The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants launches a landmark report, We Are Here, looking at the experience of undocumented migrants in the UK. This in-depth research, based on interviews, focus groups and surveys, finds that:
– 82% of the undocumented people in the research entered the UK using legal means, with only 15% entering via irregular means
– 2/3 of the undocumented migrants in the research had lived in the UK for at least 10 years
– 3/4 of the undocumented people in the research had family ties in the UK – almost half had dependent children here
The report also looks at how barriers within the immigration system, such as complex and expensive pathways to settlement, mean that people who had legal status at one time end up losing it, and hence become vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
Based on these findings, the report proposes a number of simple, pragmatic reforms that would break the cycle of insecure immigration status and ensure that people who have come to the UK to make it their home are able to access and maintain status. These proposals include:
– A new, simplified route to regularisation, based on 5 years’ residence
– Bringing visa fees down to match processing costs
– Removing the need to reapply for status after 2.5 years
The report is now online here: www.jcwi.org.uk/WeAreHere.