The Home Office has been urged to stop inflicting misery on communities after data emerged showing 190 UK immigration raids on nursing homes. Of the raids, only 37 care-staff were deported between 2015 and 2019.
Campaign officer for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), Mary Atkinson, said that the raids demonstrated just how ‘out of control the hostile environment has become.’
As well as the raids on nursing homes, data reveals that the Home Office carried out more than 44,000 ‘intelligence-led’ UK immigration raids on private homes. However, less than one in six raids resulted in deportations, according to the JCWI.
Carers arrested mid-shiftMs Atkinson said: “Carers are being arrested in the middle of their shifts, often as they look after elderly and vulnerable people — it is difficult to see who could possibly benefit from that.”
“It’s time that the Home Office scrapped the hostile environment and prioritised keeping people safe instead of perpetuating a cruel set of immigration laws which cause needless harm to our communities,” Ms Atkinson added.
Amid extensive research into immigration raids, conducted by Corporate Watch, it has been claimed that raiding tactics are often used based on tip offs. Very few arrests are made, with Corporate Watch suggesting that raids are carried out to create a ‘climate of fear’ among migrant communities.
Illegal care sector workers a target
The Home Office has said that illegal working in the care sector is facing a clampdown with many workers reportedly using fake identities and documentation to secure jobs and bypass Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
Care workers’ union Unison responded to the data by saying that it shows just how ‘inhumane and ineffective the government’s UK immigration policy is.’
Gavin Edwards, Unison’s senior national care officer, said: “The government needs to reform the immigration system so that it treats people with dignity and respect — not create fear and disruption for vulnerable people in care homes.”
UK immigration agents using coercive tactics
In November 2020, Workpermit.com reported that UK immigration agents were using coercive tactics to gain entry to private properties.
Under UK law, immigration officers can enter a property provided that the occupants give ‘informed consent’. However, the Migrant Rights’ Network (MRN) claimed that many people who are targeted are ‘unlikely to know’ that they have the right to refuse entry to UK immigration agents.
The MRN said: “We have been extremely concerned with the number of cases in which immigration enforcement officers have failed to obtain fully informed consent.”
The MRN’s London project manager, Mahlea Babjak, said: “Many people are not being given information regarding all the risks and alternatives to being questioned during an immigration raid.”
Babjak added that it’s not just residential properties that are being targeted, business premises are being subjected to coercive entry tactics. Ms Babjak said: “Every business owner and employee has the right to feel safe in their workplace.”
However, the Home Office denied any wrongdoing, saying: “Immigration officers have a range of powers to tackle illegal working, which is a key driver of illegal migration and exploitative working conditions, including modern slavery.”
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