Immigration Bill: Important quotes from Oral Evidence
Guest post by Ana Macouzet
Yesterday the House of Commons Public Bill Committee considering the Government's Immigration Bill started hearing oral evidence. It is important to follow these meetings, which are open to the public, to understand the measures being put forward and the serious effects they will have.
Adrian Berry, chair of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association, had the following to say on some immigration measures proposed by the Bill, their (lack of) evidential basis, and their effects (for more, see Hansard record:)
Limiting the right to appeal
‘The adjustment to section 82 (…) removes the right of appeal on points of law for the managed migration routes, which are the people who come in for work, for study and for family reunion purposes. The Home Office decision making in this area is extremely poor, as the appeals impact assessment notes. Some 50% of managed migration appeals are allowed on points of administrative law, and do not engage human rights or the refugee convention’.
‘There is an abolition of certificates of entitlement to the right of abode. That is the document that British citizens use to vindicate the fact that they are British citizens when they seek to rely on their British citizenship when overseas. It has nothing to do with foreign nationals’
‘To be clear, these are not people who are illegal entrants or overstayers. These are people who seek to take advantage of the immigration routes that are prescribed for migration into the UK. If they are right, and they are coming here for work or study, it is public policy that they should be allowed to enter the UK. If they do not have a judicial remedy against bad decision making, they will either try for a very expensive, privately funded judicial review, or they will not bother coming to the UK.’
‘What you have taken away are the rights of the ordinary Joes, who play by the rules and seek leave to enter and leave to remain, on ordinary administrative law points when they receive duff decisions. It is an extraordinary reversal of priorities from the intention to the outcome.’
‘Clause 14, which deals with article 8 of the ECHR, seeks to put down a legislative marker as to what factors should be considered in the public interest. In so far as it does that, Parliament has the right to specify what it considers to be in the public interest. Whether it should specify the measures that are specified in clause 14 is a different question. We have concerns about the way in which it has gone about that task. So long as power is reserved to the judges to decide substantively whether there has been a violation of article 8, which is a task granted to them under the Human Rights Act 1998, there may be a sufficient safeguard. In its operation, however, clause 14 directs attention to some measures at the expense of others.’
‘In terms of whether the clause changes the landscape, what I would say is that it will not alter aspects of the way in which the balance is struck if article 8 requires certain matters to be taken into consideration, such as the best interests of the child. What it will do is change the shape of the public interest that is taken into consideration when the balance comes to be struck.’