On the 26th May the UK Visas and Immigration Service (UKVI) restricted biometric testing so that it now has to take place at an immigration centre, which means women we work with all over London must now travel to Croydon. Many are in fear for their safety from perpetrators, have been left destitute with no recourse to public funds and are scared of immigration enforcement. For these vulnerable women, traveling to Croydon is a daunting and costly prospect which creates an unnecessary barrier to securing their immigration status.
The UKVI requires immigration applicants to submit their fingerprint and photo as part of their application to regularise their immigration status. Up until the 26th May applicants were able to this at a local post office, saving them the time, money and trauma of traveling to an intimidating immigration centre miles away. This system worked well.
The UKVI and Home Office made this unnecessary change without consultation despite assuring Rights of Women, the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA), The Law Society and others that they would consult on any changes at a meeting in early 2019.
Last year we worked with 444 women with no recourse to public funds across our services, and supported 130 women through our Immigration Advice Line. We stand with Southall Black Sisters, Latin American Women’s Rights and other sister organisations in urging the UKVI and Home Office to withdraw the change.
Read the full letter from Southall Black Sisters that we signed setting out the issues and asking for action from the Government .