The new Immigration Act also gives the Home Office the powers to deprive a person of their British Citizenship which they have gained through naturalisation.

     

    If the Secretary of State is satisfied that a person has conducted themselves in a manner which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interest of the UK, ie if a person’s actions are so heinous or they have committed a serious criminal offence, the Secretary of State has the ability to revoke a person’s British Citizenship.

     

    This is a very serious measure and decisions on this part of the Immigration Act will not be taken lightly as they may leave a person stateless.

     

    Power to Investigate Sham Marriages

    The new Immigration Act also serves to provide the Home Office with more powers to investigate ‘sham’ marriages. If the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds for suspecting a marriage may not be genuine and either one or neither of the parties to the marriage are British, hold settled status and/or hold the relevant visa in respect of proposed marriage /civil partnership – an investigation can be undertaken with only 48 hours’ notice.