Open Letter(2) to the Prime Minister of the UK and the Taoiseach of Ireland

25th March 2021 

Dear Sirs

RE: ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE, HOUSING AND FOOD FOR ALL

On March 27th 2020 we called upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in Leave to Remain.  (Copy enclosed)

Shortly after your office’s acknowledgement of receipt we thanked you, Taoiseach.  We have yet to receive acknowledgement of receipt from yourself, Prime Minister.  Neither of you have actually responded directly to us but we note, and are glad for, the recent announcement regularising undocumented workers in the Republic of Ireland by the end of 2021.  

We have refined our call further to specify that Indefinite Leave to Remain is what is required by the Status Now Network, a unique coalition of 120+ organisations and community action groups, alongside individuals, who are campaigning for Status Now 4 All.  This coming Saturday, March 27th 2021, exactly one year since we wrote to you both, we are holding our Status Now Summit: One Year On

Most StatusNow4All members are experiencing and/or have worked for years ‘in the frontline’ supporting migrants living with chronic insecurity.  Increasingly, we are working together.  Through the Covid lockdowns, SN4A members have supported migrants with Covid or at grave risk of catching Covid – from which some have died without access to medical care.   SN4A members support migrants who do not have secure employment, housing or medical care, protection from exploitation and/or  secure immigration status.  They have provided basic food, advice, friendship, help with access to services, and help in dealing with the Home Office and its sub-contractors.

Our members have a huge amount of ‘front-line’ experience about the situation of migrants with something less than indefinite leave to remain.  We are/are in close touch with migrants who have time-limited work and study visas (some of which have run out); time-limited visas which do not give the right to work; permission to stay for a limited period but with ‘no recourse to public funds’; asylum seekers waiting for a first decision; asylum seekers waiting for an appeal or with a fresh claim; refused asylum seekers; undocumented migrants.

The UK legacy scheme that was set up to manage the backlog of cases at the beginning of 2007, the very recent UK Government offer to Hong Kong residents, and the Irish Government’s announcement that undocumented migrants can apply for regularisation by the end of 2021, all demonstrate that Governments can do the right thing, if they so choose.  The UK and Irish Governments can grant Indefinite Leave to Remain as per the StatusNow4All campaign call, now.

Yesterday, Priti Patel, Home Secretary addressed the UK Parliament.  StatusNow4All welcomes the announcement that Indefinite Leave to Remain will be offered to that narrow band of people who are currently far from British shores and have been identified as ‘vulnerable’ and in need of a place of safety.  We remain profoundly concerned that the UK Government is, to date, choosing to ignore appeals for the promotion of a simple, ‘common-sense alternative’ based on equity of access to healthcare, housing, food and the same sources of income from the State as everyone else. 

Yesterday Priti Patel asked: “And if you don’t like our plan, where is yours?”

Here it is: Grant Indefinite Leave to Remain to all undocumented people and those in the legal process who are currently in the UK.  Once this is accepted in principle, we, people with direct experience of being in those insecure positions, alongside our campaigning organisations and individuals, will come to any discussion table to work together to make this vision a reality.

We look forward to direct responses to admin@statusnow4all.org.

Yours sincerely,

Rogelio Braga                         Shaista Raja

Co Chairs of the Status Now Network

We have proof of delivery of this letter to UK Prime Minister, on 26 March 2021