CHAPTER 11 – A FAIR AND HUMANE IMMIGRATION SYSTEM
We are committed to ensuring that our existing and future border and immigration system takes a fair and humane approach, and our decisions are correct given the potentially significant impact on the life of the individual concerned.
Refusal decisions can trigger compliance sanctions and eventually detention and enforced removal from the UK. Learning the lessons from Windrush, we will ensure that people who are here lawfully are not inadvertently disadvantaged by policies put in place to tackle illegal migration. We will treat everyone who comes into contact with the immigration system with dignity and respect, including implementing the recommendations of Stephen Shaw’s review of the welfare of vulnerable people in detention.
Shaw Review: Vulnerable people in immigration detention
11.1 In 2015, we invited Stephen Shaw to conduct an independent review of the welfare of vulnerable people in immigration detention. As a key part of the Government’s response to this review, in 2016 we put in place a new adults at risk in immigration detention policy, strengthening our ability to safeguard those particularly vulnerable to harm in detention.
11.2 In 2017, the Government invited Stephen Shaw to conduct a follow-up review of the welfare in detention of vulnerable people. This report was published on 24 July 2018 and it commended the ‘energetic way’ in which recommendations from the 2016 report had been taken forward.
11.3 The report noted that conditions in immigration removal centres had improved and recognised the significant changes to detention in recent years and confirmed that the Government was on the right track with its reforms.
11.4 The UK Government’s statement to Parliament on 24 July, made clear our commitments to going further and faster with reforms to immigration detention.
11.5 We will explore alternatives to detention with faith groups, non-governmental organisations and within communities – starting with an intention to pilot a scheme to manage vulnerable women in the community; improve the support available to vulnerable detainees to ensure the most vulnerable and complex cases get the attention they need; increase transparency around immigration detention by
publishing more data and by commissioning the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and immigration to report each year on the adults at risk in immigration detention policy; implement a new drive on dignity in detention, by improving the basic provision available to detainees. We have introduced a pilot involving use of Skype, so detainees can contact their families overseas more easily.
11.6 The Government has apologised to members of the Windrush generation. Correcting the wrongs experienced by those of the Windrush generation who have been adversely affected by measures designed to tackle illegal immigration is a top priority. The Government deeply regrets what has happened and is committed to a fair and humane immigration policy which welcomes people here legally, and which distinguishes effectively between those with lawful status and those here illegally.
11.7 On 16 April 2018, we established a Taskforce to ensure that members of the Windrush generation could evidence their right to be in the UK. We have subsequently launched the Windrush Scheme which ensures that members of this generation, their children born in the UK and those who arrived in the UK as minors, will be able to apply to the Taskforce for evidence to demonstrate their lawful residence status or, in some cases, British citizenship free of charge. The Scheme came into force on 30 May 2018.
11.8 On 19 July 2018, we announced the publication of a consultation paper on the Windrush Compensation Scheme. The Consultation has now closed; we are carefully considering responses and intend to launch the Compensation Scheme as soon as possible. The Compensation Scheme will be specifically designed to help those who have been affected. Proper consultation is vital as the experiences
and views of those affected will help us get the scheme right.
11.9 We are also supporting those affected in advance of the Compensation Scheme being put in place. We have signed an agreement with Citizens Advice to provide bespoke professional advice, including debt advice, to those experiencing financial problems.
11.10 We have reviewed existing safeguards to ensure that those who are here lawfully are not inadvertently disadvantaged by policies put in place to tackle illegal migration. We have gone further and temporarily restricted some compliance measures that are proactively applied through the government sharing data on known immigration offenders. The EU Settlement Scheme, which we have already begun to implement, will ensure that those who successfully apply for it have a clear immigration status in the UK, safeguarding against what happened to members of the Windrush generation.
11.11 We have also provided additional support to delivery partners, including landlords and employers, to ensure that we are not denying work, housing, benefits and services (including access to the NHS) to those lawfully in the UK, including the Windrush generation.
11.12 The ongoing independent Windrush Lessons Learned Review will help ensure that we have a clear picture of why the Windrush generation were adversely impacted and, importantly, how we should take this forward and make our immigration system more fair and humane. Results of the review will be published in due course.
11.13 A review, with independent oversight will also be set up to look at the way the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship System operates going forward, to ensure the structures and processes deliver in a way which is fair and humane and fully compliant with the law at all times.