The Immigration Act 2014 – A first look

The Immigration Bill that received Royal Ascent on the 15th of May is set to shake up immigration law and make things tougher on those who have no right to be in the UK now that it has officially become the Immigration Act 2014. The very same Act, however, is also set to make things “much fairer on British citizens and legitimate migrants” through its series of 77 clauses that detail fundamental changes to the UK immigration system.

The passage of the Bill into law has been a controversial move and has been widely criticised as being overly severe. Indeed, Home Secretary Theresa May has explicitly stated that the purpose of the new immigration legislation is to create a “hostile environment” for migrants. So, has the new Immigration Act taken things too far? Will it put potential migrants off applying to come to the UK?

Whilst the provisions of the Act have intentionally tightened up the UK’s immigration system, the changes are actually not enough to hinder your application….providing you are a legitimate migrant. The intention is not to stop immigration or to put migrants off coming to the UK altogether, but rather to restrict the applications to those that are legitimate and get tougher on those that aren’t.

Described as “a landmark piece of legislation” that will “ensure that our immigration system works in the national interest” by Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire, the Immigration Act 2014 is in the process of implementation and will dramatically effect all bodies that enforce immigration legislation, such as UK Visas & Immigration and Immigration Enforcement.

Critically, the Immigration Act 2014 strengthens the provisions for the removal of those with no right to be in the UK, making it easier to do so. With high profile cases in this area often taking the media spotlight and dividing public opinion, this provision is set to be a popular one with the British public.

Perhaps the most dramatic clause in the new Immigration Act, however, is the provision made to significantly cut the number of decisions on immigration that can be appealed, which has been reduced from 17 to a meagre 4. Whilst this won’t completely take away the opportunity to enter the UK, the majority of applicants who are refused entry will have to begin their application from scratch rather than having the right to appeal.

For more information on the Immigration Act 2014, keep checking our blog or visit the UK government website.

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