All Articles: hostile environment

Digital-only status for EU citizens “creates a real risk of harm”, experts warn

Digital-only residence permits could make it harder for migrants to access vital services like jobs and housing, a new report warns. Landlords and employers used to physical passports and residence permits may discriminate against migrants whose proof ...

1st October 2020 By

Comment: mandatory self-isolation law overlooks vulnerable migrants

In a bid to slow the surge in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night set out new restrictions in England which range from the wearing of masks by shop workers to limits on the number of people attending weddings. These measures come h ...

23rd September 2020 By

Priti Patel proposes Home Office revolution in response to Windrush scandal

Home Secretary Priti Patel has proposed nothing less than a revolution within the Home Office in response to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review by Wendy Williams. In a statement to the House of Commons yesterday, which should be read in full, Patel o ...

22nd July 2020 By

Home Office doesn’t know, doesn’t care whether the hostile environment even works

The government has no way of knowing whether its flagship “hostile environment” policy on unauthorised migrants is working, the National Audit Office has found. In a report published today, the NAO says that the Home Office is “curre ...

17th June 2020 By

The dismal Home Office response to coronavirus: the wider picture

The Home Office response to the coronavirus crisis has been hesitant at best. To the credit of the department, it has on the whole acted to protect its own staff and the staff of some of its major contractors, albeit sometimes belatedly. Basic steps t ...

28th April 2020 By

Comment: if MPs won’t halt Right to Rent discrimination, the Supreme Court must

This week, the courts have once again found that the government’s Right to Rent checks – which require landlords to verify the immigration status of their tenants – cause discrimination on the grounds of race and nationality where it would not o ...

23rd April 2020 By

Book review: Hostile Environment by Maya Goodfellow

If you haven’t noticed immigrants being blamed for everything from crime to low wages and overstretched public services, you have not been paying attention. In Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats, the writer, journalist and aca ...

16th December 2019 By

Book review: The Windrush Betrayal by Amelia Gentleman

Amelia Gentleman will be familiar to Free Movement readers as the Guardian journalist who exposed what has become known as the Windrush scandal. Her account of what happened, how the scandal developed and why the Windrush generation experienced the pr ...

3rd October 2019 By

Still no clarity on immigration status checks for European residents

Following Priti Patel’s recent comments about the immediate end of free movement following a no-deal Brexit, the Home Office sent an email reassuring EU citizens that they will continue to be eligible to remain in the UK so long as they apply fo ...

28th August 2019 By

What is the no recourse to public funds condition?

The “no recourse to public funds” condition is imposed on grants of limited leave to enter or remain with the effect of prohibiting the person holding that leave from accessing certain defined public funds. A person who claims public funds despi ...

5th August 2019 By

JCWI: how we beat the hostile environment in court

Today, the High Court has ruled that the ‘Right to Rent’ checks, a key policy of Theresa May’s so-called “hostile”, now rebranded as “compliant environment”, cause landlords to discriminate against prospective tenants on racial and ...

1st March 2019 By

High Court finds Right to Rent checks discriminatory in landmark judgment

Today the High Court found in the case of R (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 452 (Admin) that the government’s Right to Rent scheme causes racial discrimination ...

1st March 2019 By

Roughly half of all illegal working fines appealed or evaded

The government has collected less than half the fines issued to employers for hiring undocumented migrants over the past five years, according to a Free Movement estimate using data released under the Freedom of Information Act. The value of illegal w ...

21st February 2019 By

Probe of Home Office data sharing reveals plans for new migrant database

A new report from the independent immigration inspector shines new light on how enforcement officials get their hands on data about migrants from other government departments. David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, als ...

31st January 2019 By

Court of Appeal finds that ordinary residents should be first in the queue for organ donations

Brexit notwithstanding, 2018 is likely to be remembered as the year the lid was blown on the government’s hostile environment policy. The debate about how difficult we want the lives of migrants unlawfully in the UK to be has now caught the atte ...

27th December 2018 By

Brexit: what was the right to work checks debacle really about?

Having been an immigration solicitor for around 20 years, I’m used to pretty chaotic weeks. The past week has been one of the most frustrating following the immigration minister’s surprisingly unpolished performance in front of the Home Affairs Co ...

3rd November 2018 By

A draft submission to the Windrush lessons learned review

I’ve been working on a submission to the Windrush lessons learned review. The final date for submission of evidence is 19 October 2018 and I’d urge anyone interested in immigration policy to consider putting in a response, no matter how sh ...

15th October 2018 By

Future immigration enforcement: will Brexit make ID cards inevitable?

The whole purpose of the hostile environment is to exert indirect immigration control over migrants through employers, landlords, banks and public services. This is seen as an alternative to direct enforcement the old fashioned way, through arrests, d ...

2nd October 2018 By

Home Office asks immigration lawyers for Windrush “lessons learned” as Javid apologises to victims

Immigration lawyers are among the groups being asked by the Home Office to submit evidence about what caused the Windrush scandal and what would prevent a repeat. In a “lessons learned” call for evidence issued on 20 August, the departm ...

22nd August 2018 By

New details on help for the Windrush generation

The Home Office has announced a formal application process for victims of the Windrush scandal and other long-term residents to get documents proving their right to live in the UK. The “Windrush Scheme” will go live on 30 May, replacing a ...

24th May 2018 By

Briefing: what is the hostile environment, where does it come from, who does it affect?

Theresa May declared in an interview with the Telegraph in May 2012 that she wanted to create a “really hostile environment” for irregular migrants in the UK. In this blog post we look at the evolution of the hostile environment, consider what m ...

1st May 2018 By

Windrush children: why Commonwealth citizens are being denied immigration status

Several cases have come to light in recent weeks and months of the treatment of Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s. Unable to provide evidence of their right to reside in the UK, these legal immigrants are losing jobs, ...

13th April 2018 By

Immigration inspector: Right to Rent scheme not being properly monitored or evaluated

Government measures aimed at stopping irregular migrants from renting a home are not being properly evaluated, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has found. The controversial Right to Rent scheme is “yet to demonstrate it ...

28th March 2018 By

New research shows the impact of deportation on mixed-immigration status families

New research shows that the immigration insecurity of one family member now affects whole families, including children and citizens who are not themselves subject to immigration control, writes Dr Melanie Griffiths of the University of Bristol. This ...

12th January 2018 By

Self-employed EU citizens who fall out of work retain worker status

When a self-employed EU citizen falls on hard times in another member state and stops working, do they retain their status as a worker? Since 2010, English courts have said they do not. In a case with wide implications for residence and social securit ...

22nd December 2017 By

The Immigration Act 2014 and the law of unintended consequences

Legislation meant to make life tougher for immigrant families accessing services may instead have brought some small relief. R (U and U) v Milton Keynes Council [2017] EWHC 3050 (Admin) was an application to judicially review Milton Keynes’ decisio ...

7th December 2017 By

British organs for British residents

The current Prime Minister coined the term “hostile environment” when she was in charge at the Home Office. It is easy to forget that these measures, aimed at making life intolerable for immigrants without status, began during the last Lab ...

27th November 2017 By

The “hostile environment” seeps into criminal trials: defendants must state nationality or face prison

From this week, defendants in the criminal courts must state their nationality. Anyone who fails to do so can be jailed for up to a year. The Criminal Procedure (Amendment No. 4) Rules 2017 (2017 No. 915 (L. 13)) came into force on 13 November 2017. ...

17th November 2017 By

An immigration lawyer reviews Paddington 2: life in the hostile environment

Warning: contains spoilers. And information about the plot too. Let me say at the outset that Paddington 2 is a deeply unrealistic film. As a Paddington fan and father of two young children I had no problem suspending my disbelief to allow for a talki ...

13th November 2017 By

Hostile environment backfiring on the Home Office, Chief Inspector finds

The hostile environment policy is making it more difficult for the Home Office to keep track of foreign national offenders and could even push up crime, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has said. David Bolt’s inspection ...

2nd November 2017 By

What to do if the Home Office closes your current account

Measures requiring banks to check on the immigration status of existing account holders come into force today. To celebrate, the Home Office has published some brief guidance for those who, as “disqualified persons”, find their current acc ...

30th October 2017 By