Government urged to withdraw plans to deport rough sleepers

Government urged to withdraw plans to deport rough sleepers


A letter put forward by the Mayor of London is calling on the Home Secretary and Priti Patel and Housing Minister Robert Jenrick to scrap new immigration rules targeting migrant rough sleepers. Under new legislation announced by the Home Office set to be applied from 1 December, if a migrant does not have a home their leave-to-remain status can be refused or cancelled, leading to deportation.

SPEAR together with local authorities and homeless charities are backing the Mayor’s letter urging the Government to retract these ‘deeply immoral’ plans. The new rules set a dangerous precedent and rather than supporting people to come off the streets, they seek to punish rough sleepers simply for not having a home.

The letter sets out five key proposals to alleviate the coming crisis:

  • Scrap plans for rough sleeping to become grounds for refusal or cancellation of permission to be in the UK.
  • Suspend all immigration-based exclusions from welfare and homelessness assistance to adapt to these exceptional times.
  • Take action to prevent European Londoners from becoming undocumented by extending the deadline to apply for settled status.
  • Take all necessary measures to avoid pushing refugees and asylum seekers into homelessness.
  • Properly fund self-contained, COVID-secure accommodation which we know is the safest way to protect those who would otherwise be sleeping rough from both the pandemic and the winter weather.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:

The injustice and cruelty exhibited by the proposed new immigration laws is a chilling reminder of how the most vulnerable people in our society can be targeted when those in power don’t believe anyone will notice or care.

“I’m proud to stand with the signatories of this letter in telling ministers that we do care and we will not let those without a voice be quietly removed from our city and deported simply for finding themselves homeless.

“It is not too late for the Government to act and show some compassion that is desperately needed in these difficult times.”

SPEAR Chief Executive Tim Fallon adds:

Like fellow signatories to this letter, we fear the new immigration rules will further alienate members of our community who are in need of support, by creating distrust between them and the basic services that anyone is entitled to, such as the NHS. Not only does this have a detrimental effect on vulnerable people sleeping rough but on our community as a whole.”

Read the full letter HERE.

Sign the Petition

Join us to call on the UK Government to scrap these new immigration rules and ensure no one is punished for being homeless: