As MPs debate the Immigration Bill, aratrust has many concerns about the Bill and the culture of the Home Office:
Fix the dysfunctional immigration system
We see no answers in the Immigration Bill to the deep-rooted problems in the systems for settlement and citizenship, asylum, immigration enforcement and detention.
Remove the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ visa condition
Most non-EEA national migrants with temporary permission to remain in the UK have ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF). This visa condition prevents them from accessing most state-funded benefits, tax credits and housing assistance. NRPF is leaving migrants destitute in the Covid-19 pandemic and is inhumane. No-one should be left entirely without support.
The Windrush Scandal and the Hostile Environment
From 2013 under the coalition Government’s Hostile Environment policy, the Windrush generation started to receive letters from the Home Office claiming they had no right to be in the UK. They were classified as ‘illegal immigrants’ and began to lose their jobs, homes, access to the NHS and welfare benefits. Some were detained at immigration centres, deported and then refused the right to return home. Some died, and many became physically ill and suffered from mental health issues.
The Windrush scandal exposed the racial discrimination, systemic injustices, and devastating impact of the UK’s immigration system, supported by a culture of disbelief in decision-making. By February 2020, only 3% of Windrush claimants had received any compensation from the fund. It is still not clear how many people were affected, but out of 1,100 claims, only 36 have been paid. The deadline for claiming compensation has been extended to April 2023.
Aratrust calls for speedier compensation for the claimants and to an end to the Hostile Environment Policy.