Julian Huppert writes … Immigration Bill: Update

I thought it might be useful to let you all know where we’ve reached with the Immigration Bill. Today, we start to discuss each clause in detail in the Bill Committee, which I’m serving on.

I’ve tabled a whole series of amendments, to try to move the Bill back towards the sort of thing that we would like to see.

I’ll be suggesting that students shouldn’t pay the NHS levy – they already contribute to our economy by coming here to study, and we don’t want to drive them away to countries we compete with. I’ll also argue that people who’ve been paying national insurance for two years shouldn’t also have to pay the levy on top. I can see the argument for people from overseas contributing to the cost of the NHS – but paying twice seems excessive. I’ll also be making sure it is absolutely clear that emergency care will continue to be available free of charge for everyone.

On landlords, we’ve done well to force the Tories to accept it being trialled in only one place, before any roll-out across the country. I’ll be firming this up, and making sure that no future government can dodge there being a vote if they want to do this. Disappointingly, Labour have said that they think the landlord issues ‘are, in theory, perfectly acceptable’, and have even tabled an amendment saying there should be 5 pilots, not just one! Whereas we’ve made sure only one place in England will have to try this out before it can be ditched, they also want it imposed on somewhere in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and a London Borough. But we know it’s no good relying on them for any sort of liberal voice.

There’s lots more happening, but I just want to pick up one more thing I am keen to get into the Bill – writing into law our success at ending the routine detention of children for immigration purposes. When Labour were in office, 7000 children were detained, one for an astonishing 190 days! We’ve changed that – but I don’t want to let a future government drift back into the old bad ways. Let’s legislate for it, and ensure that our legacy continues.


* Julian Huppert was the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge from 2010-15

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  • Thanks for taking the time to keep us informed

  • Great work. Labour views are very disappointing .

  • As a Lib Dem voter and an experienced Immigration Lawyer I seriously hope you are reconsidering the amendments to appeal rights. The changes will push 30000 or more additional cases through the Judicial Review route and will add to the already horrendous back log of cases at the Home Office. There is no sensible reason to take appeal rights away from people who are in the UK legally in respect of whom the Home Office has made a mistake. There are already administrative review procedures and they only result in maybe 1 in 4 of those cases which should be allowed having their decisions changed. Removing appeal rights as a way to prevent successful appeals rather than focusing on improving the atrocious decision making is wrong on every level.

  • Thank you for being on the inside throwing the c**p out but despite your words of assurance the whole thing makes me feel a little bit sick to the stomach. What’s wrong with someone wanting to move to another country? I went to live in America for a while and never considered the idea that I would have been resented for doing so. Shadows of the early thirties global recession and blaming the outsiders for all that is wrong send shivers up my spine. Please make sure that people from foreign lands who wish to make a better life for themselves here don’t get persecuted.

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