Monday, July 28, 2008

Illegal Immigration Solution Suggests Bail Bonds, Electronic Tags

Illegal migrants awaiting deportation from Britain will be required to provide "large bail bonds" and wear electronic tags to avoid detention, under Home Office legislation unveiled yesterday.

Having to pay an unspecified financial security and cooperate with an electronic tracking system will make it far harder for the 2,300 people in immigration detention to secure immigration bail.

The draft immigration and citizenship bill also contains new powers to require expelled foreign nationals to repay the costs of deportation - between £11,000 and £13,000 on average - if they want to return to Britain once their ban is over.

The legislation, which is expected to go before parliament this autumn, will include powers to charge every migrant, including dependants, an extra £20 as their contribution to a £30m to £40m migration transition fund to pay for the extra burden on local services.

Ministers yesterday confirmed their intention to introduce a system of "earned citizenship" under which economic migrants will have to speak English and prove they can hold down a job paying taxes to qualify for citizenship.

Committing minor crimes or making no effort to integrate into British society will delay the time it takes to get a British passport.

The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, said the draft legislation represented a sweeping overhaul of all immigration law dating back to 1971 because it would replace the 10 major acts of parliament covering immigration in the past 30 years with one simplified piece of legislation.

"We are making the biggest changes to our immigration system for a generation, and part of that is making sure those who stay in the UK make a positive impact on their local community," said Smith.

A simple notion of someone having permission to be in the country will replace the complex patchwork of legal concepts of leave to enter, leave to remain and entry clearance.

The legislation was published as a dossier of nearly 300 cases of alleged physical assault and racial abuse by private security guards carrying out immigration deportations was sent to the home secretary by a group including the former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham.

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