ONE of the key new Bills the Labour Government is taking through Parliament is the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill.

This will lay down a radical new approach to British Citizenship that will require all migrants to speak English and obey the law if they want to gain citizenship and stay permanently in Britain – while speeding up the path to citizenship for those who contribute to the community by being active citizens.

The number of asylum seekers coming to Britain is the lowest since 1992, and our systems for processing asylum applications are quicker and clearer.

We remove someone from Britain every 8.5 minutes, and last year we deported 4,200 foreign national prisoners.

Under the new system, full access to benefits and social housing will be reserved only for citizens and permanent residents.

These new measures will work alongside the powerful points system to ensure that only those people the country needs can come – and stay – here.

This will allow the Government to manage immigration which, in turn, will help contribute to future population projections and control.

Immigration contributes some £6bn net to our economy each year, so we should adopt an approach that is inclusive to those who are of benefit to our economy and society.

Migration only works if it brings benefits and only those migrants that make a positive impact in their local communities will be able to stay in the UK.

I’m sure those who’ve travelled abroad recently have seen how we’ve improved immigration controls at the airport, with the border staff now in uniform.

The Bill also strengthens Britain’s security by giving the frontline staff of the UK Border Agency combined customs and immigration powers – making it easier to crack down on illegal immigration and the smuggling of drugs and weapons.

We are delivering a compassionate system that makes and enforces decisions quickly when we have obligations to honour, to those in genuine need of refuge from death, torture or persecution – and that lets those with the skills we need in the UK make the contribution they can, as long as they speak English, pay tax and obey the law.

The Bill will also ensure a firm and fair immigration system by introducing a duty on the UK Border Agency to safeguard the welfare of children in its work; and new rules to give automatic British nationality to a child born in the UK, where at least one parent is a foreign or commonwealth member of the armed forces, rewarding their contribution in defending our country.

These changes are part of the biggest shake-up to the immigration system for a generation, along with the new Australian-style points based system, a high-tech system for counting people in and out of the country, and the introduction of ID cards for foreign nationals.