Last week the new Immigration Act came into force bringing in a series of reforms to ensure we have a more effective immigration system.
I welcome this law which has fundamental changes to how our immigration system works and will be tougher on those with no right to be here.
The Immigration Act will significantly enhance the way our agencies work to secure the border and enforce the immigration rules whilst continuing to attract the brightest and the best immigrants to this country.
The new rules include clamping down on people who try to enter into a sham marriage or civil partnership along with a requirement for landlords to check the immigration status of tenants. Temporary migrants will also be required to make a financial contribution to the National Health Service. For too long we have allowed foreign nationals to have unrestricted access to health provision. The NHS must be just that; a National Health Service and not an international health service.
The aim is to make an immigration system which works in our national interest and stop migrants using services they are not entitled to. We want to discourage migrants travelling to the UK purely to use the NHS.
Net migration from outside the EU is now at its lowest level since 1998 but there is much more to be done. We should welcome the brightest and the best to the UK and recognise the fact that controlled immigration can be a positive thing for our country. Yet we must ensure that we do not have a system that is open to abuse and these new laws will help to achieve this.