Home Office plans to deport migrants who are forced to sleep rough have been foiled by a legal challenge, campaigners have claimed.
The Westminster government changed immigration rules in December 2020 enabling the cancellation of permission to stay in the UK on the grounds a non-UK national was sleeping rough in the UK. The Home Office said at the time the rule was a “last resort”.
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Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (Ramfel) and Public Interest Law Centre (Pilc) launched a legal challenge in response. Now the campaigners have insisted their intervention has seen the rule “watered down” to such a degree that it is yet to be used after more than two years of being in force.
Nick Beales, head of campaigning at Ramfel, said: “The government’s plan to cancel people’s leave to remain in the UK for the crime of falling on hard times and rough sleeping was always cruel, but also patently self-defeating.
“If people who are rough sleeping know that engaging with the authorities risks enforcement action and potential separation from loved ones, it strongly disincentivises them from seeking help. The government though ignored warnings to this effect and instead dogmatically pressed ahead.