The ‘hostile environment’

The UK Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ policy is a set of administrative and legislative measures designed to make staying in the United Kingdom as difficult as possible for people without leave to remain, in the hope that they may “voluntarily leave”. The term was coined a decade ago in 2012 by the then Home Secretary, Theresa May. The idea is to make life in the UK as unbearable as possible for migrants by blocking access to public services and pushing them into extreme poverty.

Do you want to challenge the ‘hostile environment’? Take action today.

No Recourse to Public Funds

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) is a condition in the Immigration Rules, and Section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, which has since been expanded by the Nationality and Borders Act 2022.

This policy dictates that anyone ‘subject to immigration control’ has NRPF and therefore, cannot access ‘public funds’. These include Universal Credit, Disability Living Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Child Benefit, Housing Benefit, and Employment and Support Allowance (see the full list here).

This means that, despite paying their taxes, with no access to public funds, people with NRPF can often be left destitute, resulting in reliance on food banks and homelessness. With the cost of living crisis escalating, our communities will continue to be affected. 

Find out how you can support people in your local area affected by NRPF.

The Immigration Health Surcharge

The Immigration Act 2014, which came into force in 2015, saw the expansion of pre-existing charging regulations for ‘overseas visitors’ using the NHS. This included broadening the group of people who are chargeable, introducing an ‘immigration health surcharge’ for those seeking visas to enter the UK, and up to 150% charge for treatment in secondary care at the discretion of NHS Trusts (Patients Not Passports).

In addition, NHS workers who pay the surcharge are making a triple contribution: they are providing the very service that they are being charged for, paying the surcharge itself and paying again through their taxes and national insurance (UNISON).

Download our social toolkit and raise awareness about the ‘hostile environment.’

The Windrush Scandal

The Windrush scandal began to surface in 2017 after it emerged that hundreds of Commonwealth citizens, many of whom were from the ‘Windrush’ generation from Caribbean countries, had been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights.

A Windrush Compensation Scheme was launched on 3 April 2019 as reparations for the families and individuals that were impacted. Despite the initial estimate of about 15,000 people being eligible for compensation, as of the end of November 2022, only 1,307 people have received payment.

In June 2023, the country will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of those on board the Empire Windrush with a series of events around the country.

Write to your MP and demand justice for victims of the Windrush scandal.