An inspection of how the Home Office is tackling illegal working

Submitted by sglenister on Fri, 12/10/2018 - 16:17

12 October 2018

Professor Sonia McKay responds to a Home Office consultation regarding the treatment of migrant workers, stating that current immigration policies are neither effective nor efficient.

Immigration status is the outcome of government policy or in some cases the misapplication of government policy as the recent Windrush cases have so clearly demonstrated. Any consideration of Home Office practices should start from an acknowledgement that individuals themselves are not ‘illegal’, it is their presence that may be made illegal through government policies that change from time to time or indeed that are misapplied. It also needs to be recognised that sanctions cannot eliminate ‘illegal working’, indeed the 2014/15 report of the Chief Inspector acknowledges: ‘enforcement visits encountered and removed only a small proportion of offenders and that IE would never have the resources to resolve the overall problem.’

The push to migrate, either for economic, family or political reasons, the numbers involved and the needs of business for workers, altogether ensure that Home Office policy is neither effective or efficient while at the same time it is damaging to local communities, fosters antagonism between different communities and encourages the targeting of individuals and ethnic groups so that it could be seen as counterproductive. In turn, workers affected experience debt, low pay, harsh working conditions (including long working hours and unsocial hour’s patterns) as well as physical and psychological risks at work. Yet their voices and experiences are in general absent from the discussion of illegal working and are not included in the evidence which the Chief Inspector collects.

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