In the wake of the Windrush scandal, the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has revealed he has paused a comprehensive programme of “pro-active data sharing” between different government departments.
The Windrush scandal has already led to several key changes in the UK immigration system. It was previously announced in May that arrangements under which the NHS shared patients’ details with the Home Office, including the memorandum of understanding with NHS Digital, had been suspended. The Home Office has already revealed that it is suspending immigration checks on bank accounts, another key aspect of the hostile environment policy.
It has now been announced that officials will not share data from HMRC, the DWP and the DVLA with the Home Office for a period of three months, thereby halting the measures introduced in 2014 as part of the government’s hostile immigration environment.
In order to ensure that these polices were not wrongly capturing those who are entitled to live and work in the UK, Sajid Javid has stated that Home Office staff are working on “evaluating the effectiveness of the compliant environment to ensure it is effective, and that there is no adverse impact on individuals who have a right to be here and access those services”.
These changes come at a time when the hostile environment policy has been blamed for a number of scandals, including Windrush and the TOEIC testing legal scandal. Growing numbers of campaigners and pressure groups are calling for the government to right the wrongs committed by the Home Office in the past. However, with the Home Office currently in touch with only fourteen of those who were wrongly deported from the Windrush generation, it will have to be seen whether these calls bring any positive results.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with various immigration matters. Should you wish to speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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