Bills Presented: Immigration Bill

Mike Wood: Surely the hon. Gentleman recognises that that is exactly why landlords can just refer the issue. The Home Office will then, I understand, rule on it within 48 hours.


Gavin Newlands Scottish National Party, Paisley and Renfrewshire North

I think perhaps the hon. Gentleman has not heard about the difficulties faced by the helplines. More resources are required.

To protect themselves, many landlords will operate a blanket approach and will not take the risk of accepting any tenant who was born overseas or who has a foreign-sounding name. The Bill will also make it easier for landlords to evict tenants who are found to be living here illegally. They will be able to do that without a court order. We should be concerned that that sort of practice could be carried over to other tenants who are living here legally. We do not have to guess, fear or anticipate the problems that the Bill will create for tenants. The Government are, shamefully, not willing to publish their review of the west midlands pilot before pushing ahead with the Bill, but reports from it suggest that the right to rent policy encourages discrimination towards migrant groups.

Part 4 of the Bill is particularly odious. We should be reminded that the immigration appeal route exists for a reason: to correct a wrongful decision. The Immigration Act 2014 drastically reduced the number of appeals available, but the Bill removes them entirely for some people. The “deport first, appeal later” policy that was included in the previous Act led to 230 foreign nationals being deported in the first year of its being implemented. I ask the Immigration Minister to make clear, in his closing remarks, how many of the 230 completed the appeal process.

The Bill will create drastic consequences for all members of our migrant community and it sends the wrong message to the international community about what kind of country we are. The Bill will turn communities against one another, extending the powers of the state to unparalleled levels and creating a big brother society where ordinary members of the public will be expected to act as the UK Government’s very own immigration agents.

In short, the Bill is about pandering to the UK Independence party and the right-wing element of the Conservative party. It is ill-considered, deeply divisive and lacking in compassion and any human decency. It will inevitably lead to increased racism. If the Bill is passed it will not be in my name, the Scottish National party’s name or Scotland’s name. I urge the Government to reconsider.