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Petition Create an earned amnesty route for migrants without leave to remain

Create an organised and earned scheme for migrants in the UK without leave to remain to earn amnesty and secure leave to remain to enable them to live with dignity and contribute to the UK's economy.

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The scheme should be open to all who have not broken the law and have resided in the UK for over 12 years.

The immigration system does not meet the needs of many, there are concerns that the new Points Based System will not improve things, and a risk that there will be a skills shortage when the UK leaves the EU.

The current Prime Minister has expressed support for a proposal along these lines. The scheme could be run along the lines of how the Home Office processed legacy cases between 2006 and 2011, so there is a precedent for it. It could alleviate great hardship to the most vulnerable and exploited in society.

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Government responded

This response was given on 14 May 2020

The Immigration Rules already provide for undocumented migrants to regularise their status.

The Government therefore has no plans to create an earned amnesty route for such migrants.

The Government remains committed to an immigration policy which welcomes and celebrates people here legally but deters illegal immigration. We must prevent the abuse of benefits and services, remove immigration offenders and foreign national offenders from the UK and disrupt the organised crime groups that prey on the vulnerable.

The Immigration Rules already provide for undocumented migrants, who have not broken the law except for remaining here without lawful immigration status and have been in the UK for a long time, to regularise their status. This will remain the case when the new points-based immigration system is implemented. If appropriate in light of the situation in their country of origin, migrants may claim asylum or otherwise make an application for leave to remain where there are grounds to do so. The Government will therefore not create a new earned amnesty route as requested by this petition.

The current private life Immigration Rules provide for an adult who: has lived continuously in the UK for at least 20 years; is aged between 18 and 25 years and has spent at least half of their life living here; or, has lived continuously in the UK for less than 20 years, but there would be very significant obstacles to their integration into the country of return; or, a child (under 18 years), who has lived continuously in the UK for 7 years where it would not be reasonable for them to leave; to remain in the UK.

Alternatively, families can regularise their status under the family Immigration Rules where there is a qualifying partner or child (British or lived continuously in the UK for at least seven years) and it is unreasonable to expect family life to continue outside the UK or for the child to leave.

A fee waiver is available for those who are destitute, at risk of destitution; or where there are welfare concerns for a child of a parent in receipt of a low income, or exceptional financial circumstances. Additionally, the Home Office recognises the need to assist some of the more vulnerable members of our society and provided for exceptions to the need to pay application fees in a number of specific circumstances, for example, in relation to refugees and persons deriving rights under European law, and wider government policy (such as the protection of spouses from domestic abuse and the protection of vulnerable children).

Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations also include a discretionary waiver for those who are applying for leave to remain in the UK based on their European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) rights and can demonstrate they meet the relevant criteria.

For those who do not meet the requirements of these Rules, there is provision for a grant of leave where there are exceptional circumstances or compelling compassionate grounds which would mean refusal would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant. Each application is considered on its merits, taking into account individual circumstances. This reflects our obligations under the ECHR.

These Immigration Rules, which do not form part of the new points-based immigration system, are kept under continuous review and adjusted where necessary in light of feedback, impact and the findings of the courts.

Home Office

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/301696)

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At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

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Original Government response

The Immigration Rules already provide for undocumented migrants to regularise their status and this will remain the case when the new points-based immigration system is implemented.

The Government remains committed to an immigration policy which welcomes and celebrates people here legally but deters illegal immigration. We must prevent the abuse of benefits and services, remove immigration offenders and foreign national offenders from the UK and disrupt the organised crime groups that prey on the vulnerable.

The Immigration Rules already provide for undocumented migrants, who have not broken the law except for remaining here without lawful immigration status and have been in the UK for a long time, to regularise their status. If appropriate in light of the situation in their country of origin, migrants may claim asylum or otherwise make an application for leave to remain where there are grounds to do so.

The current private life Immigration Rules provide for an adult who: has lived continuously in the UK for at least 20 years; is aged between 18 and 25 years and has spent at least half of their life living here; or, has lived continuously in the UK for less than 20 years, but there would be very significant obstacles to their integration into the country of return; or, a child (under 18 years), who has lived continuously in the UK for 7 years where it would not be reasonable for them to leave; to remain in the UK.

Alternatively, families can regularise their status under the family Immigration Rules where there is a qualifying partner or child (British or lived continuously in the UK for at least seven years) and it is unreasonable to expect family life to continue outside the UK or for the child to leave.

A fee waiver is available for those who are destitute, at risk of destitution; or where there are welfare concerns for a child of a parent in receipt of a low income, or exceptional financial circumstances. Additionally, the Home Office recognises the need to assist some of the more vulnerable members of our society and provided for exceptions to the need to pay application fees in a number of specific circumstances, for example, in relation to refugees and persons deriving rights under European law, and wider government policy (such as the protection of spouses from domestic abuse and the protection of vulnerable children).

Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations also include a discretionary waiver for those who are applying for leave to remain in the UK based on their European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) rights and can demonstrate they meet the relevant criteria.

For those who do not meet the requirements of these Rules, there is provision for a grant of leave where there are exceptional circumstances or compelling compassionate grounds which would mean refusal would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant. Each application is considered on its merits, taking into account individual circumstances. This reflects our obligations under the ECHR.

These Immigration Rules, which do not form part of the new points-based immigration system, are kept under continuous review and adjusted where necessary in light of feedback, impact and the findings of the courts.

Home Office

This response was given on 22 April 2020. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.

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