Home Office review of the hostile environment concedes that it is racist

20 February 2023: The home office published a series of reviews of its hostile environment policies at the beginning of February. 

An attempt was made to rebrand the approach after the details of the Windrush scandal became public in 2017 as ‘complaint environment’ policies but the older term has remained current.

The four reviews published do far are:

  1. Developing an evaluation strategy for the compliant environment: review of internal data and processes
  2. Compliant environment: overarching equality impact assessment
  3. A review of external evidence of the compliant environment: Literature synthesis of external evidence and best use of international examples
  4. Right to rent scheme: phase two evaluation

According to The Guardian, the reviews show that the policies “appear to have had a disproportionately negative impact on people of colour”.  Indian, Pakistani, Nigerian and Bangladeshi nationals have been found to have suffered the greatest negative impact from the measures. 

The equalities impact assessment is quoted as saying “the top five nationalities impacted most are identifiable as being from/of brown or black heritage and all five are visibly not white”. It goes on to say “The internal data suggests some of the compliant environment measures may disproportionately impact on people of colour.”

The report is consistent with the findings of an evaluation of the hostile environment published by the IPPR thinktank in 2020 which found that the hostile environment policy had fostered racism, pushed people into destitution, wrongly targeted people who are living in the UK legally, and had “severely harmed the reputation of the Home Office”.