This report argues that the public attitude to immigration has changed to become more positive. It says that, over the past decade, the government has rolled out a series of measures with the specific aim of creating a ‘hostile environment’ for people currently residing in the UK without immigration status. These measures are designed to encourage people without the correct status to leave the UK of their own accord as they are prevented from accessing employment, housing, public funds, free healthcare, and financial services. They assessed six policy options for addressing the adverse impacts of the hostile environment on individuals and communities and for reforming the current system of immigration enforcement:
- repealing the hostile environment
- reforming the Home Office
- introducing an ‘amnesty’
- securing improved pathways to regularisation
- providing access to safe services
- introducing ID cards.
The Institute’s interim report had found that the hostile environment was not working for anyone: not for migrants, the Home Office, nor the wider public. As a result of the assessment, the report recommends reform based on three primary pillars: new legislation on checks, charges and data-sharing; reforms to the operation of the Home Office; and a restructuring of the routes to regularisation to simplify access to support for people without immigration status. The report argues that such reforms could pave the way towards a transformed immigration system which supports the most vulnerable, improves Home Office decision-making, and safeguards against discrimination. To read the report, go to https://www.ippr.org/files/2021-02/1612883624_beyond-the-hostile-environment-feb21.pdf.