A new scheme requiring private landlords to check prospective tenants' immigration status is making it harder for people with every right to be in the UK to find a place to call home, says Chartered Institute of Housing policy adviser John Perry.
The Home Office is pushing ahead with the roll-out of immigration checks by private landlords, but has still not published its evaluation of the first phase of the scheme. In the meantime, an independent assessment confirms many of the worries that the Chartered Institute of Housing and others had when the idea was first put forward.
The Right to Rent checks form part of a package of measures intended to create a “hostile environment” for irregular migrants in the UK. They are contained in the Immigration Act 2014, which stipulates that the provisions are to be implemented on a phased basis. The checks came into force in five local authorities in the West Midlands on 1st December 2014. Assurances were given to Parliament during the passage of the Act that the scheme would be thoroughly and transparently evaluated before any decision on a national roll-out takes place. These assurances appear to have now been overridden.
Nick Hardwick, the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, on Wednesday issued the report of an unannounced inspection of Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire. The report stated that there are significant concerns as the centre was failing to meet the needs of the most vulnerable women held there.
With David Cameron, and his small Conservative majority, firmly at the helm in no. 10, the renewed ‘target’ to cut net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ is now back at the forefront of the Government’s agenda. This arbitrary target, which was downgraded to an ‘ambition’ in the run-up to the General Election, is neither a necessary or desirable aspiration given Britain’s economic growth and prosperity is a result of migrants coming here to work and fill skill gaps. However, the Government have indicated that they will stop at nothing to try and achieve this by 2020, regardless of the consequences to the country’s economy, or to the fundamental human rights of its people.
On Saturday 4th July at the Southbank Centre we heard the true stories of three families who have been torn apart by Family Migration Rules. The play, ‘My Skype Family’ - a collaboration between JCWI and ice&fire theatre company - explored the huge lengths that people have been forced to go in order to keep their family together as a result of the drastic changes to the Rules.
We are fast approaching the third anniversary of the Family Migration Rules 2012. These rules continue to divide families, separating loved ones and removing children from their parents. We need your help to spread the word: see end of article for how to get involved.
In a globalised world, changing migration patterns and the increased ease and frequency with which people are able to travel make it increasingly possible for spouses or partners to be living in different countries for work or family reasons. However while some families may be separated through choice or necessity, others are divided as a result of draconian policies, as is the case in the UK.
This week is Refugee Week which is a UK-wide programme of arts, educational and cultural events and activities which aim to both ‘celebrate’ the contributions of refugees to the UK and to promote a better understanding of why people seek sanctuary in a new country. For more information, go to the Refugee Week website.
The Government’s proposals aimed at cracking down on skilled migration will damage our nation’s prosperity and ignore the vital role of migrant workers in the UK.
Yesterday David Cameron announced that he will be writing to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) asking them to consider proposals to reduce the demand for migrant labour in the UK.
By the end of the year, MAC will advise the Government on:
Have we lost our humanity? We are in the midst of the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War with over 50 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, 16.7 million of whom are refugees. Over 1,750 asylum seekers and migrants have perished so far this year in the Mediterranean Sea and over 1,776 are missing, which includes the estimated 800 lives lost in the shipwreck on 19th April 2015. These human tragedies, occurring in over packed ships crossings from Libya to Europe, continue to shine a light on the appalling human cost of the 'Fortress Europe' immigration policy, which is ‘a moral and political failure'.
Help us independently evaluate the scheme before the Government rolls it out nationally. See end of article for how to help.
It was unveiled in the Queen’s Speech yesterday that the Government intend to press ahead with a national roll out of the “Right to Rent” checks, making it compulsory for all private landlords in the UK to undertake immigration checks of new tenants. The speech also mentioned new proposals to be introduced to “make it easier to evict illegal immigrants”.
JCWI is extremely concerned that these statements contradict an earlier assurance that an evaluation of the pilot would take place before any decision for a national rollout.
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