Immigration – Government action
UK Government actions
- In June 2020, the UK Government published guidance on identifying risks in detention during the coronavirus pandemic and caring for those who are vulnerable to COVID-19 – this followed guidance first published in March 2020 on preventing and controlling COVID-19.
- The UK Government significantly reduced the detained population, in response to the pandemic and following a legal challenge, from 1,278 detainees at the end of December 2019 to 313 at the start of May 2020.
- 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 March 2020, the Windrush Lessons Learned Review conducted independently by Wendy Williams was published – the UK Government pledged to implement its findings in full in June 2020, and in July 2020 the UK Government updated the House of Commons on progress made in response the Review.
- In September 2019 the UK Government responded to the Home Affairs Committee inquiry on immigration detention, committing to review how people at risk of harm in detention are identified, recruit and train additional caseworkers, and increase transparency in reports on deaths in detention.
- In May 2019 the UK Government revised its guidance on age assessments to help ensure that migrant children are not detained as adults.
- In February 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 and abuse.
- 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 – the pilot is part of a series of alternatives to detention the Home Office agreed to develop in response to the follow-up review of ‘adults at risk’.
- 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 (following the introduction of mandatory checks in the Immigration Act 2014) and this formed part of a wider series of policies to increase checks on a migrant’s immigration status.
- The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015 introduced a charge for overseas visitors (except non-EEA or Swiss visitors) of 150% of the NHS national tariff and a further amendment in 2017 required hospitals to withhold non-urgent services until payment was made in full.
Read our assessment of the UK Government’s progress on immigration.
The assessment was made based on the evidence available up to 15/09/2020