Campaign groups urge new
Home Secretary to 'end
hostile environment'

A group of 30 organisations who work with migrants and refugees has written an open letter to the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel. Contributors include campaign groups such as Doctors of the World UK, Here for Good, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, British Future and the3million.

The letter, sent on 30 July 2019 asks Ms Patel to ‘regain the trust of the public’ on immigration and focus on the following issues:

Ending the hostile environment

While Ms Patel’s predecessor Sajid Javid preferred to use the word ‘compliant’, the letter asks her to ‘commit to ending the hostile environment’. It states that there is still a ‘border through our hospitals, homes, schools, police stations and communities’ and alleges that there is discrimination inherent in collecting and verifying personal data just because someone looks or sounds ‘foreign’.

Securing the rights of European citizens and their family members

The signatories of the letter hope that the rights of EU citizens will be enshrined in UK law. Regarding the EU Settlement Scheme, they urge the government to offer more support to the vulnerable, including children in care, disabled people and those who do not have access to the internet so that they may apply for the Scheme before the deadline.

Offering stable work and study routes

‘Our current immigration system ties workers to employers, distorting the market and creating opportunities for exploitation and short-term visas,’ the letter continues. ‘Ever-changing requirements make workers’ lives unstable. We need more sensible, more flexible rules that encourage long-term integration and stability for families.’

Building a better Home Office

The letter comments that the fees to access the immigration system currently price people out of status or citizenship. It urges the Home Secretary to make its services  ‘transparent and accountable.’ While acknowledging that Home Office caseworkers are currently  overstretched, the group asks Ms Patel to invest in creating an efficient and open department which ‘delivers an immigration system that earns public trust’.

We will not have to wait too long to see how much of a difference our new Home Secretary will make.


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