Immigration and the Lottery of Belonging

Our immigration system is dysfunctional, cruel and in need of reform, finds Runnymede report Immigration and the Lottery of Belonging in Britain, released in June 2020.

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The report, which comprises a selection of essays from leading thinkers and policy makers on immigration, calls for a major overhaul of the UK’s broken and inhumane system. The contemporary Covid-19 pandemic continues to expose many of the UK’s immigration policies as not fit for purpose. 

From Expendable to Key Workers and Back Again: Immigration and the Lottery of Belonging in Britain highlights that the Immigration Bill going before parliament closes the door on ‘low skilled’ workers, people who have been working for the NHS, in care homes, for public transport services and in supermarkets, playing a vital role on the frontline of keeping the country moving in an unprecedented national crisis. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen public opinion strongly support ‘low-skilled’ workers in essential services - a recent poll (May 2020) for British Future found that two thirds of the public (64%) agree that, "the Coronavirus crisis has made me value the role of ‘low skilled’ workers in essential services such as care homes, transport and shops, more than before."

Contributors to the report include: Lord Alf Dubs, barrister Colin Yeo, academic and author Maya Goodfellow, Kimberly McIntosh (Runnymede Trust), Dr Zubaida Haque (Runnymede Trust), Dr Omar Khan (Runnymede Trust), Matthew Leidecker (Detention Action), Priscilla Dudhia (Women for Refugee Women), Gracie May Bradley (Liberty), and Akram Salhab & Neha Shah (Migrants Organise).

The report recommendations drawn our by Runnymede include:  

- Scrap the Hostile Environment which has caused extensive harm, including the Windrush injustices. 

- Implement the recommendations of the government’s Windrush Lessons Learned Review (Mar 2020).

- No Recourse to Public Funds should be scrapped and the ban on working whilst asylum claims are processed should be lifted.

- Introduce a maximum 28-day time limit for detention and automatic judicial oversight of decisions to detain, while investing in community-based alternatives to detention

- Reintroduce Birthright citizenship and remove the good character requirement for children and adults.

- Data collected by essential public services (schools, NHS), must be completely separated from Home Office immigration enforcement functions, and the exemption in the Data Protection Act 2018 for immigration control should be scrapped.


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