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New laws will give the government powers to circumnavigate data protection laws in the interest of “immigration control”. The clause was included in recent data protection legislation and campaigners have raised concerns about what this means for privacy rights.
If the legislation is allowed to continue, millions of migrants could have their information stored and shared without their knowledge. This data might be inaccurate or out-of-date, but they will not be able to access it to correct it or delete it. It also won’t be clear who has processed their data and why.
The civil rights group Liberty has condemned the changes as a “shameless attempt” to strip millions of their privacy rights. They have described it as “brazen discrimination”. In a statement on their website, it says: “If passed, this clause would strip migrants of the right to have their personal information processed lawfully, fairly and transparently when it is being processed for immigration control purposes, regardless of their immigration status.”
Liberty also talk about the risks of how this clause could be used moving forward. They warn: “This broad exemption may have been inserted in anticipation of increased monitoring of EU nationals after Brexit.”
This is the latest move from the government to create a “hostile environment” for those living in the UK illegally. In October, a highly controversial policy was rolled out that would require health workers in the NHS to check the immigration status of those seeking treatment. And at the start of 2018, banks are scheduled to check the accounts of 70 million individuals in order to put pressure on illegal immigrants to leave the country.
A spokesperson for the Government said that the proposed changes will ensure they can support criminal justice agencies and national security agencies. If you’re concerned about any of the issues mentioned in this article and want to clarify your position, get in touch with our team. If you’re concerned about how the Home Office plans to create a “hostile environment” might affect you and your family, our team of expert immigration advisors may be able to help.