Scottish Parliament debates UK Government's Immigration Bill

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The UK Immigration Bill will be scrutinised in the Scottish Parliament today, at the same time that it is debated in the House of Lords.

Both debates come as a coalition of housing bodies in Scotland raises serious concerns about the Bill's worrying implications for people whose lives are already fraught with insecurity.

Graham O'Neill, Policy Officer at Scottish Refugee Council said:

"There are so many serious problems with this Bill, both in terms of the content of the Bill itself, which is so damaging, and in the way that it impacts on areas, such as housing, that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

"One of our main concerns is that the Bill will create an intentionally and needlessly complex system of support for families and children who are refused asylum in the UK. People in this position already face the nightmare of desperate poverty and legal limbo as they are often unable to return to their home countries, despite being refused refugee protection in the UK.The Bill's provisions will make further holes in an already ragged safety net and we are very worried that more families will fall through this net and into abject destitution and potential exploitation.

"The 'right to rent' provision that requires private landlords to check tenants' immigration status is both deeply inappropriate and an invitation to discrimination.

"We, along with our colleagues in the housing sector in Scotland, urge the Scottish Parliament to call for a halt to this Bill, at the very least in terms of the Bill's application in Scotland."

Read the full statement signed by:

John Wilkes Scottish Refugee Council,

John Blackwood, Chief Executive, Scottish Association of Landlords

Alison Phipps, Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, University of Glasgow

Graeme Brown, Director, Shelter Scotland

John Wilkes, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council 

Mary Taylor, Chief Executive, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations

Sarah Craig, Senior Lecturer in Public Law, University of Glasgow 

Robert Aldridge, Chief Executive, Homeless Action Scotland

Dr Richard W Whitecross, Lecturer in Law, Edinburgh Napier University 

Robina Qureshi, Positive Action in Housing

Kirsty Thomson, Legal Services Agency