Image: Krzysztof Hepner, Unsplash

Migration and Poverty: New APPG Report Released

Today, the APPGs on Migration and Poverty (the latter of which we act as the Secretariat for) released their new report “The Effects of UK Immigration, Asylum and Refugee Policy on Poverty.” The joint inquiry of the APPGs received nearly 200 submissions from people with professional and lived experience of the migration system; something that was crucial to the findings and recommendations of the report.

Nobody in the UK should face destitution, and destitution should be designed out of social security and immigration systems. There is a shared interest in ensuring people who settle in the UK can thrive.

However, the inquiry found that the UK’s migration policy causes destitution by design, leaves people vulnerable to exploitation and crime, and increases the costs paid by society. All of us would benefit from changing this approach; ending destitution by design and creating a fairer, more effective immigration system.

Findings & Recommendations

  • Immigration controls are a major cause of destitution, isolation, and poor integration. We should clear backlogs and halve the time people are subject to immigration control from 10 to 5 years.
  • Fees and charges for immigration, nationality, and health are well above cost and a direct cause of poverty. They should be reduced.
  • Preventing people from supporting themselves is costing society as well as migrants, leaving them reliant on insufficient support payments and vulnerable to exploitation. People seeking asylum should have the right to work after 6 months.
  • The level of asylum support is not enough to live on. It should be reviewed and uprated in line with inflation.
  • No Recourse To Public Funds is a huge contributor to destitution, child poverty, isolation, and vulnerability. It should be strictly time-limited and more support exempted from it, such as Child Benefit or emergency welfare.
  • 45% of children of foreign-born parents are in poverty, but denied access to services despite 70% of them being born in the UK. Services and support for children and young people should be provided regardless of immigration status.
  • Migrants are at much higher risk of homelessness, but are barred from safety nets and cannot access much of the private rented sector. Asylum seekers and refugees are not given enough time to find housing in these conditions, and we recommend the move-on period be extended to 56 days.
  • Integration benefits all parts of society, but work on migration and poverty is deeply fragmented across government. National, devolved, regional, and local governments should work together on a refugee integration strategy.
  • Expertise and lived experience is crucial to creating better policies in this area, but is not acted-on enough. The Windrush Lessons Learned Review called for a Migrants Commissioner to fix this, and this should be implemented along with the Review’s other recommendations.