New legislation strengthens borders

New measures have come into force that will strengthen borders and speed up the deportation process for foreign nationals who pose a threat to national security.

The legislation in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 requires that if immigrants from nations not part of the European Economic Area are deported from Great Britain for reasons of national security, they must leave the country immediately, even if they plan to appeal their deportation. The only exception would be appeals based on human rights.

The new laws mean that those immigrants believed to pose a threat to the country can be more quickly and efficiently returned to their home nations.

At the same time, security for those entering the country has been tightened with the increased use of biometric information. Immigration officers now have the right to carry out biometric checks on any passenger who holds a biometric travel document. This is the first step in rolling out a new fingerprinting system for visa applicants due to come into effect in 2008.

Home Office Minister Tony McNulty the legislation strengthens the government’s ability to deal swiftly with foreign nationals who could pose a threat to security. «We are committed to ensuring the safety of our borders,’ he said. ’This is about verifying identity, making documents secure and ensuring the security of UK borders».
Separating legal travellers from fraudsters

Immigration officers will now be able to fingerprint immigrants whose identification appears fraudulent, improving the thoroughness of their investigation into the identity of immigrants, and helping to separate legal migrants from illegal fraudsters.

Officers now also have the right to temporarily detain those leaving the country if there are any doubts about their identity, or the validity of their passports and visas. This will give border control workers the time they need to interview suspicious travellers and determine if they entered the UK illegally in the first place, or abused their right to be in the country.

The legislation that came into effect this week is known as the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill , and it received Royal Assent in March this year. Further provisions contained in the legislation will come into effect later this year.