Migrant Work, Gender and the Hostile Environment: A Human Rights Analysis – Industrial Law Journal

‘This article addresses work-related and gendered harms of the “hostile environment”, a set of measures implemented through the Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016, which aims to make life in the UK impossible for irregular migrants. The hostile environment criminalises work without legal status, facilitates data sharing between public bodies and immigration enforcement, and restricts access services and benefits. The article examines factors that can make women susceptible to irregularity and exposure to hostile environment measures, and distinctive forms of gendered harm such as workplace sexual harassment. It argues that the detrimental impacts of the hostile environment contravene international and regional human rights obligations. Barring certain migrants from access to the labour market may violate the socio-economic right to work and/ or the right to private and family life, while a lack of access to legal remedy or labour inspection fuelled can violate migrants’ right to decent work and undermine protections against forced labour. The UK’s recent ratification of the Council of Europe’s “Istanbul Convention” and ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment at work signifies a renewed commitment to safeguarding women regardless of migration status, but the universalistic potential of these instruments is undermined by the hostile environment’s continued operation.’

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Industrial Law Journal, March 2024

Source: academic.oup.com