Author: Martina Bet
Home Secretary Priti Patel could suspend visas, impose a £190 surcharge on applications to come to the UK, or increase visa processing times.
Priti Patel will be granted new powers to impose visa penalties on countries that do not cooperate on deportations, under new reforms in the Nationality and Borders Bill announced on Friday.
The Home Secretary will be able to suspend visas entirely, impose a £190 surcharge on applications to come to the UK or increase visa processing times.
The powers will affect the whole visa service, including study, work, visitor and settlement visas.
The aim is to encourage other countries to cooperate with the UK Government when it comes to deportations and removals.
Ms Patel said: “The UK has a proud history of being open to the world but we rightly expect our international partners to work with us to remove those who have no right to be in the UK, such as dangerous foreign national offenders.
“It is unfair on UK citizens and taxpayers that pressure is put on our public services by foreign nationals with no legal right to be here.
“Through my New Plan for Immigration, and this landmark legislation, I will continue to take the difficult action needed to fix our broken asylum system and deliver on what the British people want – full control of our borders.”
Foreign criminals will also be able to be removed sooner.
Under changes to the Early Removal Scheme, foreign national criminals will be eligible for removal up to 12 months before the end of their custodial sentence, as opposed to nine months. This is assuming they’ve served over half a custodial sentence.
Minister for justice and tackling illegal migration, Tom Pursglove, said the the New Plan for Immigration provides the only long-term solution to fix our “broken asylum system”.
He added: “We are taking another step forward in delivering on this commitment as our Nationality and Borders Bill continues its passage through Parliament We are ensuring our system is fair for those who play by the rules, but firm on foreign criminals and those in our country illegally.
“We have brought forward the most significant reforms to the immigration and asylum system in decades. This is what the British people have consistently demanded. Strengthening the Bill through these amendments will ensure that we continue to deliver for them.”
The US also requests that foreign governments take appropriate steps when it comes to deportations and removals. Any lack of cooperation from the nation of origin would in many cases result in visa sanctions, which can vary in severity.
At the beginning of the month, the EU temporarily suspended the application of certain provisions in the visa code to nationals from The Gambia.
The decision was taken due to the country’s lack of cooperation on readmission of third-country nationals illegally staying in the EU.
Some of the other amendments tabled by the Government include expanding the types of claims that can be dealt with in an accelerated appeal from detention, so that more cases can be resolved while the person is in detention rather than them being released into the community. This includes foreign national offenders.
Over the coming week, the Government is also expected to introduce a robust approach to age assessment to better identify asylum-seeking children and stop adults accessing children’s services and legislation to establish an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) Scheme.
Once introduced, carriers will have to check that all passengers (except British and Irish citizens) have a digital authorisation or some other form of permission before they can travel to the UK.