Does the Home Office’s Hostile Environment Policy justify their failure to uphold the Law?

The Home Office has developed a Hostile Environment Policy to make life very burdensome for current and new migrants who wish to remain or enter the UK unlawfully. The Home Office believes this can be achieved by limiting access to essential needs and services, for example, the right to work, the right to rent, the right to a driving licence, the right to a bank account and the right to medical healthcare. Through this Hostile Environment Policy approach, the Home Office’s aim is to put an unlawful migrant in a position with little option other than to either leave the UK or submit an immigration and visa application for lawful status in the UK. However, the Home Office has abused its power as a public interest body by applying the Hostile Environment Policy to not only lawful residents but also on vulnerable persons who the UK immigration law is designed to protect. A notable example is the Home Secretary deporting Samim Bigzad to Afghanistan defying both its own policy to protect him as an asylum seeker and legal court orders holding her in contempt of court.    

What is the Hostile Environment Policy?

The Home Office has developed a Hostile Environment Policy to make life very burdensome for current and new migrants who wish to remain or enter the UK unlawfully. The Home Office believes this can be achieved by limiting access to essential needs and services, for example, the right to work, the right to rent, the right to a driving licence, the right to a bank account and the right to medical healthcare. Through this Hostile Environment Policy approach, the Home Office’s aim is to put an unlawful migrant in a position with little option other than to either leave the UK or submit an immigration and visa application for lawful status in the UK.

Abuse of Power by the Home Office in exercising the Hostile Environment Policy

The Home Office has abused its power as a public interest body by applying the Hostile Environment Policy to not only lawful residents but also on vulnerable persons who the UK immigration law is designed to protect.

Notable examples of the Home Office’s abuse of power in applying the Hostile Environment Policy are:

  • The case of Samim Bigzad: an Afghan asylum seeker entered the UK to escape from the Taliban. The Home Office decided to deport him to Afghanistan. Once he arrived to Istanbul to get a plane to Kabul, 3 consecutive court orders were made in the UK preventing his removal from the UK. Despite these court orders, the Home Office ignored the court orders and proceeded to put him on a plane from Istanbul to Kabul. Due to these serious breaches of court orders, the Home Secretary may be held liable for contempt of court, which is punishable by imprisonment.
  • The case of Haruko Tomioka: a Japanese national living in the UK lawfully with her Polish husband (EU national) and children was a victim of the Hostile Environment Policy. The Home Office decided to deport her despite informing the Home Office staff on countless occasions that she is in the UK lawfully as a wife of an EU national. The Home Office ignored her and had her driving license revoked, child benefit stopped and threatened her with deportation. After two years of this nightmare, Haruko was informed by a member of the Home Office’s Returns Preparations Team that she was correct and that she will not be deported.

These are some notorious examples of a clear abuse of power by the Home Office in applying the Hostile Environment Policy. Unreasonable delays on a migrant’s application are also an example of an abuse of power by the Home Office. It is important that a migrant in the UK is not subjected to unlawful and unfair treatment about their immigration status in the UK and is not subjected to such inappropriate exercise of the Home Office’s Hostile Environment Policy. If you feel that you are or have been treated unlawfully or unfairly by the Home Office or that your immigration and visa application has been excessively delayed, you should seek advice from our specialist immigration solicitors and barristers to ensure that your human rights and status in the UK is protected.

How to challenge the Home Office’s unlawful and unfair exercise of the Hostile Environment Policy

The Home Office can be challenged as to their exercise of the Hostile Environment Policy if their actions are either: (a) contrary to their own immigration policy and/or or the law; or (b) unreasonable and unfair so as to make any decisions they had made perverse.

The Home Office, as a public body, has a public interest duty to ensure that it acts in an entirely fair and just manner and that any actions of the Home Office are proportionately exercised taking into account all the circumstances of the case and the migrant’s human rights. The common form of challenging the Home Office’s unlawful and unfair exercise of the Hostile Environment Policy is by Judicial Review.

In addition to a Judicial Review claim, there are other very useful non-judicial methods of pressuring the Home Office to realise its mistakes and rectify their own wrongdoings. These are by:

  • Contacting your local MP to intervene and demand a response from the Home Office;
  • Starting a petition and acquiring a large number of signatories against the abuse of power by the Home Office in applying the Hostile Environment Policy;
  • Use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook to see if there are other similar cases of abuse of power experienced by other persons at the hands of the Home Office in applying the Hostile Environment Policy; and
  • Speaking to journalists and leading newspaper companies whether they would be interested in writing a story about the abuse of power you have experienced at the hands of the Home Office in applying the Hostile Environment Policy;

If the Home Office realise their mistakes and reverse their decision at an early stage, this would save the migrant significant costs and expense in pursuing the entire Judicial Review process to achieve a favourable outcome. Our immigration solicitors and barristers work to devise a successful strategy to ensure that a migrant achieves a favourable outcome at the lowest possible cost. If you feel that you are or have been treated unlawfully or unfairly by the Home Office or that your immigration and visa application has been excessively delayed, you should seek advice from our specialist immigration solicitors and barristers to ensure that your human rights and status in the UK is protected.

Using Legal Representation to Challenge the Home Office’s unlawful exercise of the Hostile Environment Policy

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to challenge the Home Office’s unlawful exercise of the Hostile Environment Policy.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully challenging the Home Office’s unlawful exercise of the Hostile Environment Policy

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

Call Now Button search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close