The Indian Workers’ Association (GB) analysed the Government’s proposals in the New Immigration Bill 2013-14 are disproportionate, discriminatory and not in the best interests of the UK.

The IWA strongly believes that the proposals introduced in the Bill violate European Union’s Human Rights Convention. The Bill removes Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights which protects an individual’s right to a private and family life. The Government is proposing that an immigrant’s appeal should be heard after a person is deported from the UK and that the grounds for appeal are also reduced from 17 to just 4.

The Government argues that Article 8 is being abused by criminals and its removal from the statute books will prevent them from doing so, therefore, making it easier for the Government to remove any individual if he/she has been involved in criminal activities. It will also give power to immigration officials to remove those illegally residing in Britain.

The Indian Workers’ Association opposes this proposal because:

• It violates a fundamental human right.

• It will discriminate against thousands of innocent people who are trying to maintain family life.

• It will separate young children from their parents depriving them parental love and care. It is unnatural and immoral and goes against the British Government’s policy of promoting and keeping families together.

• The Government and Immigration Officers already have sufficient powers to remove a criminal from the UK if their conviction is of a serious nature. It is only due to the Government’s policy to reduce public expenditures that has caused a reduction of employees at the UK Border Agency. Consequently the UKBA checks were reduced by 50% last year. Similarly removals of criminals have also been reduced by 13% in the year 2012.

• The Government’s own statistics highlight that judicial decisions are often wrong and most people win their appeals.

• The proposed appeal process will not be cost effective as the ‘Impact assessment points out that the number of judicial reviews will increase.

• Requiring these agencies to check people’s immigration status is not workable because each individual immigrant’s circumstances are different and the documentation they carry is varied and complex. Only lawyers and UKBA staff have the expertise to understand the documentation.

• In order to avoid checking Immigration status and subsequent penalty, private landlords may refuse letting to a foreign applicants, leading to homelessness that can become breeding ground for other social and health problems.
• GP’s have expressed serious concerns and are resisting this policy.They have strongly stated that their duty is to offer medical care to the patients and not to act as Border Agency staff. They already are overwhelmed with paper work and this requirement will further reduce their capacity to provide patient care.

The IWA notes that immigrants from non EU countries will be most affected by this proposal and this discrimination will damage race relations between Britain and non-EU countries.The Bill forces private landlords, letting agents, Banks, G.Ps and the DVLA to police the immigration status of potential customers and patients.

The Bill introduces a levy of £200 to be collected at the time of the application from students and potential tourists. In addition to this they are required to pay £10- £25 for each visit to a G.P. It is estimated that this policy will generate £200 m. per year and will prevent “ Health Tourism.” The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt’s over exaggerated the cost to Health Tourism and claims it costs the health service £12 billion every year, while the true figures are just £12 million (0.01% of the total health budget).

Contrary to Government’s claims, Department of Business, innovation, and Skills estimates that internation students contribute 14 billion pounds annually to British economy; far greater than their use of the NHS. The British Treasury will lose this income if foreign students choose to study in a more favourable country.

Many GP’s are resisting Government’s charging policy. They have expressed a fear that this policy will deter patients from seeking medical treatment that will, in turn, create public health problems. Both the chair of Royal College of G.Ps. Clair Gerada and Dr Chand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA’s GP Committee have warned that the administration cost of such system may outweigh the savings. Dr Chand expressed further concerns that this policy will cause inconvenience to all patients and will put additional strain on an already over stretched GP service.

Indian Workers Association urges the members of the parliament to oppose the Immigration Bill that is discriminatory, violates individual Human Rights, threatens individual freedom and liberty, breaks and separates families and deprives children of stability, is a disaster for race relations and is likely to create hostile environment for present and future immigrants. The Indian Workers Association would like the Government to urgently withdraw the new Immigration Bill and review the other inhumane Immigration rules that are contributing to keep families apart.

The current immigration laws are already punishing families by keeping them separated for months to years when British spouse is required to provide a proof of income of at least £18,600 before sponsoring their foreign spouse. A rule that is criticized by Vincent Nicholas, the archbishop of Westminster and he has asked the Government to urgently review it.

The requirement for non EU fiancees and skilled workers including vitally needed nursing staff to demonstrate an unrealistic ever increasing competence level in English in reading, writing, speaking and listening is discriminatory. The Indian Workers’ Association regards this as prohibiting the freedom to choose a life partner and curtailment of equal opportunity in employment,said Joginder Bains,General Secretary of Indian Workers Association (GB)