Coronavirus: migrants’ rights

What happened?

Since 2010 the Government has embedded immigration control into every aspect of life. The ‘hostile environment’ aims to make life as unbearable as possible for undocumented migrants by blocking access to public services and pushing them into extreme poverty.

The cornerstone of the hostile environment are data-sharing deals between vital public services and Immigration Enforcement so that undocumented people who access healthcare or report crimes to the police can be targeted for deportation. This has a devastating impact on an already marginalised community.


Patient waiting a doctor in hospital

Many people are still too afraid to seek medical care in case their details are passed to immigration enforcement.

The Home Office said everyone will receive free treatment for coronavirus, but because data-sharing between the Home Office and NHS Trusts is ongoing – and undocumented people have to pay massive fees for any other kind of treatment – many people are still too fearful of seeking medical care in the middle of this public health crisis.

Thousands of people are also locked up in immigration detention centres every year in the UK where there is no access to satisfactory healthcare. The Government failed to put forward an adequate plan for those currently held in detention.

What we want

The Government placed immigration policy ahead of human life in the middle of a pandemic. It must now finally turn its back on the racist hostile environment.

This means ending landlord and employer immigration checks that have fuelled discrimination and forced people into extreme poverty.

It means an end to charging migrants exorbitant fees for healthcare.

It means scrapping the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule which means people in dire need can’t receive benefits and survivors of domestic abuse can’t even access refuges.

Time-limited visas must be automatically extended.

And everyone locked up in immigration detention centres during a public health emergency must be urgently released.

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