Branch Secretary : info@housingworkers.org.uk
  

Stop the government deporting homeless people!

Crowdfunding legal challenge

 

Homelessness workers are opposing the disgraceful proposals to deport homeless rough sleepers though their union branch – Unite housing workers LE1111.

 

Branch secretary Jack Jeffrey has explained “This brutal policy threatens unacceptable human consequences for people targeted for deportation. It also threatens the effectiveness of work with rough sleepers with serious potential health consequences in a pandemic.”

 

Immediate steps

 

We welcome the publicly stated opposition to this policy from homelessness agencies. Beyond general opposition we call for two immediate steps must be taken to ensure the effectiveness of work with rough sleepers this winter:

 

1          The London Mayor Sadiq Kahn must remove the Home Office from the London ‘No Nights Sleeping Rough’ taskforce and guarantee they will not get info from the CHAIN database or information on foreign nationals currently in GLA emergency hotel provision.

 

2          Local authorities that commission services must require that they do not facilitate data sharing or joint working with the Home Office or their Immigration Enforcement Teams.

 

We also support the legal challenge from The Public Interest Law Centre (PILC). We have agreed a donation from the branch and invite members who can afford to support the appeal below to do so and we encourage members to share on social media.

 

 

We previously worked with PILC in the successful legal challenge to earlier forced deportations in which St Mungos and other agencies collaborated.

 

Appeal

 

PILC, acting on behalf of Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL), is taking the Home Office to court to challenge recently announced changes to the Immigration Rules that could lead to the deportation of homeless non-UK nationals.

We urgently need your support to challenge this inhumane policy.


What's the issue?

 

The government is once again seeking to punish homeless non-UK nationals for their homelessness by making rough sleeping a reason to cancel or refuse permission to be in the country.

 

In 2017 PILC took the Home Office to the High Court over a policy that interpreted rough sleeping as an ‘abuse’ or ‘misuse’ of EU free movement rights. That policy had resulted in hundreds of EU citizens being put in detention centres and deported from the UK—just because they were homeless.

 

In December 2017 the 'abuse of right' policy was ruled unlawful and the government was forced to stop deporting rough sleepers.

 

However, it recently emerged that the government is trying to resurrect the use of deportation as a ‘solution’ to rough sleeping.

 

In October 2020, the Home Office announced changes to the Immigration Rules to make rough sleeping a ground for refusal or cancellation of permission to stay in the UK. The changes are due to come into force on 1 December 2020.

 

Some non-UK nationals could have their visas cancelled if they sleep rough. If they are applying for a visa, their application could be refused on this basis.

 

Who will the new rules affect? 

 

The rules may affect:

- some victims of trafficking and modern slavery

- people applying for leave to remain on the basis of their human rights outside the Immigration Rules

- EU citizens who do not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in time

- new arrivals from the EU after 31 December 2020.

- people on work, visitor and student visas

- people with UK ancestry visas

- a number of other categories of migrant

 

Why is this a problem?

 

Migrant destitution is the result of government policies that discriminate against non-UK nationals in their moments of greatest need.

 

If the government wants to end rough sleeping among non-UK nationals, it should end the no recourse to public funds (NRPF) regime that condemns hundreds of thousands of migrants to poverty, exploitation and abuse.

 

Instead, the Home Office is effectively criminalising homelessness for many non-UK nationals. Migrant rough sleepers are being blamed for a problem that is the direct result of deliberate government policy. 

 

What are we doing? 

 

We will be writing to the Home Office as soon as the new rules come into effect on December 1st 2020 asking them to reconsider.

 

However, given the government’s commitment to creating a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants, we believe that legal action is the only way to stop this policy.

 

 

Why do we need your support?

 

PILC and our barristers are working on this challenge pro bono. We have been given a small grant by the Strategic Legal Fund to cover costs associated with pre-litigation research.

 

However, we need to raise money to protect RAMFEL from any adverse legal costs arising out of the judicial review process.

 

We believe the government’s policy is unlawful and that our legal challenge has a strong chance of success. However, there is a risk that RAMFEL could become liable for costs if we lose the case.

 

Where will my money go? 

 

All funds raised will go toward protecting RAMFEL from adverse legal costs in the event that the challenge is unsuccessful.

 

Follow this link to give financial support

 

Comments :

Homelessness is not a crime!


By Eric Segal on 2020-11-26 15:07:25

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