On Thursday 22nd October, the Government published a policy paper outliningtatement of Changes to the Immigration Rules. In Section 4: Additional grounds for refusal of permission to stay, there are proposals to revoke the permission to stay for migrants who have been rough sleeping, which could lead to the deportation of migrants who are street homeless.
The policy paper reads:
Renae Mann, NACCOM’s National Director, comments:
“Such proposals are callous, misinformed and completely ignore the root causes of homelessness. Ineffective, punitive government policies are often the direct cause of people’s homelessness. The just and humane response to rough sleeping is to provide safe housing and legal advice, not deportation.
We need to end the Hostile Environment policies such as No Recourse to Public Funds restrictions, which deny people the public safety net that would stop them from becoming homeless in the first place. The threat of deportation will prevent people with insecure immigration status, including people seeking asylum and those with refugee status, from coming forward for help. It will drive them further into homelessness, destitution and exploitative situations.
We also need to enable Local Authorities to provide this safety net. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the challenges faced by Local Authorities in providing accommodation to people with no access to public funds. Even with the Government’s Everyone In scheme, there were significant differences in local provision across the country. Without adequate funding, many Local Authorities turned people away or provided minimal accommodation.
Last year, 82% of people who were referred or made enquiries to organisations in our network were known to have been street homeless when they approached charities for help, and some members are reporting huge increases in the number of migrants with NRPF restrictions trying to access support.
If the government is serious about ending rough sleeping, they should be implementing a fully funded duty for Local Authorities to provide emergency accommodation to all people experiencing homelessness, regardless of immigration status, not be making plans to deport them.”