Home Office hostile environment policy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The UK Home Office hostile environment policy is a set of administrative and legislative measures designed to make staying in the United Kingdom as difficult as possible for people without leave to remain, in the hope that they may "voluntarily leave".[1][2][3][4][5] The Home Office policy was first announced in 2012 under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.[6] The policy was widely seen as being part of a strategy of reducing UK immigration figures to the levels promised in the 2010 Conservative Party Election Manifesto.[7][8][9]

Origin of Policy[edit]

In 2012 Theresa May as Home Secretary introduced the Hostile Environment Policy with the remark:[1][10]

The aim is to create, here in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants.

In May 2007 the Labour MP Liam Byrne, immigration minister at the time, had previously used the phrase in his announcement of the publication of a consultation document:[11][12]

What we are proposing here will, I think, flush illegal migrants out. We are trying to create a much more hostile environment in this country if you are here illegally.

Policy[edit]

May said, in 2013, that a tenet of the policy was to "deport first and hear appeals later".[13]

The policy includes the removal of homeless citizens of other European Union countries.[2][14][15] Additionally, through the implementation of the Immigration Act 2014 and Immigration Act 2016, the policy includes requirements for landlords, the NHS, charities, community interest companies and banks to carry out ID checks.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

The policy also implemented a more complicated application process to get 'leave to remain' based on the principle of 'deport first, appeal later', whilst encouraging voluntary deportation though strategies including "Go Home" vans as part of "Operation Vaken", as well as adverts in newspapers, shops, and charity and faith buildings used by ethnic minorities.[23][24][25][26]

In 2018 the Home Office lost 75% of their appeals against applicants for refugee status who challenged rejections by the Home Office.[27] Sonya Sceats, the chief executive of Freedom from Torture, said:

Long drawn-out legal processes are traumatic for anyone, let alone those who have fled persecution. Having an impartial judge accept that you are at risk of torture or death if you are forced back, only to have this challenged all over again by the Home Office before yet another appeal panel, can have devastating consequences ... important questions must be asked about the necessity for, and humanity of, these appeals.[27]

A 2018 governmental review revealed the Home Office had tried to deport at least 300 highly skilled migrants (including teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers and IT professionals) under the 322(5) provision, at least 87 successfully. This mostly affected people who had lived in the UK for more than 10 years and have children born in the UK. Many were given only 14 days to leave the UK and were made ineligible to apply for visas to return. The review found that 65% of 322(5) decisions were overturned by an upper tribunal and 45% of applicants for judicial review were successful (28% of judicial reviews find in favour of the defendant). Additionally the review found that 32% of "complex cases" were wrongly decided.[28]

Criticism[edit]

The policy has been criticised for being unclear, has led to many incorrect threats of deportation and has been called "Byzantine" by the England and Wales Court of Appeal for its complexity.[29][30][31][32][33][34][35] It has led to the under-reporting of crime against undocumented people in the UK due to a fear of arrest and deportation of the victims.[2][36][37][38][39] Over half of UK police forces hand over the identities of victims of crimes to the Home Office immigration enforcement.[40] In February 2018 Members of Parliament called for a review of the policy.[41][42]

Charities, campaigners and landlords have criticised the hostile environment within the Right to Rent scheme, saying it is 'unlawful and discriminates against tenants on the basis of their race or nationality', and that it contributes to homelessness.[43][44]

The immigration lawyer and campaigner Colin Yeo described the effect of the policy as: "the creation of an illegal underclass of foreign, mainly ethnic minority workers and families who are highly vulnerable to exploitation and who have no access to the social and welfare safety net."[45]

In December 2018, the first ever super-complaint against the police forces of England and Wales was lodged in relation an outcome of the "hostile environment" policy: the transfer, by police to immigration authorities, of the data of victims and witnesses of crime.[46]

Also in December 2018, it emerged that enforcement of the "hostile environment" policy in one part of the UK government – the Home Office – was dooming to failure initiatives championed and funded by other parts of the UK government.[47][48]

In January 2019, it emerged that tight restrictions on the right to rent (i.e. the right to become a tenant), under the "hostile environment" policy, had caused homelessness for some British citizens living in Britain.[49]

NHS[edit]

Medical professionals have criticised the hostile environment for putting at risk, or even damaging, people's health because it leads to individuals avoiding visiting doctors due to fears of having their details passed on to the Home Office, or concerns they will be unable to afford the medical bills.[43] This has included refusal to perform a heart transplant and end of life care for a 38-year-old man.[50] Even within its own regulations, the hostile environment has led to people being wrongly denied urgent healthcare including cancer treatment.[43][51] Research at the University of Manchester showed that the policy made health services difficult to navigate and negotiate.[52] In April 2019 several UK medical professional organisations accused ministers of a cover up for refusing to release three official reports commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in 2017 into its decision to force NHS trusts in England to implement up front charging for services.[53]

Deaths in custody[edit]

Since the inception of the hostile environment policy, a number of detainees have died in immigration removal centres, including at least five at Morton Hall.[54][55]

Deportation of people at risk of murder or torture[edit]

The Home Office has been strongly criticised for its deportation, under the hostile environment policy, of people to countries where they are known to be at particular risk of being tortured or killed, such as Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. This practice is prohibited by Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which forms part of UK law as part of the Human Rights Act 1998.[56][57][58][59][60] In 2017, the Home Office under Amber Rudd deported a refugee back to Afghanistan in spite of a High Court order not to, was found in contempt of court[61][62][63] and on review was ordered to return him. Kenneth Baker was found in contempt of court when his Home Office did the same thing in 1991.[64][65][66] Another person was murdered in Afghanistan following deportation from the UK.[67][68]

Mistreatment of trafficking victims[edit]

In 2018, it emerged that under the "hostile environment" policy, victims of modern slavery and human trafficking in the U.K. had been jailed in breach of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and that several had been deported by the Home Office.[69][70][71]

In November 2018, the Home Office reduced financial support for victims of modern slavery, but was subsequently ordered by the High Court to reverse the cut.[72][73] Approximately 1200 victims were affected.[74]

Windrush scandal[edit]

The policy led to issues with the Windrush generation and other Commonwealth citizens not being able to prove their right to remain in the UK.[24] The resulting Windrush scandal led to the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary, on 29 April 2018, and the appointment of Sajid Javid as her successor.[75][76][77]

In comments seen by the press as distancing himself from his predecessor as Home Secretary, Theresa May, Javid told Parliament that "I don't like the phrase hostile. So the terminology I think is incorrect and I think it is a phrase that is unhelpful and it doesn't represent our values as a country", preferring the term "compliant environment" instead.[23][78][79] However, former officials from the Home Office have said that "She's (Theresa May) wedded to the hostile environment albeit with a different name. It's going to be difficult for any home secretary to put their own stamp on things."[23] Javid "stopped short of rowing back from the meat of the hostile environment policy, insisting that tackling illegal immigration is vital".[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hill, Amelia (2017-11-28). "'Hostile environment': the hardline Home Office policy tearing families apart". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  2. ^ a b c "How Theresa May's "hostile environment" created an underworld". Newstatesman.com. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  3. ^ "Inspection report of hostile environment measures, October 2016 - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  4. ^ Letters (2018-04-15). "A Home Office humanity test | Letters". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  5. ^ Channel 4 News (2018-05-20), Highly-skilled migrants told to leave UK under ‘hostile environment’ policy, retrieved 2018-05-20
  6. ^ Kirkup, James (25 May 2012). "Theresa May interview: 'We're going to give illegal migrants a really hostile reception'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  7. ^ Hill, Amelia (2017-11-28). "'Hostile environment': the hardline Home Office policy tearing families apart". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  8. ^ editorial, Observer (2018-04-15). "The Observer view on the UK's increasingly harsh immigration policy | Observer editorial". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  9. ^ "What is the 'hostile environment' policy?". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  10. ^ Slawson, Nicola (2018-05-23). "Ex-mayor of Ipswich denied citizenship after almost 40 years in UK". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  11. ^ "PREVENTION OF ILLEGAL WORKING" (PDF), The Guardian, 2007-05-15, retrieved 2019-08-10
  12. ^ Travis, Alan (2007-05-16). "Officials launch drive to seek out illegal migrants at work". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  13. ^ Bartlett, Nicola (20 April 2018). "Theresa May boasted she would 'deport first and hear appeals later'". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  14. ^ Younge, Gary (2018-04-13). "Hounding Commonwealth citizens is no accident. It's cruelty by design". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  15. ^ "Hostile environment 2.0: Post-Brexit migration plans are all too familiar". politics.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  16. ^ "Banks run immigration checks in Home Office crackdown". Sky News. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  17. ^ "Is our personal data fair game in the drive to create Theresa May's "hostile environment" for migrants?". Opendemocracy.net. 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  18. ^ O'Carroll, Lisa (2018-03-28). "EU parents warned children need papers to stay in UK after Brexit". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  19. ^ Gentleman, Amelia (2018-04-12). "Caribbean nations demand solution to 'illegal immigrants' anomaly". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  20. ^ "Subscribe to read". The Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  21. ^ "Another blow for May's hostile environment for immigrants". Global Justice Now. 2018-02-20. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  22. ^ "Statewatch News Online: UK: "Hostile environment" faces criticism from parliamentary committee as new migration checks on bank accounts come into force". Statewatch.org. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  23. ^ a b c d Grierson 2018.
  24. ^ a b "What is the 'hostile environment' policy?". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  25. ^ Gentleman, Amelia; Bannock, Caroline (2018-05-16). "Footage emerges of 'distressing' home visit by immigration officers". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  26. ^ Siddique, Haroon (2018-05-18). "Sierra Leonean athlete can stay in UK after three-year legal fight". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  27. ^ a b Taylor, Diane (2018-09-03). "Home Office loses 75% of its appeals against immigration rulings". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  28. ^ Hill, Amelia (2018-11-23). "Home Office tried to deport 300 skilled migrants under terrorism law". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  29. ^ "Britain's immigration system 'too open to error', MPs warn". The Independent. 2018-01-14. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  30. ^ "Home Office urged to stop 'inhumane' immigration checks on bank accounts". The Independent. 2017-12-19. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  31. ^ "the3million | preserving the rights of EU citizens living in the UK". The3million.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  32. ^ Taylor, Diane (2018-04-04). "Disabled Briton held in immigration removal centre for four months". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  33. ^ "The Home Office must drop 'hostile environment' approach for Brexit". The Institute for Government. 2018-04-13. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  34. ^ "The fightback against May's hostile environment has begun". politics.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  35. ^ Colin Yeo, 'How complex is UK immigration law and is this a problem?' (24/01/18) on Free Movement
  36. ^ "May's Past Bites Her as Minister Admits Wrongful Deportations". Bloomberg.com. 2018-04-16. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  37. ^ "'Windrush generation' deportation threat". BBC News. 2018-04-11. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  38. ^ Gentleman, Amelia; Crerar, Pippa (2018-04-16). "Amber Rudd pledges action to resolve status of Windrush citizens". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  39. ^ "No recourse to public funds: How the UK's hostile environment policy is driving people into destitution". Holyrood Magazine. 2018-01-17. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  40. ^ Taylor, Diane (2018-05-14). "Victims of crime being handed over to immigration enforcement". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  41. ^ "MPs call for review into May's 'hostile environment' for migrants". politics.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  42. ^ Weale, Sally (2018-05-09). "Children 'denied free school meals because of parents' immigration status'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  43. ^ a b c S. Usborne, 'How the hostile environment crept into UK schools, hospitals and homes' (01/08/18) in The Guardian
  44. ^ P. Butler, 'Court challenge to hostile environment tenancy scheme begins' (18/12/18) in The Guardian
  45. ^ Ward, Jon (2017-06-03). "The hostile environment: what is it and who does it affect?". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  46. ^ Editor, Mark Townsend Home Affairs (15 December 2018). "Police face first 'super-complaint' over immigration referrals". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  47. ^ Weaver, Matthew (16 December 2018). "UK efforts in Iraq 'hindered by hostile immigration policy'". Theguardian.com.
  48. ^ Busby, Mattha (2019-01-02). "Women forced into marriage overseas asked to repay cost of return to UK". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  49. ^ "British man and family made homeless by Home Office after it blocks them from renting property". The Independent. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  50. ^ Johnson, Sarah (2019-01-22). "Dying man given bill for tens of thousands of pounds for NHS treatment". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  51. ^ editor, Denis Campbell Health policy (2019-01-21). "'I thought they were killing me': NHS trust halted asylum seeker's cancer treatment". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  52. ^ "'Hostile Environment' NHS policies are failing refugees and asylum seekers". Manchester University. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  53. ^ editor, Denis Campbell Health policy (2019-04-03). "Ministers accused of cover-up over migrant health reports". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  54. ^ Taylor, Diane (20 November 2017). "Fourth death at Lincoln immigration removal centre prompts inquiry". Theguardian.com.
  55. ^ Diane Taylor, "Call for inquiry into death at Morton Hall immigration detention centre", The Guardian, 7 September 2014.
  56. ^ Perraudin, Frances (12 February 2019). "Home Office criticised for accelerating removals to Zimbabwe". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  57. ^ "Man injured in bomb blast as a child waiting to hear whether Theresa May can deport him to Afghanistan". The Independent. 25 April 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  58. ^ Perraudin, Frances (12 February 2019). "'I can hardly sleep': the Zimbabweans facing deportation from UK". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  59. ^ Hill, Amelia (10 September 2018). "'I fear for my life': UK urged not to deport Zimbabwean activist". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  60. ^ Graham-Harrison, Emma (26 February 2017). "Deported gay Afghans told to 'pretend to be straight'". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  61. ^ Taylor, Diane (14 September 2017). "Home secretary ignores court order and sends asylum seeker to Kabul". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2019. The second [court order] states that the home secretary, Amber Rudd, is in contempt of court for breaching the first order not to remove [Samim] Bigzad.
  62. ^ "Amber Rudd in contempt of court for ignoring judge's order not to deport asylum seeker to Afghanistan". LawCareers.net. 20 September 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2019. Home Secretary Amber Rudd is in contempt of court after ignoring the orders of successive judges not to deport an asylum seeker [Samim Bigzad] to Afghanistan (...).
  63. ^ Falconer, Charles (19 September 2017). "If Amber Rudd can't explain why she defied the courts, she should go". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2019. [Mr Justice Jay] said that the Home Office was already “prima facie” in contempt (...).
  64. ^ "Home Secretary Amber Rudd 'could be jailed for contempt of court'". The Independent. 20 September 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  65. ^ "Home Office 'violates court order' to deport Afghan man threatened with beheading to Kabul". The Independent. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  66. ^ Dunt, Ian. "Home Office presses ahead with Afghan deportations as country unravels". Politics.co.uk. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  67. ^ "Afghan father who sought refuge in UK 'shot dead by Taliban' after being deported by Home Office". The Independent. 13 September 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  68. ^ "'My six-year-old still thinks her daddy is coming home': Wife of deported Afghan 'killed by Taliban' speaks out". The Independent. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  69. ^ "Scores of female trafficking victims held in UK jails due to 'disturbing' failure to identify exploitation". The Independent. 16 September 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  70. ^ "Labour accuses Theresa May of 'hollow' modern slavery pledges". The Independent. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  71. ^ "Government under fire for 'outrageous' treatment of modern slavery victims facing deportation from UK". The Independent. 11 June 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  72. ^ editor, Toby Helm Observer political (3 November 2018). "Trafficked Europeans may have to pay to stay in UK post-Brexit". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  73. ^ "Home Office cuts to benefits which support victims of modern slavery are unlawful, High Court rules". The Independent. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  74. ^ "Home Office employing temporary workers on low pay to make 'life-or-death' decisions on trafficking cases". The Independent. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  75. ^ Grierson, Jamie (2018-05-25). "Number of Windrush cases passes 5,000". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  76. ^ McFadyen, Gillian. "Home Office routinely disbelieves people – even those claiming asylum from persecution". The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  77. ^ Syal, Rajeev (2018-06-10). "Theresa May defends UK government's Windrush response". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  78. ^ "Sajid Javid says Theresa May's 'hostile' immigration rhetoric is not British". The Independent. 2018-04-30. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  79. ^ "New home secretary Javid opposes 'hostile environment' approach to immigration". Uk.reuters.com. Retrieved 2018-05-01.

Further reading[edit]

Grierson, Jamie (27 August 2018), "Hostile environment: anatomy of a policy disaster", The Guardian, archived from the original on 27 August 2018