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Upper Tribunal immigration judge recruitment drive

So the Judicial Appointments Commission is seeking to recruit “up to 20″ fee paid Deputy Judges of the Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber and six salaried Judges of the Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber. The former are paid £595 per day for up to 30 days per year. The latter are paid £130,875.

Applications close noon 30 September 2014 if you are interested!

It seems all but certain that statutory appeal rights are to be curtailed from October 2014, and these new judges should be available as the corresponding increase in judicial review applications starts to take effect.

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Coming back from my break and looking through various updates, I was struck by a series of articles on citizenship and nationality laws in the event of Scottish independence following the vote this Thursday. Some of these seem to me fundamentally to misunderstand the independence process as it is likely to operate. Citizens of a newly independent Scotland would not generally retain British citizenship: that is the whole point of independence, after all. However, some Scots would qualify for dual citizenship of the new Scotland and the remainder or rest of the UK (‘rUK’).

In an article by Nick Barber appearing on the UK Constitutional Law Association blog and on the Scottish Constitutional Futures Forum it is suggested that Scots would be forced by rUK to make a choice between citizenship of rUK and citizenship of the new Scotland, and that dual citizenship would not be available. This seems to me to be extremely unlikely and to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding.

Continue Reading…

Float list

Want to know what it was like stuck on the float list at Hatton Cross today? Read Emily Dugan’s excellent write up in The Independent. We weren’t the only ones. Several cases were adjourned off to future dates, including cases in which my Garden Court colleagues Taimour Lay and Peter Jorro were instructed. Huge waste of time and very expensive for our privately paying clients.

UPDATE: see also Grey and hopeless: The grim reality of immigration tribunals by Ian Dunt, who was also with us.

immigration enforcement

UPDATE: It is reported she is now detained at Yarl’s Wood and faces removal on Thursday.

The Guardian is reporting that Isabella Acevedo, former Immigration Minister Mark Harper’s former cleaner, was arrested at her daughter’s wedding on Friday last week. Fifteen blackshirts burst in along with a few regular police officers just before the ceremony, it is said. The Daily Mail picked up the story but it does not seem to have been picked up elsewhere.

Trenton Oldfield, the Australian who successfully resisted deportation after disrupting the Oxford-Cambridge boat race, tried to film the arrest. You can see what happened in a short clip on the Guardian website. Continue Reading…

Syrian visa refusal rate chart
Syrian visa refusal rate chart

I was just taking a look at the official immigration statistics to compare refusal rates for different nationalities. This jumped out at me, though: the refusal rate for visa applications by Syrians now stands at 57%. There was a 16 percentage point jump in the refusal rate between 3rd and 4th quarters 2011 and it is now double the refusal rate before the conflict began. The number of applications remains steady throughout the period.

The conflict really got going in the 2nd quarter of 2011. Combined with the admission of a mere 24 Syrians under the much vaunted UK resettlement programme, it rather calls into question UK humanitarian commitment.

See volume 2 of the data.

Academics make bad immigration cops? Who knew?

So, the Home Office was doing such a bad job of immigration control that it decided to outsource its responsibilities to employers, then universities, then doctors and now, under the Immigration Act 2014, private citizen landlords. But the same Home Office is surprised and horrified that these institutions are no better at immigration control than its own trained immigration officers! Who could possibly have guessed? If ever an example were needed of ideologically driven privatisation being both morally inappropriate and practically insane, surely this is it.

chief inspector logo

Just a quick one to flag up a new report by Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine into the European Casework Directorate at the Home Office. The report is generally quite positive but the emphasis of the press release, introductory text and subsequent press reports is on potentially abuse of EU rights. John Vine himself says:

I found significant attempted abuse by non-EEA nationals applying on the basis of marriage or civil partnership with a European citizen. There were sham marriages and marriages by proxy (the couple remained in the UK and both were represented by others at the overseas wedding ceremony). Most of the proxies were found not to have been valid.

Some interesting snippets for fellow lawyers:

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Passport production line

Last year, in 2013, the Home Office launched its #beatthepeak campaign to warn holidaymakers to apply early for passports. In the space of a year we’ve gone from a social media campaign showing smoothly oiled machines churning out shiny new passports by the second to leaked photos showing the applications stacked up in meeting rooms.

From this: Continue Reading…