In response to a comment left on my last post, I should make it clear that the concession as it stands in Hansard only applies to people currently in the UK who leave before 1 October 2008. This really does not make sense as it penalises those who have already left under legal advice, like the boyfriend of Manu in the comment. I would expect there to be changes to take account of this, but with the Home Office it is never safe to assume that commonsense will prevail. If there are any changes, I’ll post about it.
For convenience, the concession reads as follows:
“A number of people have, however, suggested that we will achieve our aims better if we give people who are currently here illegally a chance to leave before the new rules are applied to them. We have listened to their argument and reflected on it, and we agree with them. I can announce that we will not apply the provisions in new paragraph 327B of the Immigration Rules to anyone currently in the United Kingdom who leaves the country voluntarily before 1 October 2008. Those people will be able to apply to come back without being automatically refused under these provisions, although it is possible that they will be refused under other parts of the Immigration Rules.
I emphasise that that does not mean that those people will automatically be allowed to come back. They will need to meet all the other requirements of the Immigration Rules. The BIA will also, as now, have the discretion to refuse them if they contrive in a significant way to frustrate the Immigration Rules; for example, by contracting a bogus marriage, which we know happens. They will not face a period of automatic refusal under paragraph 327B, however, if they go home after 1 October. That gives those who are currently here illegally a clear incentive to go home and, as I mentioned earlier, it promotes the Government’s objectives. We cannot withdraw the Immigration Rules in order to make the change, as I have outlined, since many of them are already in force. The change will therefore take effect as a time-limited concession outside the rules. I hope that noble Lords will find themselves able to support that concession.”