Could the UK’s Hostile Environment Policy for Immigration be coming to an end?

The new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid has alluded to a possible change in the UK’s hostile environment policy which was introduced and championed by Prime Minister Theresa May since she was Home Secretary. Over the weekend Mr Javid said that he would be taking fresh look at the country’s immigration policy, particularly in light of the recent Windrush scandal and widespread reports that many NHS doctors and nurses are being refused their Tier 2 visas because of the Home Office reaching its skilled workers cap for several months in a row. But will the new Home Secretary really bring about change?

The UK’s Hostile Environment Policy after Windrush

The Windrush generation refers to Commonwealth citizens who came to the UK between 1948 and 1971 in order to fill labour shortages. They and their children, some of whom were born in or have spent most of their lives in the UK were given the automatic right to remain in the UK and classed themselves as British citizens. Life for these people was fine until Theresa may rolled out her hostile environment policy as Home Secretary, which meant that these people then had to prove their right to be in the UK as the Home Office failed to correctly identify them or issue them the requisite documentation. This led to many being unable to access the NHS, work, or even face deportation. Latest figures suggest that 63 Windrush individuals have been deported, and so far only 7 retrieved.

It could be argued that the recent Windrush scandal has exposed the serious systematic failings of the Home Office that have been present for many years and has sparked widespread outrage across the country. The scandal also led to the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary and now other visa routes and Home Office procedure is being scrutinised.

The UK’s Hostile Environment Policy and the Tier 2 Skills Cap and removal of Skilled Workers

The Tier 2 visa cap for skilled workers has also been headline news in the UK over the previous months. The maximum allocation for Tier 2 CoS has been reached for every month this year due to the high demand for non-EU skilled workers in the UK and the Government’s reluctance to increase the number of allocations in order to cope with the demand. The BMJ has recently reported that between December 2017 and March 2018, more than 1,500 visa applications from doctors with UK job offers were refused their visas as a result of this cap. Health Secretary Jeremey Hunt has now also called for these caps to be lifted as it is adding further to the strain on the NHS. The Home Office has maintained that “it has met its standards for processing applications to sponsor visas”.

Moreover, we have recently written about the number of highly skilled migrants wrongly facing deportation under Paragraph 322 of the Immigration Rules. Recent news reports suggest that there are approximately 1000 highly skilled migrants who are wrongly facing deportation from the UK. Mr Javid is now said to be taking a fresh look at Home Office policy as a result. The hostile environment policy was specifically meant to tackle illegal immigration in the UK, however, many highly skilled individuals who would in fact benefit the UK who are falling victim to these stringent and hostile policies.

The UK’s Hostile Environment Policy and International Students

Many MPs have long been calling for Theresa May to remove international students from the UK’s net migration figures. This is because international, or Tier 4, students add to the UK’s economy without being a burden on the UK taxpayer as they have to show they can fully support themselves or be supported by family, during their period of study. The majority of students then voluntarily leave the UK once their course and visa have ended. Theresa May, however, has stuck to her guns and continued to promote her hostile environment and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Mr Javid, on the other hand, has previously also discussed the benefits of international students and disagrees with the PM’s views, so whether he will be able to make a change in this regard remains to be seen.

The UK’s Hostile Environment Policy and Right to Bank checks

The Right to Bank Check was introduced to crack down on net immigration figures in the UK, however, it was not welcomed and it received heavy criticism. The Home Office was accused of deliberately introducing measures to add to Theresa May’s Hostile Environment Policy in an attempt to make the UK an undesirable place for anyone who does not hold a valid visa. But not only that, innocent migrants who had the legal right to be in the UK and hold a UK bank account were incorrectly identified as illegal and faced a great amount of unnecessary problems as a result.

Small changes have already been made in this respect, as Mr Javid told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show over the weekend that “I’ve already made some changes, certainly I’ve suspended certain things, for example opening bank accounts and whether or not you can or cannot as an illegal immigrant” in relation to pausing the controversial right to bank checks, which could be a good sign of things to come.

Using Legal Representation to submit a Visa application under the UK’s 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 matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with challenging the Home Office. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications or appeals which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your appeal succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully Visa applications UK’s 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 prospects of submitting an appeal before your appeal even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of an appeal and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We 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 to discuss an appeal.

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

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