Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:17 pm on 9th June 2020.

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Bella Sankey:

The thing that is striking about this Bill is that it is being brought forward following two previous Immigration Bills, in 2014 and 2016, that implemented the hostile environment. Since those Bills came on to the statute book, of course, the Windrush scandal has come to national attention, yet in spite of that, every single aspect of the hostile environment remains in place, and there is nothing in this Bill to address that. Worse still, the Bill now extends the hostile environment to EU citizens. The hostile environment has been found in terms, in the Court of Appeal earlier this year, to lead directly to racial discrimination. Yet, as I say, there is no effort in the Bill to deal with the fact that, as things stand, we have imported immigration control into the country—employers, bank managers and landlords are all expected to be immigration officers—and we have made this country a much less pleasant place to live if you do not look British, if you do not sound British, or if you do not have a British name.

It is quite shocking that, following the Windrush scandal, this new piece of immigration legislation has been brought to Parliament without any attempt to deal with the very clear problems in the existing immigration regime.