The Home Office has revealed proposals to use a new Government Bill to simplify immigration law.
The move follows a consultation on plans to replace all the Immigration Acts since the early 1970s with a single piece of legislation.
The consultation, which began on 6 June 2007, received positive feedback from 64% of respondents, backing the Border and Immigration Agency’s (BIA) commitment to “transparency, clarity, predictability and the use of plain English”.
The new Immigration Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech last month and form part of the biggest immigration policy overhaul in history, including the introduction of the points based system in 2008.
The Bill will clearly distinguish between temporary and permanent UK residents, laying out exactly what rights people can expect and how they can earn citizenship.
Borders and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said:
“We are currently undertaking the biggest reform of our immigration system for 40 years.
“Over the next eighteen months we will introduce our Australian-style points based system for workers, roll out our e-borders programme to count people in and out of the country and require ID cards for foreign nationals. Our legislation must be able to adapt to these changes and the challenges they bring.
“Since the introduction of the initial Immigration Act in 1971 the world has changed dramatically. Now more than ever our laws must be clear – people must speak our language, obey our rules, and pay their taxes.”
There have been ten new Acts, with the latest being the UK Borders Act 2007, plus a raft of statutory instruments, guidelines and instructions since the 1971 Act.
Respondents to the consultation asked for a number of issues to be addressed by the new legislation, including improved access to rules; reduced waiting times, improved data sharing; and joined up legislation with other departments.
The Home Office will carry out a detailed analysis of existing laws, and will consult with the public on more specific proposals for legislation. A draft Bill will be published for pre-legislative scrutiny in 2008.
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