Immigration – Government action
UK Government actions
- In July 2021, the UK Government introduced a Nationality and Borders Bill with the stated aims of making the asylum and immigration system fairer and more effective, deterring unlawful entry and making it easier to remove people who do not have a right to be in the UK. It follows a consultation on the New Plan for Immigration between March and May 2021. An equality impact assessment for the bill was published in September 2021.
- The EU Settlement Scheme – established to enable certain EU, EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members to obtain the immigration status they need to continue living in the UK – closed for applications on 30 June 2021, with some exceptions.
- The UK Government updated statutory guidance in May 2021 to require officials to take ‘particular account’ of the risk factors for COVID-19 when assessing whether someone is an ‘adult at risk’ in detention. This followed guidance in 2020 on identifying risks in detention, caring for people in detention vulnerable to COVID-19 and preventing and controlling COVID-19.
- In May 2021, the UK Government introduced additional guidance that brought potential victims of modern slavery fully within the scope of the policy on ‘adults at risk’ in immigration detention.
- In April 2021, the Home Office entered a legal agreement with us to address its failure to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty when developing, implementing and monitoring the ‘hostile environment’ policy agenda. This followed our assessment published in November 2020.
- In September 2020, the UK Government published a comprehensive improvement plan in response to the independent Windrush Lessons Learned Review.
- In April 2020, the UK Government responded to the annual inspection of ‘adults at risk’ in detention, accepting most of the recommendations in full or in part, including steps to reduce the number of people in detention and strengthen the approach to vulnerability.
- In September 2019, the UK Government responded to the Home Affairs Committee inquiry on immigration detention and committed to reviewing how people at risk of harm in detention are identified and increasing transparency in reports on deaths in detention, among other actions.
- In May 2019, the UK Government revised its guidance on age assessments to help ensure that migrant children are not detained as adults.
- In July 2019, the UK Government responded to the Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry on immigration detention, partly or fully accepting seven of the 17 recommendations, including measures to prevent ill treatment.
- In December 2018, the UK Government launched a pilot scheme to support migrant women in the community who would otherwise be at risk of detention.
- From 2017, the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) Regulations required hospitals to withhold non-urgent services until the charge for overseas visitors (subject to exceptions), set at 150% of the NHS national tariff, was paid in full.
- In July 2016, the UK Government introduced restrictions on the detention of pregnant women.
- The Immigration Act 2016 introduced a criminal offence for landlords who knowingly allowed people without a ‘right to rent’ to rent their property and a criminal offence for employers who knowingly employed people without an entitlement to work. This built on measures in the Immigration Act 2014 and formed part of a wider series of policies to increase checks on immigration status for accessing services.
The assessment was made based on the evidence available up to 30/09/2021