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MPs call for end to hostile environment for migrants

MPS highlighted the crucial role of migrants in front-line services in a bid to end the government’s “hostile environment” policy today.
 
SNP immigration spokesman Stuart McDonald MP is calling for an urgent overhaul of the “hostile and flawed” immigration policies, which make life in Britain for migrants tougher while many risk their health in key-worker roles. 

He pointed to government plans to charter a number of flights for Romanian workers to harvest British farms. 

“With the UK government having to charter flights to bring in hundreds of workers from EU countries to help UK farms survive, a significant number of migrant doctors and healthcare workers on the front line in the fight against Covid-19 and asylum-seekers and refugees keen to utilise their medical skills to help the NHS, the lessons are there to be learned,” he said. 

“I hope the UK government will finally see the contribution migrants and so-called ‘low-skilled’ workers make to our country, and that it urgently overhauls its hostile and flawed immigration policies.”

The call follows a letter from a group of 60 cross-party MPs sent to Health Minister Matt Hancock on Friday, urging him to scrap barriers to healthcare for migrants. 

Co-ordinated by Labour MPs Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Zarah Sultana and Apsana Begum, the group calls for immigration surcharges to be scrapped — a policy that they say deters migrants from seeking health care. The letter also calls for immigration checks in the NHS to be suspended.

Ms Sultana said:  “Migrants are at the front line of this pandemic.

“They disproportionately make up NHS staff and other key-worker roles, but the’ hostile environment’ has led to migrants dying from Covid-19 without seeking healthcare.

“The injustice has to end.” 

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