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Influencing policy to challenge the hostile environment

Why this is important

Successive UK governments have had a policy to create a hostile environment for migrants in the UK. This has included deporting migrants who have lived all or most of their lives in the UK, making it hard for migrants to rent a home or open a bank account, denying benefits and other support, and disproportionately applying administrative rules (such as tax return minor errors) against some, such as the Highly Skilled Migrants Group. Immigration control has been passed to service providers in education, housing, employers; with criminal sanctions for failure to do so. Migration is not a crime and detention and deportation on immigration grounds must be ended. MRN works for justice for all migrants. It will particularly work with those most vulnerable to exploitation or oppression.

What MRN intends to do

  • Work in partnership with organisations that share MRN’s values to challenge the government’s hostile environment policies against migrants in the UK.
  • Challenge government policies that criminalise or marginalise migrants such as those affected by labels of ‘poor character’, destitution, poverty and no recourse to public funds.
  • Challenge discrimination and exploitation of migrants in all spheres, including in the workplace. Providing information about rights and where to turn for support in accessible language.
  • Take action to reverse the criminalisation of migration.
  • Advocate that service providers not be used as a means of immigration control.


MRN contested the data-sharing agreement between the Home Office, NHS Digital and the Department of Health, which had been drawn up in secret in November 2016. It enabled the sharing of confidential patient information by the NHS with the Home Office for immigration enforcement purposes. In May 2018, the Government announced it would suspend the data-sharing agreement pending amendments, and the legal challenge was placed on hold. Later in November 2018, the data sharing agreement was withdrawn completely. This was our small but significant contribution to the creation of kink in the ‘hostile environment’

“Thank you for fighting for this vital cause – which goes to the heart of human rights, patient confidentiality and personal dignity. It speaks to the kind of nation we are and want to be. Good luck!” 

Anonymous supporter