UK Visa and Immigration staff say increasing discrimination

Sanwar Ali comment:

There are also allegations of widespread institutional racism at the UK visa regulator which is sponsored by the Home Office, with another race discrimination claim expected at the Employment Tribunal.  Previously, there was criticism by an Employment Tribunal Judge of discriminatory practices.  No apologies have been made, no compensation and as far as we know no investigation of misconduct.  Just denials. Like in the Windrush scandal there have been allegations of deliberate targeting of ethnic minorities. 

Afro-Caribbeans who emigrated to the UK before 1973, the Windrush Generation, are the descendants of those who had been originally brought to the Caribbean as slaves.  Amnesty International had the following comments to make earlier this year, about one year after the Windrush Scandal.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said:

“The Windrush generation were failed by decades of harmful Government policy and practice that effectively deprived people of their rightful citizenship and unleashed a range of harmful immigration powers against them….

 “Systemic injustice and racism in the UK’s nationality and immigration systems continues to destroy the lives of many people, including British citizens…

UK visa discrimination levels rising

An internal UK Visas and Immigration department survey reveals that discrimination levels within the Home Office are rising. According to the survey, employees working for Border Force and Immigration Enforcement, are subject to increasing levels of discrimination from their workplace colleagues.

The survey’s findings raise serious concerns over the failure to tackle the problems within Border Force and Immigration Enforcement, the Home Office agency whose targets for the removal of the illegal immigrants were at the centre of the Windrush scandal.

The issue of discrimination inside the Home Office was highlighted in a damning parliamentary report released in March. The recent survey of civil servants revealed that the issue is more widespread, with one in five UK immigration enforcement agents saying they had ‘personally experienced discrimination at work.’

Border Force and Immigration Enforcement recorded the highest score for discrimination out of all UK government agencies and departments. Border Force, which monitors 140 UK and western European immigration and customs ports also had the worst score for ‘respecting individual differences.’

Home Office not committed to an inclusive and diverse workplace

Four in 10 of the survey respondents accused the Home Office of not being committed to an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Meanwhile, a Home Office spokesperson said: “We value all of our staff who work tirelessly to serve the public and keep them safe, and their wellbeing is our priority.”

The internal survey records staff opinions across 100 public agencies and around 300,000 employees reportedly participate.

Matthew Pennycook, Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, said: “It is deeply alarming that more than one in five immigration staff have personally witnessed discrimination and harassment at work during the course of the last year.”

If this is what those who work in these sensitive agencies routinely experience, what chance is there for the often vulnerable people they are employed to serve? Ministers must act, not only to protect those who work in these sensitive agencies, but to fundamentally overhaul our immigration system so those using it can have confidence that it is effective, humane and just,” Pennycook added.

Home Office discriminates against UK visa applicants

Discrimination within the Home Office runs deep and it’s not only the agency’s employees that suffer. UK visa applicants have long been subjected to discriminatory Home Office practices.

Workpermit.com recently reported on the Home Office using potentially discriminatory software algorithms to process UK visa applications.

The Home Office claims that the algorithms do not discriminate on the basis of race. However, it has been widely reported that the Home Office, and those sponsored by the government agency, have covered up racial discrimination by ignoring complaints or claiming that complaints filed about discriminatory behaviour have not been received.

In recent years, the credibility of the Home Office has been called into question amid numerous scandals. In a report published by the Institute for Government (IfG), researchers indicated that the Home Office should be stripped of managing UK immigration policy after Brexit.

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