Legislative Scrutiny: Immigration Bill - Joint Committee on Human Rights Contents

2  Removal and enforcement powers

Power to remove family members (clause 1)

21.  Part 1 of the Bill contains provisions designed to "simplify the process of removal" of persons unlawfully in the UK by providing for a single power of removal. The provision provides that, where a person is liable to removal or has been removed, "a member of the person's family" may also be removed. The Bill itself does not define "family member", leaving that to be defined by the Secretary of State in regulations.

22.  The regulation-making power also appears to suggest that a family member will not automatically be given notice of removal: it says that the Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about the removal of family members, and in particular about "whether a family member to be removed is to be given notice and, if so, the effect that being given notice has on the person's leave, and how notice is to be served."[18]

23.  We asked whom the Secretary of State intends to include in the definition of "family member" for the purposes of the proposed new single power of removal, and what the process for such removal of family members will be in practice, including whether they will always be given notice.

24.  The Government replied that the definition of "family member" for the purposes of the single power of removal will include the same categories of relationship that allow people to enter or remain as a dependent under the Immigration Rules: fianc (e)s, proposed civil partners, spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, same-sex partners, children and other dependent relatives. It says that "if a person comes to the UK as a family member of another migrant then it is only right that such a person could also be removed along with that other migrant where that migrant has no leave to be in the UK."

25.  However, the Government's response also makes clear that not everyone who falls within the definition of a "family member" will be removed. For example, where a family member is no longer in a family relationship or qualifies for, or has, leave to remain in the UK in their own right they will not be removed, nor would a family member who meets the criteria in the Immigration Rules as a victim of domestic violence; and the Secretary of State will have regard to the best interests of the child and any other relevant international obligations in making any decision to remove.

26.  The Government has also made clear that it is not its intention that a family member may be removed without being given notice: "family members will always be notified if they are facing removal."

27.  We welcome the Government's clarification of the intended definition of "family member" for the purpose of the single power of removal, and the express acceptance that the exercise of the power of removal of such family members remains subject both to existing immigration law and any relevant international obligations. We also welcome the clarification that family members will always be notified if they are facing removal, but this raises a question as to why the Secretary of State requires a power to make regulations about "whether" a family member to be removed is given notice. In view of the Government's welcome clarification that a family member who is to be removed will always be given notice, we recommend that the regulation-making power in clause 1(6)(c) be amended to reflect this intention. The following amendments would give effect to this recommendation:

Page 2, line 30, leave out "whether" and insert "where"

Page 2, line 30, leave out "to be"

Page 2, line 31, leave out "and, if so"

18   Clause 1(6)(c). Back

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Prepared 18 December 2013