Undocumented Londoners, many of whom are entitled to British Citizenship, are struggling to access their rights in the country they call home.
Without legal status, they face restrictions in accessing higher education, employment, healthcare and housing - despite being born in the UK or having spent most of their lives here. They are unable to register to vote and face barriers to participating in daily life.
Following changes in Government policies and cuts since 2010, more individuals have risked becoming undocumented with fewer prospects to secure their status. Londoners who try to secure their status in the UK face a long, complex and expensive process. Some of the young people affected are the family members of the Windrush generation, who were failed by the Government and are still struggling to secure their status in the UK.
Many more are now at risk of becoming undocumented as a result of Brexit. European Londoners who live and work in the capital could face losing their rights overnight if they are unable to access the EU Settlement Scheme.
If just five percent of people required to apply fail to secure their status, it would equate to 50,000 more Londoners without proper documentation and subject to the Government’s discriminatory hostile environment.
To provide effective support to Londoners accessing their rights to residency and citizenship, it is necessary to know the current number of undocumented Londoners struggling without immigration status.
Commissioned as part of our Citizenship & Integration Initiative partnership, we welcome a new report from Mayor of London and GLA which aims to provide robust, evidence-based estimates of the size of the undocumented population in London and the UK.
For Londoners who are struggling without their status, the Mayor is calling on the Government to:
- reinstate legal aid for children’s immigration cases;
- reduce the extortionate profit-making element of immigration fees; and
- properly fund the struggling advice sector, to ensure that people can access the citizenship and immigration advice that they need.
This research was commissioned through the Mayor of London’s Citizenship and Integration Initiative and undertaken by the Institute for Community Research and Development at the University of Wolverhampton.
Find out more about the Citizenship and Integration Initiative which Trust for London provides funding towards.