Since his time as the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has spoken of his support for an amnesty for illegal migrants. He confirmed his support for this again once elected as Prime Minister, stating it would help prevent another Windrush scandal. However many supporters of the amnesty became anxious when there was no further mention of an amnesty during the election campaign nor in the Queen’s Speech on 19 December 2019 which set out the new Government’s policy aims for the current Parliament.
In January this year Home Office Minister, Victoria Atkins, was asked in a Parliamentary Question what assessment the government had made of the potential merits of introducing an amnesty for undocumented migrants.
Ms Atkins responded that “The government remains committed to an immigration policy which welcomes and celebrates people to the UK through safe and legal routes but deters illegal immigration”.
She went on to state that “The Immigration Rules already provide for undocumented migrants to regularise their status”.
Ms Atkins’ response suggests what supporters of the amnesty feared, that Boris Johnson has abandoned his plans to introduce an amnesty for undocumented migrants.
Supporters of the amnesty are highly concerned that following Brexit, undocumented migrants will become increasingly vulnerable to labour exploitation and modern slavery. As Mr Johnson noted himself, without the correct documentation migrants cannot work lawfully nor contribute to the UK’s tax system.
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