The Immigration Bill 2015-16 is currently in ping-pong stage. This Commons Library briefing paper gives an overview of the latest developments with the Bill.
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Developments during ping-pong (so far)
The Commons rejected all of the non-Government Lords amendments on the first day of ping-pong (25 April). The amendments were concerned with:
- extending asylum seekers’ rights to work (Lords amendment 59)
- extending overseas domestic workers’ rights to change employer in the UK (Lords amendment 60)
- judicial oversight of immigration detention decisions (Lords amendment 84)
- establishing a scheme to relocate to the UK some unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe (‘the Dubs amendment’; Lords amendment 87)
- excluding pregnant women from immigration detention (Lords amendment 85)
The Commons approved amendments in lieu on judicial oversight of immigration detention and the detention of pregnant women.
On 26 April, the Lords:
- insisted on their amendment on judicial oversight of detention;
- proposed alternative amendments on the detention of pregnant women (Lords amendment 85C) and the relocation of unaccompanied children (Lords amendment 87B); and
- did not insist on the amendments on asylum seekers’ rights to work, and overseas domestic workers.
On 4 May, the Government confirmed that it would accept the Dubs amendment on relocating some unaccompanied children from Europe, amid reports of an impending defeat on the issue in the Commons.
The Bill will return to the Commons for further consideration of Lords amendments. Some reports suggest that the next stage of ping-pong will be on 9 May; an official date had not been confirmed at the time of writing.
Changes made to the Bill during earlier stages in the Lords
The Bill was significantly amended in the Lords, mostly as a result of Government amendments. In particular:
- Substantial additions were made to Part 1, including the creation of new “information gateways” allowing persons to disclose information to the Director of Labour Market Enforcement; renaming the Gangmasters Licencing Authority and adding to its functions and powers; establishing a new system of labour market enforcement undertakings and associated enforcement orders; and amending the offence of illegal working.
- Part 2 was amended, including to introduce a defence against the offence of leasing premises to a disqualified person and to amend the offence of driving when unlawfully in the UK.
- Provisions in Part 5, on Home Office and local authorities’ responsibilities for providing support to refused asylum seekers and some other categories of migrants, were amended in light of discussions with relevant stakeholders.