People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 05

February 02, 2014




Call for Cross-Party Opposition to Immigration Bill


Harsev Bains


THE Indian Workers’ Association Great Britain (IWA-GB) has detailed its opposition to sections of the new immigration bill that is currently for passage in parliament. The bill, first proposed as a draft in 2006, was considered too strict by the labour government and failed to see the light of day.


On January 15, evening over 150 people belonging to Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and the Movement against Xenophobia (MAX), representing 75 organisations, met the Lords and parliamentarians at the House of Commons. They thronged into the committee room number 12 and shared their views and experiences with a group of parliamentarians, passionately putting forth their various objections against the bill. The meeting was addressed by the Bishops of Newcastle and Carlisle, by Baroness Ruth Lister and by Lords Roger Roberts, Alf Dubs and Eric Avebury.


The bishops described it as a pernicious bill that needs careful examination and scrutiny. They said something has so far been missing as the bill has progressed through the House of Commons but the Labour was abstaining during the second reading of the bill.


Harsev Bains, national vice president of the IWA-GB, outlined the key elements of its opposition and the blatant discrimination in terms of the impact of the new immigration bill. He said that last year, Southall in West London saw ad-vans asking migrants to “Go Home,” accusing the long standing British citizens but with foreign sounding names, that they were illegally settled here. One of the most bizarre actions under a serving prime minister was that authorities moved knocking on doors in Southall in search for ‘illegal’ immigrants.


The immigration bill proposes removal of a provision that was in accordance with article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights that protects individual right for respect to private and family life. There will no longer be a fundamental human right of appeal for getting the incorrect decisions corrected. The obligations devolved on landlords to check the immigration status of tenants will lead to further discrimination in the matter of housing.


The provision to provide the evidence of an income of 18,600 pounds sterling to sponsor a non-EU spouse, far exceeds the national minimum wage. (This too was under debate at the same time in the House of Commons when a motion was moved by the opposition for a living wage.) The government has decided to go in for an appeal against an earlier judgement where this requirement was described as immoral. The IWA-GB has called for mass protest outside the court of appeal; the date and time of the protest would be announced soon.


The IWA-GB also denounced and called for the rollback of increases in the ILETS requirements being imposed on the nursing staff; this would affect almost a hundred thousand nurses in Great Britain. This restrictive practice, which would harm the employment prospects in the health sector, has seen a rise of the requirement in all four competencies --- in English speaking, listening, reading and writing --- from 5.5 to 7.0. The IWA-GB submitted a petition to and urged upon the Lords present there to take up this issue of injustice.


The IWA-GB has pledged to campaign against intolerance and the climate of hate that is sweeping across Great Britain today. As the Bishop of Carlisle said, while condemning the issuance of “well-done” certificates to the UKBA for meeting the targets for deportation, “where there is hate, let there be love!”