UK to tighten immigration laws

London: The British government intends to introduce new rules to curb immigrants’ rights to settle down permanently in the UK. This move will most likely impact many Indians adversely, who are seeking to live in the country.

The government will remove the rule that gives foreign workers the right to live permanently in Britain after working there for five years. The government will also restrict the rights of their family members to join them, reports said.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is drawing up plans for a new ‘hurdle’ for immigrants that would prevent most of them gaining the right to remain here indefinitely.

“Mrs Theresa May and Damian Green, the immigration minister, want to break the link between working and settling in Britain,” the report quoted a government source as saying.

Once someone is granted indefinite leave to remain, they can apply for a British passport. The number of immigrants taking advantage of this rules has spiralled in the past 14 years, the report said.

The Home Office will also look at checking the right of spouses of immigrants to a British passport if they stay here long enough.

Under the plans, to be announced later this year, foreigners will still be able to gain a visa to work in Britain but will no longer be able to stay just by remaining legally for five years.

People from outside the European Union, who came to Britain as asylum seekers and have worked in the country for years, possibly illegally, are also to have their right to remain restricted.

About 51,000 people were given the right to settle in Britain in 1997, but the figure escalated to a record 241,192 last year.

More than half of those granted the right to stay in Britain in 2010 were from Asian countries such as Pakistan and India, and 27 per cent were from African countries.