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government’s hostile environment measures encourage racial profiling, xenophobia and discrimination – they should be repealed

Zainab from Iraq

I have four children and my mother also lives close by. Before we came here, our life was very, very good and the children were in a good school. I had a career as an engineer. Suddenly everything changed. I had to keep my children safe and we had no…

Farai from Zimbabwe

I first came to the UK in 2006. It was very difficult in Zimbabwe, the people who were supposed to help you would attack you. It was difficult to know who to trust. It was very, very difficult. My wife and child got their leave to remain in the UK…

In his own words: Michel

I left the Democratic Republic of Congo because of my involvement with a dissident newspaper. (There is no freedom of the press in DRC). I had an internet cafe and they were using my machines to type. I was hosting that group in my office without knowing what the risk…