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Immigration: Home Secretary promises tougher laws on illegal migration

The Home Secretary has announced new laws designed to make it tougher for illegal immigrants to remain in the UK, reports the BBC.

Theresa May has announced a new Immigration Bill that looks set to toughen the UK's stance on illegal migration.

The Bill is likely to include new legal provisions forcing private landlords to quiz future tenants about their immigration status. There will also be a new law restricting access to bank accounts for those believed to be living in the UK illegally.

It will also include provisions to deport foreign nationals who commit crimes after they have been convicted, forcing them to make any appeal from abroad, providing there is no risk of serious irreversible harm.

The Bill, which will begin its passage through Parliament soon, should become law early next year.

The law will also, for the first time, introduce a mechanism for recovering a 'migrant health levy' from overseas citizens as a contribution towards the cost of any NHS treatment they might require whilst in the UK.

This particular proposal has yet to be detailed, but the Bill is likely to allow for the introduction of such a fee at a later date.

The Bill will also allow the DVLA to enquire about immigration status as part of drivers' licence application checks and will require banks to search a national database of known immigration offenders before opening a bank account.

There will also be tougher penalties for those who attempt to earn nationality status by entering into a sham marriage.

"The Immigration Bill will stop migrants using public services to which they are not entitled, reduce the pull factors which encourage people to come to the UK and make it easier to remove people who should not be here," Immigration Minister Mark Harper told the BBC.

Critics say that the new requirements on private landlords will make it harder for non-British citizens to rent in the private sector.

"Checking immigration status is complicated so landlords may shy away from letting to anyone who appears not to be British," said Gavin Smart of the Chartered Institute of Housing.