Thank you to those who have contacted me about undocumented migrants in the UK.
I appreciate the points you make about the challenges that those in the UK with irregular immigration status will be facing, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government has said it has no plans to create a new route for people wishing to regularise their immigration status.
The Government has emphasised that the current Immigration Rules already enable the status of undocumented migrants (in the UK for some time and otherwise compliant with the law) to be regularised in some circumstances. People in this situation may make an application for leave to remain where there are grounds to do so. This includes:
- Adults who: have lived continuously in the UK for at least 20 years; are aged between 18 and 25 years and have spent at least half of their life living here; or, have lived continuously in the UK for less than 20 years, but there would be very significant obstacles to their integration into the country of return, or;
- Children (under 18 years), who have lived continuously in the UK for seven years where it would not be reasonable for them to leave.
In addition to these immigration routes, undocumented migrants may claim asylum if appropriate considering the situation in their country of origin. For those who do not meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules, there is provision for a grant of leave where there are exceptional circumstances or compelling compassionate grounds which would mean refusal would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant. Each application is considered on its merits, taking into account individual circumstances.
No one should fear accessing medical advice from our NHS for an immigration reason. It is therefore right that anyone currently in the UK, regardless of their immigration status, can be tested or treated for coronavirus. No immigration checks are needed.