The UK’s approach to immigration has inflicted ‘undue suffering’ and has forced people into destitution without encouraging them to leave, a new report claims.
The IPPR said the Government’s ‘hostile environment’ policies had failed, because of ‘systematic flaws’ in its approach.
The think tank criticised policies it said were intended to encourage people living in the UK without immigration status to leave voluntarily by making it harder for them to get jobs, rent property, open bank accounts, and access welfare and other vital public services.
Its analysis suggested that the number of voluntary returns which were independent of Home Office involvement has fallen since 2014, when most of the policies were introduced.
Around 12,000 more people without immigration status were independently voluntarily leaving the UK in 2012 than they were in 2018, said the IPPR.
The report said: ‘People without immigration status have been forced into destitution by restrictions on their access to benefits.
‘There is evidence of malnutrition, cramped and substandard accommodation, and mental ill-health among undocumented migrant families unable to access public funds.’
Marley Morris, of the IPPR, said: “Our review of the Government’s hostile environment measures finds that it has endangered public health and safety, fostered racism and discrimination, and mistakenly affected many with legal permission to be in the UK, including many in the Windrush generation. Yet there is little evidence that this excessive policy is working on its own terms.
“We welcome the Home Secretary’s recent announcement that she will review the hostile environment measures individually and collectively in light of the Windrush scandal, and we urge her to consider fundamental reforms to immigration enforcement to address the inequities and injustices within the system.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “The Windrush generation suffered unspeakable injustices and institutional failings spanning successive governments over several decades.
“The Government is implementing the findings of the Wendy Williams’ Review.”
Picture: UK Visas and Immigration stands on a window of a Visa Application Centre. ( Jens Kalaene/DPA/PA).