A new report has found that a number of homelessness charities have been referring foreign nationals living on the street to the Home Office, leading to their removal from the UK.
The report ‘The Round Up’ by Corporate Watch contains quite damning findings about the role of charities, entrusted with protecting vulnerable people, in the detention and removal of immigrants.
There is a link to the report at the bottom of this post.
The report found that
- Outreach teams from charities St Mungo’s, Thames Reach, and Change, Grow, Live (CGL) conduct regular joint “visits” with Immigration Enforcement officers, as often as fortnightly in central boroughs.
- Joint visits in just eight of these areas led to 133 rough sleepers being detained, while 127 people were deported in under a year in Westminster alone.
- Outreach teams also routinely pass on locations of non-UK rough sleepers to Immigration Enforcement.
- The Greater London Authority has contracted St Mungo’s and Thames Reach under “payment by numbers” schemes where fees depend on the number of rough sleepers they get out of the country.
- EU and other European Economic Area (EEA) nationals are the main targets, as they make up nearly half of London rough sleepers.
- Tough policy on migrant rough sleepers was “intensely lobbied” for by Westminster Council, and encouraged by the “Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Group”, which included senior charity managers from St Mungo’s, Thames Reach, Homeless Link, and also Crisis.
The charities have defended their actions on the basis that not helping them to return to their home countries would leave them in extremely dire conditions on the street.
Nevertheless, it seems that the ‘hostile environment’ that Theresa May pledged to create in Britain for foreign nationals has grown even more terrifying, where even charities set up to care for and assist vulnerable people are collaborating with the Home Office to remove them from the UK.
I have represented many clients who were at one point on other forced to live on the street as a result of immigration problems.
Very often these problems were not because of their own actions and sometimes as a result of the actions and policies of the Home Office.
Many people now struggle to secure accommodation where their applications are pending at the Home Office due to the new sanctions on landlords for renting to people without leave to remain.
Others have lost their jobs in similar situations due to the employers refusing to allow them to work until their applications to extend their leave to remain are decided by the Home Office.
Employers are just not willing to risk being fined £20,000 without official confirmation from the Home Office.
Read for example the story of my client Aisha: How Lengthy Home Office Delays Led to a Kenyan Doctor and her Daughter Having to Sleep on the Streets of Britain
Aisha is now settled in the UK with her daughter but had a homelessness charity reported her to the Home Office, she may have been removed to Kenya.
These are truly very sinister times we are living in.
Read the full report: ‘The Round-Up: rough sleeper immigration raids and charity collaboration’
Additional Reporting in the Guardian: ‘Charities referring rough sleepers to immigration enforcement teams’
Visadreams.com, Diary of an Immigration Lawyer, is a blog run by Fahad Ansari, the director and principal solicitor of Riverway Law, a niche UK immigration and nationality law practice based in London. If you would like any advice or assistance in relation to your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your details here.