During its passage through the House of Lords the bill spent five days in committee, the chance for line by line scrutiny. It spent three days in report, a further opportunity for peers to examine the bill and make changes. It then went though third reading, the final amending stage, where potential loopholes can be plugged.
Lords consideration of Commons' amendments: Monday 12 May
Members of the Lords began by discussing child trafficking. Lords discussed a proposed amendment to establish child trafficking guardians, which was disagreed by the Commons, but the government provided assurance that the child trafficking guardian role would be added to a future modern slavery bill.
Peers went on to discuss statelessness, whether the government should have power to deprive an individual of naturalised citizenship. An amendment proposing that the Lords didn’t agree with the Commons changes around citizenship went to a vote, with 193 for and 286 against, so the change was not made.
Immigration Bill third reading: Wednesday 7 May
The government announced a series of amendments excluding references to any extension of the planned new regulations to cover the removal of family members of those unlawfully in the UK. Members of the Lords also discussed the right of appeal to a first-tier tribunal.
Immigration Bill report stage day three: Monday 7 April
Peers began by discussing child trafficking, an amendment to create ‘guardians’ for potential victims of child trafficking went to a vote, with 282 for and 184 against, so the change was made.
Peers went on to discuss the deprivation of citizenship. An amendment to establish a joint committee to look at clause 64 of the bill, which gives the home secretary power to decide whether British citizenship obtained by naturalisation should be removed, even if the result would render the person stateless, went to a vote with 242 for and 180 against, so the change was made.
Immigration Bill report stage day two: Tuesday 1 April
Members of the Lords discussed the potential impact of the new legislation on the higher education sector, particularly the number of international students seeking to study in the UK.
Peers also considered the effects on employment. A proposal to end the practice of some recruitment agencies excluding local workers was taken to a vote. Members voted 130 in favour and 175 against, so the change was not made.
Immigration Bill report stage day one: Tuesday 1 April
The first vote concerned immigration bail and the treatment of detainees at detention centres. A proposal to implement a statuatory maximum term of 60 days before an individual must be released on bail was not included in the bill after members voted 54 in favour and 360 against.
Members went on to consider plans within the bill to remove the right to appeal against an application to refuse a visa. The potential impact of the change on international students in the UK and children was raised by several members. An amendment to reject the removal of right of appeal went to a vote. Members voted 164 in favour and 205 against, so the change was not made.
Immigration Bill committee stage day five: Wednesday 19 March
Members of the Lords began by discussing citizenship and how it applies to illegitimate children. They also looked at the treatment of children who arrive in the UK and what levels of support they should have after they reach 18.
Immigration Bill committee stage day five: Monday 17 March
Peers began by discussing whether recruitment agencies should be able to exclude local workers, and what minimum fine should be set for agencies that employ illegal immigrants. They also considered whether the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 should be extended to cover further areas and categories of work.
Lords went on to look at whether people claiming asylum should be able to drive in the UK, and considered if immigration advisors who do not charge for their services (for example charities or non-profit organisations) should have the advisor registration fee waived.
Immigration Bill committee stage day four: Wednesday 12 March
Members of the Lords began by discussing a series of amendments covering the practical implications of the proposed new requirement for landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants.
The confirmation that the scheme would be tested in a single place, prior to its wider introduction, and the announcement of an exemption for student lettings was broadly welcomed. Peers called for further exemptions, including tenancies organised for the homeless, for asylum seekers who make their own accommodation arrangements, and for academics from overseas.
Members also discussed suggested changes to the planned immigration health charge and proposals to limit access to bank accounts for disqualified persons.
Immigration Bill committee stage day three: Monday 10 March
Members of the Lords began by discussing the proposed health surcharge for immigrants, focusing on whether pregnant women should pay for treatment related to their pregnancy. Peers raised concerns around the introduction of charges, highlighting that they could create a risk that women will not attend antenatal care or will be denied access to services because of their inability to pay.
Peers also looked at proposed laws around access to tenancies, bank accounts, driving licences or other services for immigrants, and the impact these might have on overseas students.
Immigration Bill committee stage day two: Wednesday 5 March
Members of the Lords discussed how the new legislation would impact the right to appeal, specifically the planned introduction of administrative review to replace the right to a judicial tribunal. Peers also considered several amendments seeking to ensure the rights of children are protected, judicial discretion, and the assessment of financial circumstances for individuals seeking to enter or remain in the UK.
Immigration Bill committee stage day one: Wednesday 5 March
Members of the Lords discussed proposals to change the current process for the removal of persons unlawfully in the UK. Several members raised concerns about how these new powers would be enforced, and the potential impact on family members. Peers also considered a series of amendments to end the detention of children for immigration purposes, measures to address inappropriate detention and the right of appeal for international students in full-time study at a recognised UK higher education institution.
Immigration Bill second reading: Monday 10 February
Home Office minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach (Conservative), opened the debate and outlined the areas covered in the four parts of the bill: removals, appeals, migrants' access to services and tackling methods of circumventing immigration controls.
Many members of the Lords spoke of the benefits of properly managed migration, citing the contribution of migrants' skills and the subsequent impact on growth and investment, as particularly significant in today's global economy.
Several members warned that proposals for NHS charges for overseas students and the introduction of landlord-led immigration checks could cause a fall in the number of foreign students applying to UK universities, damaging the higher education sector.
Other issues raised included the position of vulnerable asylum seekers, particularly women and children, and the need to improve the current system of immigration appeals.
Immigration Bill summary
The bill seeks to make changes in the following areas of immigration law:
- access to services, facilities and employment by reference to immigration status
- marriage and civil partnership involving certain foreign nationals.