The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants message to MPs as they debate the Immigration Bill
As MPs debate the Immigration Bill, JCWI set out what needs to change:
- The Home Secretary should not be given a blank cheque to write new rules.
The Bill gives the Home Secretary astonishingly wide-ranging powers to write new rules. But an independent review into the Windrush scandal slammed Home Office policy-making, and found in the department an “unwillingness to listen to others’ perspective or take on board external scrutiny, which stemmed from an absolute conviction, rather than evidence.” MPs should not give the Home Secretary these “Henry VIII” powers.
- Use this opportunity to fix some of the many issues already facing migrants.
The details of the future system have not been set out, with many important questions left unanswered. The UK immigration system is already deeply dysfunctional, with huge problems in the systems for settlement and citizenship, asylum, immigration enforcement and detention. These issues need to be urgently addressed, but the Bill is silent on them.
- Scrap rules that separate people from the ones they love simply because of what they earn.
Barbara, a cancer care coordinator, had to take a second job to try and meet Spouse Visa rules so her husband can join her and their son. The Minimum Income Requirement splits thousands of families apart and it must be scrapped. Read more and write to your MP now.
- Lift the “No Recourse to Public Funds” rule which leaves migrants with nothing.
No one should be left without support – particularly in this pandemic. Rules that bar migrants from basic support like Universal Credit leave many facing abject poverty. The ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ visa condition must be scrapped – like Boris Johnson promised.
- Ensure migrants can work safely and legally
Having rights at work, including minimum wages, health and safety protections and access to sick pay and effective complaints mechanisms to expose exploitation should be for everyone, regardless of their immigration status. Preventing migrants from working legally to support themselves and their families makes them easy prey for unscrupulous employers and traffickers and means they have nowhere to turn for help. We must ensure everybody has access to safe and decent employment options and repeal the criminal offence of working while undocumented.
- Scrap the Hostile Environment.
The Hostile Environment blocks migrants from accessing healthcare and deters people from using public services. This set of policies is inhumane, increases racial discrimination and makes us all less safe – it must be scrapped.
- Reform the ‘Settled Status’ scheme so EU nationals are not at risk of the harsh Hostile Environment.
The Government is putting thousands of EU nationals at risk of facing the brutality of the Hostile Environment. It must guarantee the rights all, by making “Settled Status” a declaratory scheme, where no one has to apply for the right to carry on living in their own home.