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Home Office written question – answered on 19th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Ouseley Lord Ouseley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the "hostile environment" policies on vulnerable members of society; and what plans they have to address any systemic and cultural problems in how immigration matters are dealt with by the Home Office that have been identified.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

The Government is committed to a fair and humane immigration policy which welcomes and celebrates people here legally, and which distinguishes effectively between those with lawful status and those here illegally.

In common with other comparable countries, the UK has in place a framework of laws, policies and administrative arrangements, ensuring access to work benefits and services is permitted for those with the right access to them. The term “hostile environment” is not used to describe these policies and does not reflect our values. Key measures were the subject of public consultations and/or impact assessments before they were introduced. These policies already incorporate important safeguards, including the ability to exercise discretion where there are genuine barriers to persons leaving the UK or there are exceptional compassionate factors.

We are considering further options to evaluate the impact of controls on work, benefits and services.

My Rt hon Friend, the Home Secretary has already announced that he will review the structures and processes of the immigration system to ensure that we can deliver a future system in a way that is fair and humane.

We are considering the form and timing of the review, but it will need to build on the lessons learnt from the Lessons Learned review, which is be-ing led by Wendy Williams and is seeking to establish how members of the Windrush generation became entangled with immigration measures designed to tackle illegal immigration.

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