All Articles: Asylum

The displaced talent scheme: helping refugees apply for UK work permits

I am announcing that those displaced by conflict and violence will now also be able to benefit from access to our global points-based immigration system. To enable skilled displaced people who have had to flee their homes to come to the UK safely and ...

20th July 2021 By

Briefing: the Nationality and Borders Bill, Part 4 (modern slavery)

Part 4 of the Nationality and Borders Bill addresses modern slavery and human trafficking. The Home Office’s goals for reform in this area are, as ever, focused on criminality. The Home Secretary has promised that the Bill will “break the busi ...

19th July 2021 By

Analysis: the Borders Bill and the Refugee Convention

Under the sub-heading “Interpretation of Refugee Convention“, clauses 27-35 of the Nationality and Borders Bill 2021 seek to accomplish four main tasks: Translate some EU asylum law, currently residing in secondary legislation, into primar ...

16th July 2021 By

Briefing: the Nationality and Borders Bill, Part 2 (asylum)

MPs will give the Nationality and Borders Bill 2021 its second reading on 19 July. One of the Bill’s main objectives is to make the asylum system “fairer and more effective”. Most of the clauses supposedly directed to that purpose ar ...

16th July 2021 By

Book review: The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law, edited by Costello, Foster and McAdam

The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law, edited by Cathryn Costello, Michelle Foster and Jane McAdam and published in June 2021, is a massive book in every sense. Some five years in the making, running to 1,258 pages, consisting of 65 chapter ...

15th July 2021 By

Double win for refugees seeking backdated benefits

The Court of Session in Scotland and the High Court in England and Wales have both ruled that newly recognised refugees have a right to claim backdated child tax credit. The cases are Adnan, Petitioners [2021] CSOH 63 and R (DK) v Her Majesty’s ...

7th July 2021 By

Priti Patel’s Borders Bill caters for fantasy refugees, not real ones

Imagine that you are – for the sake of argument – involved in a democracy movement in a post-Soviet dictatorship. Recently the police picked you up, beat the hell out of you and assaulted you in ways you’d rather not dwell on. Then they booted y ...

6th July 2021 By

The Nationality and Borders Bill 2021: first impressions

The much-hyped Nationality and Borders Bill is here. It mainly addresses asylum issues but there are some nationality provisions included as well, which we have already covered and will return to in another article soon. My first impressions, reading ...

6th July 2021 By

Parts of Home Office policy on Dublin III family reunion declared unlawful

Hundreds of refugee children denied reunion with family in the UK may be able to challenge that decision following a ruling that Home Office policy on “Dublin III” transfers is in part unlawful. The case is R (Safe Passage International) v ...

5th July 2021 By

Borders Bill to make asylum seeking a crime

“Illegal immigration to be turned into a criminal offence in landmark borders bill”, the Sunday Express reports. The idea that unauthorised immigration is insufficiently criminalised will surprise legislators who have spent much of the pas ...

5th July 2021 By

Immigration tribunal can reject expert evidence

The Court of Appeal has ruled that an immigration tribunal is not obliged to accept the conclusions of an expert witness. The case of MS (Zimbabwe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 941 confirms that a tribunal is required t ...

29th June 2021 By

High Court strikes down pandemic protections for refused asylum seekers

The High Court has overturned a tribunal judgment that had instructed the Home Office to house refused asylum seekers until lockdown restrictions end. The decision in R (Secretary of State for the Home Department) v First-tier Tribunal (Social Entitle ...

24th June 2021 By

Should people displaced by climate change be considered refugees?

No matter how devastating may be epidemic, natural disaster or famine, a person fleeing them is not a refugee within the terms of the Convention. A v Minister for Immigration & Ethnic Affairs [1997] HCA 4 (Aus HC) As the High Court of Australia hi ...

18th June 2021 By

Refugee Week: asylum in the UK, by numbers

Copy: Refugee Week 2020Infogram This week is Refugee Week. From 14-20 June 2021, the UK celebrates the contribution of refugees and promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary. The infographic above draws on government figures to illust ...

17th June 2021 By

Can asylum seekers work while waiting for a decision on their case?

A recent technical error cutting countless asylum seekers off from their already-meagre support payments of £39.63 a week has shed light on the difficulties those applying for asylum face in meeting their basic needs while their claims are being cons ...

16th June 2021 By

What is the legal definition of a “refugee”?

This week is Refugee Week. On Free Movement we try to communicate complex legal issues in immigration and asylum law in a clear way and here we answer the question “what is a refugee?” Before we get to that, we have loads of content about ...

15th June 2021 By

What is the difference between refugee status and humanitarian protection?

On the face of it, refugee status and humanitarian protection seem like two sides of the same coin. Both are a form of international protection granted to a person in need. Both result in a grant of five years’ permission to remain in the UK on ...

14th June 2021 By

Game-changer for Sri Lankan Tamil activists seeking asylum in the UK

The new Sri Lanka country guidance judgment in KK and RS (Sur place activities, risk) Sri Lanka (CG) [2021] UKUT 130 (IAC) “clarifies and supplements” the previous decision in GJ and others [2013] UKUT 319 (IAC) “with particular reference to sur ...

7th June 2021 By

High Court condemns treatment of asylum seekers unlawfully held at Napier barracks

The High Court has condemned the treatment of asylum seekers crammed into a former military barracks in Kent. In a judgment laying bare the vile conditions at Napier barracks, Mr Justice Linden found that the site did not meet minimum legal standards ...

3rd June 2021 By

Home Office accidentally discriminates against trafficking victims with kids

The High Court has declared that an anomaly in the benefits system which disadvantages victims of trafficking who receive asylum support is discriminatory and in breach of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Unusually, the Secretary ...

2nd June 2021 By

Why Priti Patel’s asylum plan won’t fix the Channel crossings “crisis”

Priti Patel’s announcement of her “New Plan for Immigration” left many of us wondering what semblance of planning had gone into the proposals. The consultation that closed on 6 May raises similar questions given the misleading format of ...

19th May 2021 By

Prosecutions for assisting unlawful immigration in small boats cases: the key to acquittal

On 13 May 2021, my client Fouad Kakaei was unanimously acquitted of assisting unlawful immigration at his retrial following a successful appeal against conviction, the reporting restriction for which will now be lifted. The appeal and subsequent acqui ...

17th May 2021 By

“Hand on the tiller” prosecution for assisting unlawful immigration fails

Fouad Kakaei is an Iranian man who helped steer small boats carrying asylum seekers across the English Channel on two separate occasions, in July and December 2019. He also attempted to cross on several other occasions. Following the July 2019 crossin ...

14th May 2021 By

How important are FGM Protection Orders in asylum claims?

Readers may be forgiven for thinking that, where the Family Court finds that a person is at risk of female genital mutilation and makes a Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO), it will feed into the asylum consideration process. Not so. O ...

5th May 2021 By

Home Office can’t just ignore potential persecution even if there is no asylum claim

The Home Office’s compartmentalised approach to applications for permission to stay in the UK can sometimes cause problems. Not everyone’s claim fits neatly into pre-defined categories. So what happens when there is overlap between, for insta ...

23rd April 2021 By

Home Office can make exceptions to rules stopping asylum seekers working

The Upper Tribunal has declared the government’s strict policy on asylum seekers working to be unlawful because it doesn’t mention that exceptions can be made. The case is R (C6) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (asylum seekers ...

22nd April 2021 By

Stripping someone of refugee status doesn’t mean they can be deported

The European Court of Human Rights in K.I. v France (application no. 5560/19) has re-affirmed that refugee status is declaratory and revocation of a person’s refugee status under French and EU law does not prevent that person from continuing to be a ...

21st April 2021 By

Why sticking to the Refugee Convention still matters

When someone says that refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, what they really mean is that other countries should look after refugees. They want others to do what they would not do themselves. Their words are really addres ...

1st April 2021 By

Latest asylum plan won’t have the impact its supporters or opponents think

There is a lot that is familiar in the New Plan for Immigration. The government argues that its proposals are “firm but fair”, language eerily reminiscent of a 1998 Blair-era white paper entitled Fairer, Faster and Firmer. One thing that i ...

25th March 2021 By

A first look at the “New Plan for Immigration”

Today the Home Office published a new plan for immigration with the title, somehow both grandiloquent and banal, New Plan for Immigration. It is mainly concerned with asylum and people who enter the UK illegally (those two concepts being subtly mashed ...

24th March 2021 By

What is actually going on at the Home Office? A guide for journalists

We’ve seen a constant drip of leaks about the UK’s “broken” asylum system and how the upcoming Borders Bill or Sovereign Borders Bill or New Plan For Immigration or whatever it’s called will be the “biggest overhaul ...

23rd March 2021 By

Supreme Court reiterates that a refugee cannot be removed until claim is assessed

The Supreme Court has reiterated that — for now — UK law prohibits removal of a person “who can be understood to seek refugee status” and who has an outstanding asylum claim or appeal. The case is G v G [2021] UKSC 9 and invol ...

19th March 2021 By

Does the policy of deterring asylum seekers actually work?

With a recent inspection revealing the squalor in which refugees are housed when they reach the United Kingdom, the ensuing closure of Penally barracks but the continued operation of Napier, and yet more deterrent policies being trailed this morning, ...

18th March 2021 By