The Hostile Environment During Coronavirus

Following on from our research into migrant access to healthcare during coronavirus, we have been working hard to raise awareness of the impact of the Hostile Environment on migrant communities in the lockdown, and to show how we are building coalitions to resist these policies. Find out more below!


This week, Akram Salhab joined Ayeisha Thomas-Smith from the New Economics Foundation, and Zoe Gardner from JCWI, for the NEF weekly podcast on the Hostile Environment during coronavirus

The end of June marked the anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush Generation in the UK, and sparked renewed conversations about the Hostile Environment. UK immigration policies have stopped migrants from getting healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite a government exemption from immigration checks and fees. Just this week, MPs passed a new immigration bill which ends freedom of movement and introduces a point-based system instead.

So, how has the Hostile Environment affected people, particularly during the pandemic? Have migrants been hit harder by Covid-19? And what does the new immigration bill mean for migrant communities in the UK? Listen to the podcast to find out, and much more besides!


Dr Kathryn Medièn, Lecturer in Sociology at The Open University, conducted an interview via email of the authors of the recent Patients Not Passports: Migrants’ Access to Healthcare During the Coronavirus Crisis report. Patients Not Passports is a campaign to challenge and organise against the imposition of border controls within healthcare institutions in England.

In the report, Akram Salhab, Aliya Yule, James Skinner (Medact) and Daniel Button (New Economics Foundation) present new vital research into the barriers to healthcare faced by migrants and BME populations in Britain during the Coronavirus pandemic. In the interview, Kathryn asks them about their key findings, how barriers to healthcare intersect with other social issues, and how we can all work to challenge internal border controls within healthcare institutions.

Read the full interview over at the Open University here.

Sign the petition!

If you haven’t already, make sure you sign our petition to ensure that everyone can safely access healthcare in the UK during the pandemic, regardless of immigration status. Join nearly 30,000 others to demand that the Government urgently end the Hostile Environment, and treat #PatientsNotPassports – sign the petition now.