The hostile environment

‘The hostile environment’ is a blog written by Colin Yeo on the 29th May 2017. Having discussed the topic of this blog in last week’s seminar, it has intrigued me in further researching the topic of the hostile environment

This blog speak about a package of measures for migrants, also called ‘the hostile environment’, which has been designed to make life for an individual, who without permission trying to enter the UK difficult, or if already living in the UK, so difficult that they voluntarily leave. Colin Yeo identifies the key aim of ‘the hostile environment’ in his blog as an intention to reduce inward migration and increase outward migration.

Measures the hostile environment includes is the limit to access work; housing; health care; bank accounts and to reduce and restrict rights of appeal against Home Office decisions. Via the Immigration Act 2014 the majority of these proposals became law, and have since then also been followed and tightened under the Immigration Act 2016. It is understandable for a country to have rules and regulations to follow so that the country can remain tidy and have the access of these measures to its own citizens, but if these individuals are already in the country they cannot exactly be living on the streets can they? So why not at least consider part time employment for them to afford at least a meal a day?

Administrative measures have also been introduces to help bring across tougher immigration rules on issues such as overstaying. Steep increases to fees for immigration application have also been introduced which appears to be deliberate intended to m=encourage migrants to leave the UK.

Having said that, it is not like illegal entry or overstaying were not previously criminal offences; under the Immigration Act 1971 being knowingly unlawfully present in the UK or breaching the conditions of a visa are criminal offences. Convictions have steeply declines since a peak in 2005, however, the prosecutions have levelled out at around 500-600 per year. Colin Yeo has mentioned that the Home office and/or police have neither the resources nor the will to enforce existing immigration laws. This has resulted in a decrease in the number of enforced removals of immigration offenders.

Not only does the hostile environment criminalise behaviour that is already criminal, but also criminalises private individuals and entities who fail to abide by the immigration laws in their dealings with other members of the public.

In May 12th, Theresa May came up with the ‘Hostile environment’ term, which stands for ‘dangerous and violent’. For example living and working in a ‘hostile environment’ might be given to journalists visiting a war zone. It has been stated that the reason for all this is to stop people thinking that they can come to Britain and overstay because they’re able to access everything they need.

Employers, landlords, colleges, universities, banks, building societies, doctors and local government all have to run immigration status checks, incentivised by statutory duties, civil fines and criminal offences.

Various problems can and do cause migrants to become unlawful citizens. These include forgetting to answer one of the many questions on the form; smiling too much in your passport photo and applying one day late for an extension of your visa.

Access to employment, access to love, access to housing, access to health, access to banking, access to roads are all illegal to unlawful immigrants, giving practically no reason to live because they do not have the funds to buy a basic meal. This is astonishing.

The cost of immigration appeals have also been on the rise, where the actual cost of an application actually costs £252, individuals are required to pay £2,297 to an indefinite leave to remain application in 2017. Where are people supposed to get this kind of money from having impose such harsh rules on them?

Due to the difficulty that is purposely created in allowing one to become a British citizen, there is almost double the number of voluntary returns in comparison to enforced return.

Reading this blog, I was put through lots of different emotions. Understanding both sides, where the country wants to make sure its country remains tidy and regulated, but also for individual who want to create a better life for themselves and their family, it is tough.

It is upsetting to know that some individuals wait 7 years and over practically stateless until they hear back. Leaving their whole life on hold, from being a child to an adult and still waiting for something that is unknown whether it would be possible or not. I do not feel that this is fair, if there isn’t enough worker then perhaps recruit more to give those individuals a quick answer, whether that being yes or no but at least they aren’t just waiting around for the unknown.

This blog has really developed my law terminology due to its in depth explanations and examples used throughout. At the same time, it was very clear and easy to understand, so it being long did not make it boring or any harder to understand.

There was lots of information to back up what the blog had said. The use of graphs and data to also illustrate what is being said I also thought was great.

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