An immigration lawyer reviews Paddington 2: life in the hostile environment

‘An immigration lawyer reviews Paddington 2: life in the hostile environment’ is a blog written by Colin Yeo on the 13th November 2017. Having looked at various immigration blogs over the past month or so, I am intrigued in widening my knowledge and looking at the range of subtopics within Migration law. By giving myself a range of choices between blogs, I have decided to read Colin Yeo’s blog further to give me a clearer insight about the key elements further explored in the blog.

This blog goes on to speak about the Paddington 2 film, though there has been plenty of disbeliefs about the scenes that occurred throughout the movie, Colin still managed to hold in his thought and watch the movie then go ahead and speak up about his own views of the matter.

As an immigration Lawyer, Colin Yeo was able to tell us that that the portrayal of life in the UK as an illegal immigrant in Paddington 2 was ‘utterly unreal’.

Though many disbeliefs did exist, Colin still thought that it would be kind to start with the bits of the film that he believes that film maker did get right.

The application fee is a costly procedure and would have required Paddington to save over six times as much as he does for the pop-up book around which the plot revolves. Also for that application to succeed, he would need to prove that Aunt Lucy “as a result of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks” and that there is no-one in Peru to provide such care or it is not affordable.

It has been outlines that every day, inhuman immigration rules are creating the most unimaginable pain and suffering for many migrant families around the UK.

By simply remaining in the UK, that is classed as a criminal offense. It is also mentioned that anything Paddington does over and above breathing attracts additional criminal and civil penalties. These affects not only Paddington himself, but also those who come into contract with him.

We are then informed that Paddington gets a job. He tries his hand as a barber then as a window cleaner. As of 12 July 2016, Paddington is committing a criminal offence by working, under section 26A of the Immigration Act 1971, as amended by the Immigration Act 2016.

These are classic cash in hand jobs, which is uncharacteristically savvy of the young bear. Keeping his money in a large jar is a wise move. Were Paddington to attempt to bank his hard earned cash, the bank or building society would, under obligations imposed by the Immigration Act 2014, have to check his immigration status before opening a new account. From 1 January 2018 any existing account Paddington had already set up would also be at risk of closure. The money he earns could be frozen and seized.


Paddington’s window cleaning business was clearly self-employed in nature. His work as a barber, however brief, would be regarded by the authorities as employed work. This is a real problem for the unfortunate shop owner, who faces a fine of up to £20,000. We have been told that Colin has come across several cases in my own work where a migrant was “encountered” in a shop, claiming to be minding the till temporarily or just hanging out with friends, but where a hefty civil penalty was imposed on the employer anyway.

Paddington lodges with the Browns in their elegant home at 32 Windsor Gardens. If Paddington pays any contribution towards his accommodation – perhaps a share of the weekly shopping, or even payment in marmalade – that would bring these living arrangements within the “right to rent” scheme created by the Immigration Act 2014. The Brown family would face a civil penalty of up to £5,000 for allowing Paddington to live with them, and could even be prosecuted if they knew about or “had reasonable cause” to know about his unlawful immigration status.

Finally, we see Paddington have a brush with the law. His immigration status would be one of the first things police officers would check, under Operation Nexus. Under this joint working operation between police and immigration officials, even victims of crime have been threatened with removal. As a defendant in a trial, as of 13 November 2017 Paddington will need to provide his nationality or face further criminal charges.

Paddington is destined to end his time in the UK as a Foreign National Offender. Any sentence of 12 months or over attracts automatic deportation. In prison, he would be constantly badgered by immigration officials to agree to an early removal.

It was stated that after all he would have gone through, early removal from the UK’s hostile environment back to Darkest Peru would seem like a very attractive option.

Reading this blog, it kind of hit me and I had to think once more about the struggles that people in the UK, so close to me are suffering in their day to day lives. How can you be expected to stay alive yet it is illegal to rent? To work? Where are the human rights? I understand that the country can’t have random immigrant acting as legal immigrants, but these individuals are not even given the opportunity to appeal or do anything to make them a part of a legal society. Heart-breaking.

The law terminology in this blog was very informative as has made me more curious about some of the terms used, which led me in researching further beyond this blog. It was also a good length yet not too short, which made it an enjoyable read.

Finally there was a fair amount of back up in this blog which made it stand out to me as it came across as very legitimate.


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