Following its third reading on 6 May 2014, the Immigration Bill cleared the House of Lords.
Some significant and positive progress was seen in the House of Lords, in part due to campaigning by organisations such as the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA), of which Penningtons Manches LLP is a member.
First, peers agreed to an important amendment, which would enable a child, who was born before 1 July 2006 to an immigrant mother who was not married to the natural father (who was either a British citizen or had settled status) at the time of the birth to automatically become a British citizen. Children born after 1 July 2006 and out of wedlock already have the rights provided by this proposed amendment.
A second was the addition of a clause to provide legal guardians for trafficked children.
Another was an amendment requiring a joint select committee to carry out a review before the Home Secretary could be given power to revoke British citizenship where it would render someone stateless. However, on 7 May 2014, MPs agreed by a majority that, in regards to revoking the British citizenship of a foreign-born individual who holds only British citizenship and whose conduct is deemed "seriously prejudicial" to the UK, such power could be used only if there were "reasonable grounds" to believe the individual could become a citizen elsewhere.
Other changes made to the Bill in April included placing a maximum time limit during which certain persons can be held in “pre-departure detention”. This is 28 days for families with children and 24 hours in the case of unaccompanied children.
The parliamentary ping pong stage therefore continues with the Bill now being sent back to the House of Lords, which will decide whether to accept or to overturn the changes. It is likely that the Bill will remain in the ping pong stage into the next session of Parliament.
Should you have any concerns about the Bill, which you would like us to raise, please contact a member of our team.
Written by Pat Saini and Rachel Lane.