Can Stormont Rollback the Home Office ‘Hostile Environment’? Legal Research Report
The hostile environment is a suite of UK policies designed at making life unbearable for people living in the UK without immigration status. However, these policies have been shown to negatively affect all migrants and ethnic minority communities, regardless of the status they hold. The impact of the hostile environment was famously revealed during the Windrush scandal, and the same policies continue to apply today. The hostile environment continues to cause racism, discrimination, and rights abuses across the UK. Hostile environment policies applying in Northern Ireland encroach on many areas of devolved competence, such as housing, social security, employment, and health.
CAJ commissioned barrister Mark Bassett to conduct a legal analysis, which examines where NI Executive Departments can use their devolved competencies to push back against the hostile environment, and take a proactive stance to protect the rights of migrant and minority ethnic people in our communities. With NI politicians promising to promote integration and protect the rights of migrant and minority ethnic people in Northern Ireland, what can be done about the negative impact of the hostile environment?
This analysis aims to act as a blueprint for ways forward and highlights several areas where provisions enacted by Westminster can be amended, repealed, and/or modified by the Northern Ireland Assembly in accordance with their legislative competence. These include: The right to rent and housing provision; The regulation of driving licences; The provision of social security for people subject to No Recourse to Public Funds; The provision of healthcare; The regulation of marriage; and The protection of workers subject to labour exploitation.
Download the report here.