UK moves to toughen immigration law

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The British government has introduced new controversial measures to limit illegal immigration amid concerns of discrimination by human rights activists.

The government launched its Immigration Bill on Thursday that will require immigration checks to accompany housing applications and healthcare access in a bid to make it easier to remove illegal immigrants and limit their access to state-funded services.

The bill forces landlords to check on the immigration status of their tenants while temporary migrants from outside the European Union, including students, will have to pay a levy to use national services including the National Health Service (NHS).

This comes as lawyers and human rights campaigners have censured the bill, saying it sets the stage for legal racial discrimination against immigrants.

“Checking immigration status is complicated so landlords may shy away from letting to anyone who they believe not to be British,” said Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice at the Chartered Institute of Housing.

“Discrimination laws will not protect these people.”

Meanwhile, charity Doctors of the World said requiring non-permanent immigrants to pay for the health service does not limit what the government calls “health tourism” as nothing of the sort exists in UK.

“Migrants don’t come here to see a dentist. They come to work and provide for their families, or to seek protection from persecution,” the charity said.

The new law will also restrict illegal immigrants’ access to bank accounts.

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