The 2015/16 Immigration Bill invokes punitive treatment of migrant communities by limiting access to accommodation, work and support provisions that will disproportionately affect women subject to immigration control with intersecting high needs, such as survivors of trafficking and domestic violence.
Restrictions to government support will affect women and families who have yet to make representations to the Home Office to regularise their stay and will force individuals and families into destitution.
The new accommodation ‘right to evict’ power invokes racial profiling and increases the risk of homelessness and further exploitation of women fleeing abuse and those awaiting response to their asylum claims, or with recently rejected asylum claims which they intend to appeal.
The restrictions on illegal work through the proposed Labour Market Enforcement Agency, and new criminal offences for those working illegally, with new rights for enforcement officers to seize their property and earnings, place an overwhelmingly unfair burden on vulnerable workers and potential victims of trafficking – this will inevitably carry a major risk of trapping people in exploitative situations.
We have presented the government with a list of our concerns, with case studies highlighting how these changes will impact women with multiple, intersecting high needs, who access our support services on a regular basis.
The bill is still going through parliament, the report and third reading stages on the Bill are to take place on Tuesday 1 December 2015.