Bishop of Southwark asks about sanctions on Commonwealth citizens with right of abode but without documentation

On 30th June the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Williams of Trafford on sanctions towards Commonwealth citizens with right of abode but incorrect documentation.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: HL5625 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the level of oversight of sanctions, including denial of employment, health services, benefits and housing, to Commonwealth Citizens who do not have correct documentation but who have (1) right of abode or (2) right to remain in the UK.

Baroness Williams of Trafford: The Government is committed to a firm, fair and humane immigration policy which distinguishes effectively between those with lawful status and those here illegally.

In common with other comparable countries, the UK has in place a framework of laws, policies and administrative arrangements, introduced under successive governments, ensuring access to work, benefits and services is permitted for those with the right access to them. Key measures were the subject of public consultations and/or impact assessments before they were introduced.

Eligibility checks are based on checking lawful status and eligibility, not the nationality of those accessing work and key services. We have introduced additional safeguards to ensure that those who are lawfully present in the UK are not disadvantaged by our measures. These include additional support within the checking services provided to employers, landlords and public service providers and temporary restrictions on the parameters of proactive data-sharing, to ensure members of the Windrush generation are not wrongly impacted.

As the Home Secretary said in her statement to Parliament on 23 June, the Government accepts the findings and recommendations in the Windrush Lessons Learned Review report in full, including those relating to measures designed to regulate access to work, benefits and services.

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