About Hostile Environment

As part of its plans to decrease immigration, the government has said it will deliberately create ‘a really hostile environment for illegal immigration’ in the UK.

Through a series of laws and policies, it has created a framework of measures to exclude people from accessing services and benefits based purely on their immigration status. These measures include information sharing protocols, for example between the Home Office with schools and NHS services, so that data can be used for immigration purposes.

They also involve curtailing people’s access to driving licenses, bank accounts, employment, marriage/civil partnerships, asylum support and accommodation. While hostile environment measures apply to everyone in the UK, in practice they impact disproportionately on people who are Black, Asian or from other ethnic minority groups, migrants (regardless of their immigration status) and anyone who, in the eyes of the person carrying out the required checks, doesn’t look or sound ‘British’.

At GMIAU we are concerned people are self-censoring their access to services because they are frightened they will be reported to the Home Office, for example not accessing NHS services until they reach a health crisis point. We are also concerned that hostile measures are being applied in a discriminatory way because the people policing them (officials from different government departments, businesses and private individuals) are not trained or confident in immigration matters.

We believe

  • It is a scandal that every week people in Greater Manchester are deliberately made vulnerable to exploitation as a result of measures to create a hostile environment
  • The government’s hostile environment measures encourage racial profiling, xenophobia and discrimination – they should be repealed