The provisions of the Immigration Act 2016 are now rapidly rolling out, stripping many important rights from migrants and refugees as they do so. The English or Welsh language requirements for public sector workers came into force on 21 November. A Code of Practice directed to public sector employers sets out what is expected from them. The workers who will need to meet these standards of language are all staff who work in customer-facing roles including permanent and fixed-term employees, apprentices, self-employed contractors, agency temps, police officers and service personnel.
The immigration policies which Theresa May and her home secretary, Amber Rudd, revealed at the Conservative party conference last week seem to have got short shrift from just about everyone.
There has been much speculation over the cause of this spike in hate crime and hate speech. Was it closet racists who thought the referendum result legitimised their views and made it acceptable to tell those they considered ‘foreign’ to ‘go home’? Was it the result of the political campaigning around the referendum and the anti-migrant/anti-free movement of labour stance taken by the campaigning groups? Was it pent up frustration from years of austerity measures that erupted into some people blaming anyone who appeared to come from another country, a distinction based on skin colour, looks or language spoken? Probably a mixture of all these and more causes.
The operation directed against migrant employees of the fast food chain, Byron Hamburgers by Home Office Border enforcement officials on the evening of 4th July has sparked a lively discussion about the extent to which employers should be held to any sort of standard why it comes to a duty of care towards its workers.
Eighty years after the Battle of Cable Street in which the East End Jewish community and anti-fascists stopped Moseley’s Blackshirts marching through a migrant community, there are reports of a rise in anti-migrant feeling, abuse and attacks following the narrow pro-Brexit vote on 23 June.