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The New Borders Bill: A More Fortress Britain

one of noborders | 27.01.2007 15:21 | Anti-racism | Migration | Repression | Birmingham

The new Borders Bill, the fifth on immigration in eight years, was published on 26 January, 2007 (see Home Office's press release). It will equip the new Border and Immigration Agency with a wide range of new powers to "deter, detect and deport those breaking the rules and ensure that those foreign nationals legally in the UK play their part in upholding the rules."

The key measures in the Bill will provide immigration officers with greater powers, ensure that foreign national prisoners face automatic deportation and tackle 'illegal' working and fraud. There will be uniformed immigration officers at ports and airports and, by 2014, passport checks to ensure there is a record of who has left the UK. Travellers from the 'highest risk countries' will require biometric compulsory ID cards by 2008.

Embarkation controls, which were partially lifted under the Conservatives in 1994 before being removed altogether when Labour came to office, will be reinstated by 2014. Following the events of July 7, targeted embarkation controls were established at Heathrow, Gatwick, London Waterloo and some other international ports in support of Special Branch. Targeted intelligence led embarkation controls continue to take place at major ports to identify failed asylum seekers and other immigration offenders who are leaving the UK.

According to the new measures, employers of 'illegal' workers will be penalised and the assets of persistent offenders seized. Moreover, the public will be encouraged to use the Crimestoppers telephone number to report companies employing illegal workers.

Nine out of 10 asylum seekers will have their cases decided and concluded within six months of arriving in the UK. All those who need to be deported will be removed within six months of arrival by the end of 2011.

A points-based entry system will enable students and those with skills required in Britain to visit or stay under "managed migration".

Of course, the amount spent on enforcing immigration rules will be doubled by an extra £100m by 2009-10. And, finally, there will be no amnesty for people staying in the country 'illegally'.

one of noborders