Migrants' Rights and Right to Rent

Thank you for contacting me about issues to do with immigration and migrants' rights.

I know you have concerns about the future of EU citizens in the UK, but while it is not for me to comment on any individual case, I can assure you that the fair deal reached by the UK and EU Commission means that EU citizens and UK nationals will have their rights protected so that they can carry on living their lives broadly as they do now.

I welcome the commitment of the Government to building a single, global immigration system which considers people on skills, rather than nationality. I am clear that when people voted to leave the EU, they did so in the knowledge that the free movement system imposed by the EU would end. The Government is clear that this means continued work to bring net migration down to sustainable levels while ensuring the UK continues to attract and retain those who come to the UK to work and bring significant benefits. I am glad Ministers share my view that this should not include an open door to those who do not. The future border and immigration system will support the UK economy, but also address the public’s concerns.

With regards to The Right to Rent Scheme, the law is clear that landlords and letting agents should not discriminate on racial grounds when conducting checks. The scheme exists to deter illegal migration and tackle those who would profit from it. Indeed, an independent exercise found no evidence of systemic discrimination in The Right to Rent Scheme. I understand the Home Office is now carefully considering the High Court judgement and has been granted permission to appeal.

It is important to remember that the Home Office works tirelessly to protect the nation and makes millions of decisions each year that profoundly affect peoples’ lives, and for the most part it gets these right. Similarly, the public expects the immigration rules approved by Parliament to be enforced as a matter of fairness to those who abide by the rules. Illegal migration can have a terrible impact on some of the most vulnerable in society and must continue to be tackled.

In response to Windrush, the Home Secretary commissioned a lessons learned review into the events leading up to Windrush. The review will seek to draw out how members of the Windrush generation came to be entangled in measures designed for illegal immigrants; why that was not spotted sooner; and whether the right corrective measures are now in place. The review will take into account the experiences of those involved and wider reflections on Home Office culture as a whole.

Mistakes have been made and rightly apologised for, but I believe the Home Office is committed to taking the necessary action to restore confidence in our immigration system.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

June 2019