THE SNP have called for transparency over reports the Home Office is ramping up its “hostile environment” strategy by attempting to embed immigration officials in public services such as the NHS and local authorities, as well as private firms, as part of an “enhanced checking service”.

According to reports in The Observer, the Home Office is selling the services of immigration officials to public services and private companies in order to “hunt migrants”. Organisations taking part in the scheme are offered access to information on a person’s immigration status, and the “embedded” officials can make sure migrants are either charged for services or denied access to them.

They also have the power to pass details of undocumented migrants to immigration enforcement officers.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said: “Manipulating vital services in this way is unacceptable. In the wake of the Windrush scandal, it’s imperative the Tory Government comes clean and offers transparency about the details of this secretive scheme. Home Office ‘hostile environment’ policies are damaging our economy, driving people away from Scotland and harming those who call Scotland home.

“The SNP has consistently called on the Tories and Labour to ditch their toxic anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, and instead back a sensible, evidence-based immigration policy that recognises the huge benefits to our economy and society.”