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Ping-pong stages

The Nationality and Borders Bill is in the final stage of the legislative process (“ping-pong” stage). There were 12 government defeats at Lords consideration of Commons amendments on 4 April. The Bill is scheduled to be considerd again in the Commons on 20 April.

Legislative consent

The Scottish Parliament and Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament have both refused to give legislative consent to the Bill. The Government considers that the UK-wide measures relate to reserved matters and therefore none of the Bill’s provisions engage the legislative consent process.

A few clauses only apply to England and Wales (civil legal aid services; arrangements for removal of foreign national prisoners; and some measures relating to support for potential victims of modern slavery).

Previous changes made in the Lords

Government amendments to three measures in the Bill were approved at report stage. They include new powers to apply visa penalties to applicants from countries considered to pose a threat to international peace and security. Those powers would come into effect upon Royal Assent. Ministers have confirmed that the Government intends to apply them to Russians, further to the military invasion of Ukraine.

19 non-government amendments were approved at report stage.

Peers voted to remove various clauses from the Bill:

  • Powers to make no-notice deprivation of citizenship decisions (clause 9).
  • Powers to apply differential treatment to refugees depending on the lawful nature of their entry or presence in the UK (clause 11).
  • Requirements to treat as damaging to credibility late compliance with a slavery or trafficking information notice (clause 58).

Peers voted to substantially amend several other key provisions in the Bill, including:

  • Powers to declare as inadmissible asylum claims made by people with a connection to a safe third State (clause 15).
  • Powers to remove asylum seekers to a safe third country whilst their claim is pending (clause 28 and Schedule 3).
  • Proposed changes to the offence of illegal “arrival” in the UK (clause 39).
  • Proposed changes to the offence of assisting unlawful immigration (clause 40).
  • Various measures concerning victims of modern slavery or trafficking (Part 5).
  • Proposed requirements for Electronic Travel Authorisation (clause 71).

In addition, Peers approved several new clauses which would:

  • Provide a route for Chagos Islanders to acquire British nationality.
  • Ensure Part 2 of the bill is applied in compliance with obligations in the 1951 Refugee Convention.
  • Give asylum seekers a right to work after six months.
  • Provide unaccompanied children and other asylum seekers in Europe a legal route of entry to the UK to seek asylum and join family.
  • Set an annual refugee resettlement target of at least 10,000 people.
  • Provide a route for people belonging to a group deemed to be fleeing genocide to apply for asylum from overseas.
  • Specify certain restrictions on the conduct of age assessments and approval of scientific methods.

Several tidying up amendments were approved at third reading on 14 March. They mostly relate to non-government amendments.

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