Immigration Bill Will Increase Migrant Homelessness

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The UK Government’s Immigration Bill will increase levels of homelessness and discriminate against migrants rather than reduce immigration, Scotland’s Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil has said.

Following its introduction to Parliament today, the Cabinet Secretary outlined significant concerns around the Bill and criticised the UK Government for rushing through legislation which impacts on devolved areas like housing and justice.

The Bill aims to introduce measures which would require private landlords to evict tenants who do not have legal status in the UK. These, combined with the roll out of the “Right to Rent” provisions in the 2014 Immigration Act could lead to landlords discriminating against prospective tenants who do not hold a British passport.

The Scottish Government is concerned these measures could marginalise vulnerable migrants and prevent them from getting in touch with the Home Office and other authorities for fear of eviction.

There is also a proposal to cut financial support for refused asylum seekers across the UK which Scottish Ministers say could lead to more people becoming destitute.

Mr Neil said: “The UK Government’s heavy-handed one-size-fits-all approach to immigration only fuels the misconceptions around migrants.

“I am disappointed to see the inhumane measures set out in the Immigration Bill and I am deeply concerned if approved, that they will encourage people to discriminate against this vulnerable group.

“These harsh restrictions around rent and evictions would make it even tougher for migrants to access housing. Where they have accommodation they may be too frightened to keep in contact with the Home Office and authorities if they believe there is a threat of eviction.

“If migrants also believe they could be forced into homelessness, it leaves them at risk of being exploited by rogue landlords.

“The UK Government’s approach, coinciding with its delayed response to the worst humanitarian crisis facing Europe since the Second World War, shows an unbelievable lack of compassion and understanding of people’s basic rights.

“We will do all we can to stand against the proposals in the bill which will leave people at risk of homelessness or destitution. We are committed to creating a fairer Scotland, where we provide protection, safety and security to those who need it most.”


Source: Scottish Government. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.


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7 COMMENTS

  1. The law does not specify a british passport, it is for illegal immigrants so they should have a, a passport, and b, if they don’t come from an eu nation a valid visa. If you are a failed asylum seeker you should rightly be deported not have your benefits cut.

    • Lawyers have to stop and study the paperwork in most cases. It’s not simple, at all, and there is a *big* backlog in processing which means many legal immigrants have out of date paperwork!

      Moreover, why should British people need to pay for a passport? Irish people don’t need one here for other things either, I note.

      No,again, this means expensive legal checks – and the law means you can’t discriminate, and moreover it’s not unknown for passports to be forged and landlords (rightly) won’t take the risk, as they’d be blamed if they just did a visual check. How will the poor fund 250-300 each per tennancy?

      • So you believe that if you do not have a passport for one of 27 european nations you should be discriminated against. If British people don’t have a passport they can’t get back into the country and they have to pay for it so just what is your argument?

      • No, the reality is that people are going to demand those legal checks anyway. As you don’t read my post, of course, and as you ignore the fact that people can do without foreign travel, but require shelter.

      • Well you started with Lawyers stop and study the paperwork which is a total nonsense they do not cause the problem of there being no paperwork and the open borders. You refer to Ireland which has had a different law regarding passports due to historic reasons and part of Ireland is still in the UK. What expensive legal checks are required to check passports which is done for every nation outside of the 28? your argument does not add to the debate, because of its naive simplicity and is so easy to prove incorrect.

  2. Landlords are likely to simply require immigration checks of everyone, to avoid discrimination claims. £250-300 per person, easily – when the Tories trumpeted abolishing that kind of fee from agents not too long ago.

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