Continued and intensified hostility: the problematisation of immigration in the UK Government’s 2021 ‘New Plan for Immigration’

Griffiths, Clare and Trebilcock, Julie ORCID logoORCID: (2022) Continued and intensified hostility: the problematisation of immigration in the UK Government’s 2021 ‘New Plan for Immigration’. Critical Social Policy . ISSN 0261-0183 [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1177/02610183221109133)

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Drawing on Bacchi’s (2009) ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’ framework, this paper provides a critical analysis of HM Government’s (2021a) New Plan for Immigration. We explore how immigration is problematised, the assumptions that underlie these problematisations, alternative ways of representing the ‘problem’ of immigration, and the possible effects of the proposed reforms. Our paper demonstrates how the New Plan is increasingly hostile towards, not only ‘illegal’ migrants, but an ever-widening group of people and organisations who may be viewed as facilitating illegal entry (organised criminals, hauliers) and/or those held responsible for preventing/delaying their removal (lawyers). The government’s proposals risk creating a two-tiered system, increasing the exclusion experienced by those seeking asylum, and widening the net of those held responsible for immigration control. Ultimately, we conclude that while the sentiments behind the government’s New Plan may not be all that ‘new’, they are nevertheless significant for their continuation and intensification of existing hostile policies and practices relating to immigration in the UK. This is especially so, given a number of recent global events that could have provided an opportunity to disrupt the government’s problematisation of, and hostility towards, people seeking refuge.

Item Type: Article
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 35119
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2022.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
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Depositing User: Julie Trebilcock
Date Deposited: 27 May 2022 09:48
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2023 15:05

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