Featured

Deporting ‘foreign criminals’ in the middle of the night doesn’t make us safer

Look at modern British history, and you’ll find that the “criminal” and the “immigrant” blur into one another in popular and official thinking. In Victorian England, crime was often blamed on Irish immigrants (“dangerous classes” were labelled with the Irish-derived name “hooligans”), and then on Jews from eastern Europe. These narratives neatly anticipated the way the spectre of “black criminality” was peddled by the press in postwar Britain, as well as contemporary narratives about Muslims and sexual abuse.

These entangled histories – where the racialised outsider, the criminal and the immigrant often refer to the same person or group – provide the backstory to more recent policies targeting “foreign criminals”. We should not be surprised, then, to learn that the Home Office is chartering two mass deportation flights to Jamaica and Nigeria/Ghana in a few weeks’ time – after a flight to Vietnam on Wednesday 28 July and one to Zimbabwe last week. And we can be sure that they will justify these mass expulsions by claiming that those booked on the flight are “dangerous foreign criminals” – a tried and tested formula.

Mass deportation charter flights were introduced under New Labour in 2001, and thousands of people have been expelled this way since. They were introduced, in part, to negate the possibility of protest – from deportees and others on public commercial flights – and they have been embroiled in wider diplomatic relations between the UK and receiving states. However, charter flights have become especially controversial in recent years.

The Covid pandemic slowed down deportations and compelled the release of most, but not all, immigration detainees. And yet those defined as criminals received little clemency. People with criminal records, along with those who crossed the Channel in boats, were kept in detention, regardless of the Covid risks. The UK continued to charter deportation flights for the former group. On the recent flight to Zimbabwe, this reportedly included people who had committed driving offences or worked with false documents.

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Featured

Immigration Rules

A collection of the current Immigration Rules

The Immigration Rules are some of the most important pieces of legislation that make up the UK’s immigration law. They are updated on a regular basis and all changes can be found in the Immigration Rules: statement of changes.

The rules are divided into different documents. The index page will help you find the part you need.

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Featured

New Plan for Immigration

Closed consultation

New Plan for Immigration

Summary

The New Plan for Immigration policy paper sets out the government’s intentions to build a fair but firm asylum and illegal migration system.

This consultation ran from
 to 

Consultation description

Continue reading “New Plan for Immigration”

HGV shortage: No parking spaces, fines for breaks and how life on the road is turning drivers away from UK

HGV drivers have warned the UK’s supply chain crisis will not be eased until facilities and working conditions catch up with the rest of Europe.

There are multiple factors that have contributed to the shortage, some unique to the UK and others not.© Provided by The i

Service Stations

© Provided by The i

Drivers told i they are forced to pay for overnight spaces or park in lay-bys where they are not covered by insurance and facilities such as showers, toilets and cafés are far inferior to countries such as France and Germany.

A recent Department for Transport survey finding an average of 18,670 vehicles parked overnight across England compared to 15,012 parking spaces.

There aren’t enough service stations, so drivers are often forced to park in lay-bys where there are no facitilies and they will be liable if their goods are stolen. If they do find a service station, they are often in states of complete disrepair.© Provided by The i

The European Transport Workers Federation General Secretary, Livia Spera, said: “In general parking areas are in a very bad state everywhere, we have been lobbying for change for at least ten years. There are not enough facilities and those that are available are in a very bad state.”

The IRU estimated that there is a shortfall of around 100,000 parking spots across Europe. While the situation is concerning across Europe, British truck drivers widely consider European facilities to be incomparably better than those in the UK.

Oly, a truck driver, said: “You wouldn’t believe it, it’s not just a little bit better it’s leagues apart. In the UK, if you don’t get parked up sometimes as early as 5pm you’re not getting in.

“When you’re carrying goods you have insurance but the company will only insure the goods if you are in a truck stop or secure pound so if you park in a lay-by and your load’s nicked you can’t claim.”

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Social care in crisis as stressed and angry workers demand: ‘End this nightmare’

Social care is facing the worst workforce disaster in living memory as exhausted and underpaid carers quit the profession in their tens of thousands.

A catastrophic cocktail of low wages, staff burnout, mandatory Covid jabs and post-Brexit immigration rules has brought the industry looking after our old and vulnerable to its knees.

But today the Sunday Mirror declares enough is enough as we launch a campaign to end the looming destruction of social care in Britain.

We want an end to:

Wrung-out skilled carers switching jobs to become delivery drivers, supermarket staff, Amazon workers, because, shamefully, the money is better.

We want an end to:

An astonishing 120,000 jobs in social care in England remaining unfilled – with 42,000 unvaccinated care workers set to leave in weeks under the Government’s “no jab, no job” rule.

We want an end to:

Three out of four homes reporting an increase in staff exits. That’s the way it’s been since April. Surveys say half quit due to stress – and 44% found better pay elsewhere.

We want an end to:

Homes forced to choose between moving residents out or closing – like Barrock Court, near Carlisle, which shut this month after attempts to recruit new employees failed.

Our Stop The Care Crisis campaign calls on the Government to no longer treat care workers as second-class staff compared to the NHS.

We call on Boris Johnson, and health and social care secretary Sajid Javid to pledge:

  • An immediate review into pay, bringing care into line with similar NHS roles.
  • A professional register for care workers in England as other UK countries have.
  • The addition of care to the Shortage Occupation list so migrant staff can fill vacancies.
  • An end to unpaid travel time for home care workers. Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth backed our campaign saying: “It’s time we cared for carers as they care for us.”

Despite skill and dedication, the average care home worker earns £9.01 an hour – 10p above the national living wage. They take home up to £18,000 a year – £7,000 less than an equivalent role in the NHS, contributing to a staff turnover rate more than double the national average.

Yet we’ll need another 488,000 health staff and 627,000 social care workers to meet demand over the next decade, research from charity The Health Foundation suggests. At Wren Hall home, in Selston near Nottingham, we were told two staff quit after Amazon opened a nearby warehouse. An evening housekeeper on £9.30 an hour now gets £13.50 an hour with the online giant – on top of a £1,000 joining bonus.

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Father of alleged jihadi suspected of killing Sir David Amess had himself faced Islamist threats

The father of the alleged jihadist being held on suspicion of murdering Sir David Amess had himself received death threats from Islamist terrorists, The Telegraph can reveal.

Ali Harbi Ali, 25, was continuing to be questioned on Sunday night in connection with the frenzied knife attack on the Tory MP, which is being treated as an alleged terrorist incident.

But his own father, Harbi Ali Kullane, a former director of communications for the prime minister’s office in Somalia’s Western-backed government, had previously been targeted by Islamist radicals.

Somali government sources said that during his time as an official in the country’s administration, Mr Kullane received numerous death threats from al-Shabaab, the terror movement, which still controls parts of the country.

Mr Kullane, who moved to the UK from Mogadishu in the Nineties, is understood to have been targeted by the jihadists because of the hard line he took against terrorism in east Africa.

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Whether freedom of speech or fairness to migrants, some principles are sacred

‘Why is hypocrisy so odious?” asked the political theorist Judith Shklar almost half a century ago. Hypocrisy, she argued, is a necessity, a recognition that we are human and imperfect and that we cannot but transgress. The calling out of hypocrisy, Shklar observed, can often be more socially corrosive than the hypocrisy being called out.

There is, however, a different, darker form of political hypocrisy, too: the embrace of ideals to camouflage or justify that which otherwise would be unjustifiable. It’s less a case of personal hypocrisy than of the institutionalisation of political double standards. And, as two issues last week illustrate, the flaunting of double standards is becoming a feature of our age.

First is the Home Office attempt to provide immunity for Border Force officials who kill migrants; second, the controversy over philosopher Kathleen Stock’s “gender-critical” views about trans rights.

This summer, the government’s story was that its policy of “pushback” against Channel migrants was intended to save their lives. Last week, it announced that, among the revisions to the nationality and borders bill, it will give Border Force officers immunity from prosecution if they kill migrants in the course of their work, so long as they were acting “in good faith”. The death of migrants, it seems, matters only if it happens at the hands of the wrong people.

Related: Priti Patel threatening to use X-rays to verify asylum seekers’ ages

However contemptible the new policy, it is nothing new. It is an approach common to virtually every rich nation today. From Greek border guards attempting to capsize dinghies full of people to Libyan coastguards, acting on behalf of the EU, shooting at migrants, “deterrence” at whatever the cost has long been the policy. It is what has led western nations to close off almost all legal routes to migration and then blame migrants for adopting dangerous illegal ones. It is what has driven EU nations to abandon rescue operations in the Mediterranean while criminalising rescuers as “people traffickers”. It is what has led them to accept the 30,000 people who have drowned in the Med over the past 30 years as a price worth paying for Fortress Europe. By framing the problem as primarily one of evil smugglers, and their policies as necessary to bring down such people, politicians and policymakers can scrub their conscience clean and justify policies, such as providing immunity to immigration officials, that are actually responsible for the deaths.

The issue of free speech, as much as the immigration debate, is swaddled on all sides in hypocrisy and double standards. Last week, the universities minister, Michelle Donelan, wrote an op-ed bemoaning the state of British universities. Where once “we had debate and critical argument”, she argued, now there are “physical threats and often complete intolerance of all opposing ideas”.

Donelan was writing in defence of Stock, a Sussex University philosopher, who has faced increasingly vocal protests and calls for her sacking by transgender activists denouncing her perceived “transphobia”. A leading “gender-critical” feminist, Stock argues that biological sex is immutable and that for most natal women, their female body is “central to their sense of self-identity”. She argues, too, that many same-sex spaces, from women’s refuges to sporting events, should be reserved for biological females and not open to all those who identify as women, irrespective of sex.

Trans people respond that the freedom to define themselves is vital. To question whether a trans woman is “really a woman”, as many gender-critical feminists do, is, activists insist, to threaten the individual’s identity. It does irreparable harm by subjecting trans people to mental trauma and giving succour to violent bigots. Trans people already face considerable discrimination, bigotry and violence, which is often not sufficiently recognised or acknowledged.

It’s a complex debate, with important arguments on both sides. For many trans activists, however, it’s not a debate that should be taking place. Anyone who believes that sex is more important than gender in defining what it is to be a woman – or who would exclude trans women from women-only spaces – is, they argue, “transphobic” by definition and their arguments bigoted. Yet, condemning figures such as Selina Todd, one of Britain’s most distinguished historians of working-class and women’s lives, or the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as if they were feminist versions of Tommy Robinson, strains credulity. Trying to strangle a debate, or mislabelling one’s opponents, is no response to complexity. It also makes harassment and intimidation more acceptable. After all, many argue, if they are bigots, who want to “eliminate” trans people, why shouldn’t they be harassed? The result is to leave female academics such as Stock needing police protection from those who identify as women.

Trying to strangle a debate is no response to complexity. It also makes harassment and intimidation more acceptable

The government has in recent months made great play about free speech. It is pushing a freedom of speech bill through parliament, making it mandatory for universities to protect and promote freedom of expression. The bill is a mess – Donelan and Boris Johnson clashed over the question of whether universities would be required to provide platforms for Holocaust deniers – and many rightly object to the idea that the state, never slow to censor ideas it finds unpalatable, should possess greater powers in the name of “freedom”.

Worse is the government’s two-faced attitude to free speech. Being exposed to unpopular ideas is good for students and academics but apparently not for government officials. Days after Donelan’s defence of Stock, the Home Office disinvited the Cambridge academic Priyamvada Gopal. She had been booked to speak to Home Office staff about the relationship between colonial history and the Windrush scandal. The reasons for the disinvitation remain unclear but, according to the rightwing Guido Fawkes website, the academic had been “no platformed” for her “racist views”. Gopal appealed to Donelan for support but received none. It’s a government for whom the pursuit of free speech, like the saving of migrant lives, is something to be wielded instrumentally, not as a good in itself but only as a weapon with which to target opponents.

Killing migrants is bad. Except when in pursuit of Home Office policy. Free speech is good. Except when it comes to government departments. Hypocrisy may be a necessity in an imperfect world, but it is also a necessity to call out such double standards.

• Kenan Malik is an Observer columnist


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Muslim group to issue hate crime support after killing of David Amess

Britain’s leading Muslim organisation is to issue new guidance to help British Somalis and other individuals and mosques deal with any incidents of hatred emerging in the aftermath of Sir David Amess’s death.

Zara Mohammed, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that mosques in and around Southend were devastated by the killing of the local MP and “they had regarded him as a member of their family”.

“This is a heinous crime and we utterly condemn it,” Mohammed said. “Nobody in the local Muslim community could believe how anybody could brutally murder anyone, never mind Sir David, who was so engaged with them.”

But she added there was “definitely an apprehension for Muslim communities at this time” after it emerged that Ali Harbi Ali, the 25-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder following the fatal stabbing, came from a British Somali family.

Details about Ali’s motivations remain scarce, although the investigation into Amess’s death at his constituency surgery on Friday lunchtime is being treated by police as terror related following initial questioning of the suspect.

There has been anecdotal evidence of threats against some British Somalis since the tragic incident, Mohammed said, particularly towards “visibly Muslim Somali women” – and against some Somali organisations.

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Chartist Magazine

Homecoronavirus

Covid lays bare lies of austerity

By Farah El-Sharnouby -05/10/2021

The Government’s “vaccine amnesty” is insufficient in addressing health discrimination against migrants

Tory hostile environment has deepened health inequalities during pandemic, says Farah El-Sharnouby

Covid-19 has forced us all to look inwards; but as well as teaching us about ourselves, it has also exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities in our society, coinciding with racism, classism and xenophobia to result in worse health outcomes for ethnic minorities and migrants in the UK. Our government’s response to Covid-19 has often mirrored these injustices, highlighting which lives they deem expendable, and which, to them, are worth saving.

Very early on in the outbreak, it became clear that black and brown people were dying at higher rates than their white counterparts. This has often been put down to overrepresentation in frontline jobs: they are more likely to work as taxi drivers, security guards, hospital cleaners, social care workers, nurses and doctors, with healthcare workers in particular three times more likely to die of Covid than the general population. But if it were simply exposure to the virus that increased mortality rates, one would expect healthcare workers of all ethnic backgrounds to have similar mortality rates; however, of the healthcare workers that have died of Covid-19, two thirds have been ethnic minorities. There must therefore be compounding factors explaining the poorer outcomes in ethnic minorities, ranging from biological – having more comorbidities – to socio-economic: ethnic minorities are more likely to live in cities and deprived parts of the country, which alone doubles their risk of mortality.

Structural racism and discrimination have been identified as potential root causes of the aforementioned risk factors, and one of the most blatant examples of discriminatory government policy predating Covid-19 is Theresa May’s “hostile environment” – the aim of which, the government makes quite clear, is to deter immigration to the UK by making it such a cruel and uninviting place that even those fleeing war and famine will not want to live here. In 2017, this was extended into the NHS, meaning those not “ordinarily resident” in the UK require ID checks and are charged for their healthcare upfront. For years this has jeopardised migrants’ health, as many have found it difficult to register with a GP due to lack of identification/proof of address, and avoided seeking medical help when necessary due to fear of deportation or getting into crippling debt, which the Home Office can use as grounds to deny their visa applications. Restricting access to healthcare based on immigration status is appallingly xenophobic in normal times, but in the midst of a global pandemic has had even more deadly consequences. There have been reports of undocumented migrants found dead after contracting Covid-19, their loved ones citing fear of deportation as a key reason for not seeking medical help, and many support organisations across the UK state that migrants and refugees have avoided seeking healthcare during the pandemic due to fear of charging and data-sharing with the Home Office.

In an apparent attempt to mitigate this phenomenon, Covid-19 was added to the list of communicable diseases exempt from upfront charging, and the government has created a “vaccine amnesty” to encourage undocumented migrants to get the jab. These measures are laughably insufficient in undoing years of justified mistrust, but also futile if those who need to make use of this exception are not aware it exists. As the pandemic has progressed and key information is now disseminated online, many migrants have been left out of the loop, often living in destitution without access to the internet, and dependent on support organisations to translate government guidance into their mother tongues. This renders discussions regarding “vaccine hesitancy” amongst ethnic minorities particularly tone deaf, as it masks the complex and varied reasons people feel unable to get vaccinated. It is, however, consistent with the government’s strategy of denying all culpability throughout the pandemic, instead shifting the blame onto the people, often using ethnic minorities as a convenient scapegoat. Muslims have been blamed for outbreaks, black people protesting police brutality were “flouting the rules”, but at no point has the government conceded that Eat Out to Help Out increased infection rates, or apologised for not securing sufficient PPE.

Covid-19 has laid bare the lies of austerity, confirming that there is indeed a magic money tree, but the government selectively decides who to adorn with its fruits. If they can afford to hand millions of pounds out in contracts for a failed test and trace system, they can afford to stop charging migrants for their healthcare, and end the hostile environment once and for all. The pandemic has affirmed what ethnic minorities and migrants in this country have always known: we are worth keeping around so long as we are willing to risk our lives driving buses and intubating patients, but our lives are only worth saving if they keep others alive too.

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Covid lays bare lies of austerity

Tory hostile environment has deepened health inequalities during pandemic, says Farah El-Sharnouby

Britain begs undocumented migrants to become lorry drivers

Critics said the scramble for HGV drivers was the latest example of the government’s “staggering incompetence”.

Undocumented migrants with HGV licenses have been sent official government letters begging them to help ease the fuel crisis – despite having no official right to work in Britain.

People who overstayed their visas have now been told their “valuable skills and experience have never been more needed than they are now” – and asked to “consider returning” to drive lorries, The Independent reported.

The letters, sent by the Department for Transport, were part of a mass mailout to ambulance drivers and paramedics to bail Britain out of its ballooning fuel crisis.

Officials said the letters had been sent by accident – prompting critics to accuse ministers of “staggering incompetence”.

It comes after the Road Haulage Association asked the government to allow more European drivers into the UK after thousands left the country because of Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

‘Slave labour’

The newspaper spoke to one Indian man who has been living in the UK since 2008 but became undocumented in 2017 because he could not afford the costs of extending his visa. 

He has been repeatedly refused a visa by the Home Office and told to return to India to reapply, despite him fearing harm from his wife’s family due to an inter-caste marriage.

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Children affected by immigration rules and at poverty risk, warns Commissioner

Northern Ireland’s children’s commissioner has said some young people risk being plunged into poverty because of the immigration status of their parents or carer.

In a new report, Koulla Yiasouma said families affected by immigration rules face a condition called “No Recourse to Public Funds” (NRPF) which prevents them from accessing many social security benefits and housing support.

She said: “This can have devastating effects for children and families and government know very little about the numbers or the realities of the lives of these children and indeed how much they rely on voluntary and community sector services to keep safe.

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Windrush activists ‘disgusted’ after being turned away at Tory conference

Windrush activists ‘disgusted’ after being turned away at Tory conference

Windrush activists ‘disgusted’ after being turned away at Tory conference.

Anthony Brown, co-founder of the Windrush Defenders group, also said that when he went to collect his pass he was instead met by the same adviser, Myles Stacey, who only allowed him to attend chaperoned, to be introduced to people selected by No 10.

Davidson and Brown say they had only planned to meet contacts including a Conservative councillor, and to be introduced to other people who might be able to assist their campaign – the sort of activity ubiquitous in party conferences.

Brown, who did a law degree after being wrongly targeted for deportation from the UK, where he had moved as a six-year-old in 1967, said he felt “disgusted” at his treatment and was never told why he was not allowed in without an escort.

“I can guess why,” he said. “I just think they don’t want Windrush to be an issue, that we might detract from what the conference is meant to be about.”

Davidson, founder of Peterborough Windrush Generation and Descendants UK and a former Liberal Democrat councillor in the city, said she felt humiliated to be turned away from the conference.

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