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Why a 'Hostile Environment' will come back to bite our families and friends

April 30, 2018 3:16 PM
By Tony Clayton


Dear Editor

It is never good to feel ashamed of your own government, but many in Sevenoaks will have experienced just that over the Windrush scandal.

We may have hoped that it's an isolated incident, but it isn't. It happened to one of my colleagues at work.

She is a Commonwealth citizen, working for the civil service for over a decade now. A skilled economist, she impressed her employers so much that they invested £25,000 in a masters degree for her at a top Canadian University. That was one of the excuses (being out of the country for a year) that the Home Office used to try to revoke her visa and throw her out of Britain.

We thought it was a mistake. But the Home Office (then run by our current Prime Minister) ploughed on and made her life frightening for months. The campaign against her got more absurd, despite letters from top officials in other government departments, until it ended up in court.

The judge took 5 minutes to throw out the case and tell the Home Office that it was wasting public money and valuable talent. This was in 2012, just as the 'hostile environment' policy got under way.

Here in Sevenoaks there are hundreds of families, not just mine, including EU and other nationals who will be vulnerable to this sort of harassment in future. The policy has to stop if we want to feel safe in our own country - and proud of it.

Yours sincerely

Cllr. Tony Clayton