Home Office rules that could let the UK Government deport migrants for sleeping rough will “put lives at risk”, say homelessness charities calling on authorities not to enforce them.
Under amended immigration rules, non-UK rough sleepers may have their permission to remain in the country refused or cancelled on the grounds that they are sleeping rough on the streets.
The Home Office has said rough sleepers will only face deportation if they have refused or disengaged with support and are engaged in persistent anti-social behaviour or other criminal activity. But charities have warned the threat of deportation could keep people away from essential support as the UK Government aims to end rough sleeping by 2024.
This could put lives at risk, and leave people open to exploitation and modern slaveryPolly Neate, Shelter chief executivePolly Neate, Shelter chief executive
“Street homelessness should never be a reason to force anyone out of the country. It would be deeply worrying if the government met its target to end rough sleeping by deporting destitute migrants with nowhere else to go,” said Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter.
“The new Home Office guidance on the removal of rough sleepers leaves a lot to interpretation, meaning fewer vulnerable people will come forward for help. This could put lives at risk, and leave people open to exploitation and modern slavery.”
The Home Office announced the change to immigration rules in October last year before they came into force in December but guidance published on Tuesday gave the green light for the policy to be put into practice.