British Home Office is hiring out the Services of UK Visa and Immigration personnel to help hunt immigrants. Such staff is being offered to public services for £60 per hour according to reports.
Many have slammed this move by the Home Office. Some leaked documents show plans by the Home Office to embed immigration officers across public services in the country. National Health Service (NHS) and local councils are examples of public services that have seen the embedding.
This ‘enhanced checking service’ by the agency targets foreign nationals involved in serious crime and suspected illegal immigrants. NHS patient data was being used to check the UK visa status of immigrant NHS patients as reported earlier this year. A similar alliance was also reported between the police and the Home Office.
Through an on-site UK immigration official, public services and private firms are offered access to information regarding foreign nationals’ immigration status. On other occasions, immigration officials are invited to encourage undocumented immigrants to return home voluntarily.
Details of undocumented immigrants can also be forwarded to UK immigration enforcement officers by embedded immigration officials.
Government’s ‘hostile environment’ Policy
UK citizens have condemned the embedding move by the Home Office and are demanding that the Home Office reveal the number of UK Visa and Immigration officers that they have deployed for such purpose as well as the organizations they are deployed to.
The Home Office is accused of betrayal of public trust and making the country more hostile for immigrants, who are afraid of accessing much needed public services.
Sajid Javid, UK Home Secretary has tagged the hostile environment concept unhelpful. The Home Office has therefore been called upon to justify filling councils and hospital with border guards.
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