£48,000 damages awarded to torture survivor for injuries suffered during deportation attempt

Following a seven-day hearing in the High Court, Mr Felix Wamala, a Ugandan national, was awarded £48,000 in damages for the actions of private security guards contracted by the Home Office in seeking to remove him from the UK. This is the case of Wamala v Tascor Services Ltd [2017] EWHC 1461. The judgment is a mammoth one, weighing in at 558 paragraphs plus annexes. Mr Wamala’s claim concerned the use of force, and the threatened use of force, against him by employees of Reliance, now known as Tascor Services Ltd. Tascor is a subsidiary of Capita. As they say on their website: As part of Capita PLC, we have the…

17th July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Independent Monitoring Board release critical report on charter flight removals

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) has published its annual review of the treatment of returnees during charter flights. It reported four headline concerns: firstly, that force and restraint had been used without due checks and for too long; secondly, that escorts employed by contractors were in charge of selecting which returnees may speak to the Chief Immigration Officer for advice on their legal rights during the flight, and that on one flight the advice itself was delegated to the escorts; thirdly that returnees were taken to Stansted Airport at night on certain flights; and finally that those who wished to use the toilet either on the coach or the aeroplane…

10th July 2017 By Paul Erdunast

What are the terms of the immigration “amnesty” for survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster?

The Home Office this week published a new policy setting out the terms of a 12 month immigration “amnesty” for survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire. In short, the Government is offering a grant (or extension) of 12 months leave to enter or remain with access public funds included as well as the right to work. Applications must be made before 31 August 2017. There is no formal application form that must be used and no fee is payable, nor is the Immigration Health Surcharge. This policy is additional to the Government’s previous assurance that immigration checks will not be carried out on Grenfell Tower survivors, an assurance reiterated in…

7th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

The hostile environment: what is it and who does it affect?

What is the hostile environment? The “hostile environment” for migrants is a package of measures designed to make life so difficult for individuals without permission to remain that they will not seek to enter the UK to begin with or if already present will leave voluntarily. It is inextricably linked to the net migration target; the hostile environment is intended to reduce inward migration and increase outward emigration. The hostile environment includes measures to limit access to work, housing, health care, bank accounts and to reduce and restrict rights of appeal against Home Office decisions. The majority of these proposals became law via the Immigration Act 2014, and have since been…

29th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

Crowdfunding campaign for JCWI challenge to “right to rent” scheme

Can untrained landlords and agents tell if you have a legal right to be in the UK? Should unpaid landlords and agents have to do the Government’s job of immigration enforcement for them? If you look or sound ‘foreign’ why would a landlord take the risk of prison or a fine to let to you? JCWI has begun pre-action correspondence to ensure that the Right to Rent scheme is not rolled out further without a full evaluation of discrimination under the scheme and whether or not the scheme is working. Your pledge will help us: Fund our work, and possibly pay for experts, to prepare the evidence we and others have gathered for…

26th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

INTERPOL “wanted” alerts: using them as evidence and making them go away

This post discusses issues arising for asylum practitioners from INTERPOL “wanted person” notices. The key points are (i) you can find out, possibly quite quickly, if there is such a notice in place, which in the affirmative may help to establish a risk of persecution; and (ii) if there is a notice in place, you can challenge it to ensure your client does not face a risk of arrest when s/he travels. For full legal geekery on this topic, see my recent article, cited with approval by the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (see here). INTERPOL alert = evidence of…

10th May 2017 By Alex Tinsley

Home Office belatedly issues guidance on Operation Nexus

Operation Nexus was officially launched in November 2012, a law enforcement initiative aimed at deporting more ‘high harm’ foreign nationals. It has been criticised on many occasions for its opacity, and the lack of any publicly available policies which govern its implementation. See, for example, our previous post: Operation Nexus for dummies: happening now, in our time. Last month, 4 ½ years into its operation, the Home Office finally issued some guidance. What is Operation Nexus? According to the note, there are broadly two strands to Operation Nexus: Nexus Custody – Immigration Officers (IOs) deployed to designated police custody suites to examine all foreign nationals who are arrested. Cases identified as…

24th April 2017 By Nick Nason

New research suggests depriving migrants of driving licenses harms road safety

Interesting, given that the UK is now doing exactly the opposite by taking away driving licences for migrants with no status (and some who do have status but where the Home Office makes a mistake): States that let unauthorized immigrants get driver’s licenses make their roads safer for all, a new study suggests. After implementing one such law in January 2015, California saw a 7- to 10-percent statewide drop in hit-and-run accidents that year, Stanford researchers report Monday in PNAS. That equates to roughly 4,000 fewer hit-and-runs for the year. In that time frame, more than 600,000 unauthorized immigrants got licenses, and the numbers of accidents and traffic fatalities were…

12th April 2017 By Colin Yeo

Student accused of ETS fraud found to have been unlawfully detained

In R (on the application of Iqbal) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWHC 79 (Admin) the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) was found to have unlawfully detained a claimant whom they had alleged had fraudulently obtained an Educational Test Service (ETS) certificate to show that he spoke English to the level required for his immigration application. The Home Office decided to remove him under s.10 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. However both these decisions were made whilst the claimant was temporarily out of the country. Nonetheless, the SSHD proceeded to detain him 2 weeks later on his return to Heathrow on the basis that they…

15th March 2017 By Chris McWatters

Exit strategies: Removing unauthorised immigrants is difficult and expensive | The Economist

Worth a read, and I’m not just saying that because I’m quoted: Britain is the only European country to allow indefinite detention under immigration laws. Some of those held are migrants who have committed crimes but cannot be removed, because their home countries are too dangerous. But of those detained last year, more than two-fifths ended up being released. This suggests poor decision-making about who is detained in the first place, says Colin Yeo, an immigration lawyer… In recent years Britain’s government has shifted its focus to trying to persuade unauthorised immigrants to leave of their own accord. In 2013 Mrs May, then the home secretary, put up posters and…

6th March 2017 By Colin Yeo

The case of Irene Clennell and the rules on returning residents with ILR

One one level the case of Irene Clennell is shocking. She was previously settled in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and has recently been the main carer for her sick British husband, John, and she has two British sons and a British granddaughter. Press reports differ on the background, with some reports that she was resident in the UK for 30 years and other reports suggesting a much shorter period. Nevertheless, the Home Office have taken the view that she is unlawfully resident in the UK and she was detained at an immigration detention centre and then removed to Singapore. On another level, Clennell’s case is entirely unsurprising. Just…

27th February 2017 By Colin Yeo

What is the no recourse to public funds condition?

The “no recourse to public funds” condition is imposed on grants of limited leave to enter or remain with the effect of prohibiting the person holding that leave from accessing certain defined public funds. A person who claims public funds despite such a condition is committing a criminal offence and there may well be future immigration consequences as well, as any existing leave can be curtailed or a future application refused. Additionally, section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 prevents migrants from accessing a range of welfare benefits unless they fall into one of the very limited exceptions. What is the legal basis for the “no recourse to public funds”…

21st February 2017 By Colin Yeo

Overstaying and applying for further leave: end of the 28 day grace period

A new set of requirements for overstayers who apply for leave to enter or remain in the UK was introduced late last year. In short, the 28 day grace period for overstayers was abolished and replaced with a very limited 14 day limit, but only where a “good reason” was also given for a late application. The change is expected to lead to an increase in the number of refused applications. People applying for leave to remain after the expiry of a previous period of leave will have less time to apply, and may have more obstacles to overcome. The changes are introduced in Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC…

6th February 2017 By Colin Yeo

NHS shares patient data of suspected immigration offenders with Home Office

‘Patient confidentiality is one of the most important pillars of medicine’, explains Dr Vivienne Nathanson, previously Head of Science and Ethics at the British Medical Association. Can patient information be shared without consent? The general principle is that patient information is confidential and can only be disclosed to third parties without consent in very limited situations. These situations include, for example, where it would prevent the spread of an infectious disease or where there is a suspicion that a child is suffering, or is at risk of suffering, significant harm. There are also circumstances in which health professionals may be obliged to share confidential patient information where it would be…

1st February 2017 By Nick Nason

Home Office fails to act on recommendations of family returns advisers

The Home Office has belatedly published the reports of the Independent Family Returns Panel for 2012 to 2014 and 2014 to 2016. Home Office responses have been published in parallel. Why the Home Office was withholding from publication for so long the 2012-14 report is something of a mystery. The panel is made up of medical and child safeguarding experts, was established on 1 March 2011 to provide independent case-by-case advice to the Home Office on how to best safeguard children’s welfare during a family’s enforced return. The panel was put on a statutory footing by the Immigration Act 2014. Members are generally retired from senior posts including with social services, the police,…

19th January 2017 By Colin Yeo

New Home Office policy on administrative removals

Two new Home Office policies were published today: Criminal investigations (Immigration Enforcement) Liability to administrative removal (non-EEA): consideration and notification The one on administrative removal lools particularly important. It covers categories for administrative removal (overstayers, workers in breach, etc), types of illegal entry, no evidence of lawful entry cases, liability to removal, forms of deception, overstaying and extended leave, notification, curtailment and removal under previous legislation. The policy recognises that under the version of section 10 of the Immigration Act 1999 introduced by the Immigration Act 2014, deception no longer triggers a power to remove and instead curtailment action must now be pursued.

18th January 2017 By Colin Yeo

Fair dismissal for failure to produce evidence of right to work in UK | Personnel Today

An employment tribunal held that an employee was fairly dismissed after failing to produce evidence of his right to work in the UK. Interesting, if depressing. Hopefully this will be going up to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, if only so that we can see the law and reasoning behind it in a published determination. Source: Fair dismissal for failure to produce evidence of right to work in UK | Personnel Today

5th December 2016 By Colin Yeo

“Remove first, appeal later” provisions in force from today: new guidance published

The power under the Immigration Act 2016 to certify any human rights appeal, not just deportation appeals, for “remove first, appeal later” treatment came into force today, 1 December 2016. For background see this earlier blog post: New commencement order introduces out of country human rights appeals and more. Guidance has today been updated on how the power should be exercised by immigration officials: Section 94B of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Amongst the general updating, a new part has been added on the “phased implementation for non deport cases”. This part of the guidance applies the new power only to cases where the appellant did not have…

1st December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Removal Windows, Injunctions and Out of Country Appeals: The Acceleration of Enforced Removals

At the beginning of this month the Home Office brought into force new guidance on the suspension of removal directions for pending judicial reviews. There are two crucial changes to the policy: (1) At present, when a judicial review is brought within 3 months of a previous judicial review or appeal, the Home Office will only suspend removal on receipt of an injunction. This period is now extended to 6 months. (2) The second is new, building on the new removals process established by the Immigration Act 2014. Where a person is notified that they are liable to removal, the Home Office gives 7 days (or 72 hours if a person…

21st November 2016 By Lotte Lewis Smith

Prosecutions for telling the truth

In the first successful challenge to prosecutions under s.35 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc.) Act 2004, the Administrative Court in R (on the application of JM (Zimbabwe)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 1773 (Admin) held that the Home Office may not lawfully require the Claimant, under section 35 of the 2004 Act, to tell Zimbabwean officials that he agrees to return voluntarily. Facts of the case JM, a Zimbabwean national subject to deportation, was placed in immigration detention immediately on the expiry of his sentence in May 2013. The Home Office attempted to obtain an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) from the Zimbabwean…

26th July 2016 By James Packer

Home Office cancels 40% of scheduled removal flights, finds David Bolt

David Bolt, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, recently published a new report into the effectiveness of services that the Home Office outsources to private contractors, finding that inefficiency and lack of communication contribute to a waste of resources and time. The full report is available here: An Inspection of Home Of ce Outsourced Contracts for Escorted and Non-Escorted Removals and Cedars Pre-Departure Accommodation. The report focused on escorting and ticketing services in forced removals and the management of Cedars, the family Pre-Departure Accommodation Facility and identified several areas for improvement. In particular, it highlighted poor levels of collaboration between the Home Office and the different private contractors, which resulted…

31st March 2016 By Caterina Franchi

Indian student couple detained in dawn raid lose claim for unlawful detention

UPDATE 10/2/16: the judge has withdrawn the judgment. A married Indian couple detained in a dawn raid have lost their claim for unlawful detention. After successfully studying in the UK for some years, Ms Joshi’s latest application ran into problems when the college to which she applied to study a PhD was struck from the register of approved colleges. She was unable to find a new college in the 60 day grace period and so put in an application for more time. In the application she also claimed that her removal would breach her human rights. Her husband, Mr Thomas, applied at the same time as her dependent. The application was refused but…

9th February 2016 By Colin Yeo

Secretary of State removes appellant then claims appeal abandoned…

Well, this was a bit cheeky. A woman with an outstanding in-country immigration appeal was removed by the Home Office when she should not have been. The Home Office then argued that her appeal had to be treated as abandoned becuase of section 92(8) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 as amended by the Immigration Act 2014, which reads: An appeal under section 82(1) brought by a person while he is in the United Kingdom shall be treated as abandoned if the appellant … (b) leaves the United Kingdom. This is the replacement for section 104 of the same Act, which was in similar terms and was in force for many…

29th January 2016 By Colin Yeo

Section 117C is limited to deportation cases, does not apply in removal cases

Section 117C is found to be limited to deportation cases (i.e. where a deportation order is in issue) and not to be applicable in removal cases which happen to involve a foreign national offender. The case is Clarke (Section 117C – limited to deportation) [2015] UKUT 628 (IAC) and the headnote reads: That section 117C of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 is applicable only in deportation cases is made clear in section 117A(2) which, in directing the court or tribunal to the considerations involved when looking at the public interest question, clearly distinguishes between those cases that involve deportation from those that do not. Section 117A(2)(b) provides for a distinct…

16th November 2015 By Colin Yeo

Court of Appeal gives judgment on the “deport first, appeal later” regime

The Court of Appeal has given judgment in the test case on the meaning and effect of the “deport first, appeal later” provisions of the Immigration Act 2014. The case is R (On the Application Of Kiarie) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 1020 and the leading judgment is given by Lord Justice Richards. The short story is that the Court finds that the Home Office has been applying the wrong legal test in these cases but that it probably does not matter and removal while one attempts to pursue an appeal will generally be acceptable.

27th October 2015 By Colin Yeo

Iraq, Islamic state & indiscriminate violence

In HM and others (Article 15(c)) Iraq CG [2012] UKUT 00409(IAC) (“HM2”) the Upper Tribunal speculated: …we consider that so far as Article 15(c) is concerned the most likely development is that the levels of violence will either continue to reduce or remain at around the same level as in 2010, 2011 and the first 9 months of 2012…. Whilst incidents in January-September 2012 demonstrate that insurgents still have the will and capability to launch multi large-scale bombings resulting in high numbers of civilian deaths, the evidence continues to indicate that their capability to carry out such attacks is diminished.

1st September 2014 By Ali Bandegani

Immigration Act 2014: removals and nationality provisions

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Immigration Act seminar

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Immigration Act seminarThis post is a brief summary of the removals and nationality provisions of the Immigration Act 2014, and is accompanied by an audio extract from a seminar given by Colin Yeo, Sadat Sayeed, Mark Symes and I at Garden Court Chambers on 13 August 2014, at which I spoke on these subjects. Colin posted his segment of the seminar here, and the final two segments will follow in due course.

18th August 2014 By Bijan Hoshi

Yashika Bageerathi and the Family Returns Process

The story of Yashika Bageerathi has touched many. A bright student brought to the UK by her mother with her siblings to escape domestic violence at home in Mauritius, she has a promising future here if allowed to remain. Because she has turned 18 and is no longer a child, though, the Home Office has apparently separated her case from that of her mother and siblings and is trying to enforce her return independently. I’m seeing some pretty odd reports on Twitter, though, so thought a bit of legal background might be useful. Basically, I can’t see how an airline can refuse to take someone who would be leaving voluntarily, albeit…

30th March 2014 By Colin Yeo

Removals process revealed to be a shambles

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has just published a damning report looking at the removals process at the Home Office. That the Home Office is not effective in conducting removals is hardly news to those of us who work in immigration law but even I was surprised by some of the stark statistics that emerge from the report. The report is surely required reading for any judges dealing with bail applications or unlawful detention cases.

26th March 2014 By Colin Yeo

Disproportionate force and offensive language used in removals

A new official report on Monitoring Places of Detention by an independent governmental monitoring body raises serious concerns about the immigration enforcement process. The private security contractors responsible are criticised for disproportionate use of force and restraint, unprofessional behaviour and use of ‘very offensive language’ in front of immigration detainees and others (see page 21):

14th March 2014 By Colin Yeo

Removals to Mogadishu are re-starting

The Home Office have started giving directions for the removal of failed asylum seekers to Mogadishu on Turkish Airline flights via Istanbul. Anyone given such removal directions might ask the Home Office to reconsider whether they risk violating their human rights in the light of the announcement by Al Shabaab on 29.12.2013 that Somalis who have returned to their homeland from abroad “have been taught garbage and sins, and have lost [their] religion and are being used [to spread evil] ” and so “will be killed and fought against in the same manner” that al-Shabaab fights against the Somali government.  “They are working for the infidels, and since they are…

21st February 2014 By Free Movement

Congolese torture memo emerges

We know from history that organised and persecutory regimes do document their own human rights abuses. Unusual to see such documents emerge while current, though.

18th February 2014 By Colin Yeo

Criminals deported to DRC are at risk says High Court

In R (on the application of P (DRC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 3879 (Admin), handed down on 9 December 2013, Mr Justice Philips held that P would be at risk of treatment in breach of Article 3 of the ECHR if deported to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He stated that he reached this conclusion “with considerable regret” [paragraph 54] but was persuaded by the objective material. The risk does not extend to failed asylum seekers for whom the position remains the same as in BK (Failed Asylum Seekers) DRC CG [2007] UKAIT 00098.

10th December 2013 By Abigail Smith

Spirited away

The harsh reality of immigration law enforcement is dramatically exposed by the facts of the case of R (on the application of Shaw & Anor) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 42 (Admin). In this case a Jamaican woman and her five year old son who had been resident in the UK since 2002 and since birth in 2005 respectively were detained at the airport without warning when they attended there as requested. They were then bundled onto the first flight to Jamaica.

18th October 2013 By Colin Yeo

Getting an appealable removal decision

Many migrants and their families get caught in a situation where they apply to the Home Office for permission to stay, are rejected but then are unable to appeal the decision to the immigration tribunal. This has long been a problem (‘Refusal with no right of appeal revisited‘) but is becoming even more acute given the terms of Appendix FM and the huge number of arbitrary refusals it is generating. Although it may well seem counterintuitive, a good outcome can be a formal removal decision from the Home Office.

23rd September 2013 By Colin Yeo

Immigration detention: what is the point?

The horrific news of sexual abuse by private security contractors at Yarlswood, the female-only immigration detention centre near Bedford, is awful and shocking. It is very far from the first time that problems or outright abuse at Yarlswood has been reported, though. Various examples from 2009 onwards can be found here, here, here, here, here. And this comes just days after Mark Harper expressed his sinister reasons for detaining pregnant women at Yarlswood. As I’ve said before: The prolonged and in some cases indefinite detention of immigrants is a stain on this society. Sometimes the detainees have committed crimes. Their immigration detention often exceeds their criminal sentence. While The Daily Mail might celebrate…

16th September 2013 By Colin Yeo

Are the UK’s mass deportation charter flights lawful?

The London-based research group Corporate Watch has just published a 20-page briefing examining the lawfulness the UK’s mass deportation charter flights. Part of a forthcoming report by Corporate Watch and the campaign group Stop Deportations, it aims to provide campaigners and legal practitioners with some arguments and tools with which to challenge the legality of these flights. This post provides a short summary of the main arguments and findings. The main focus of the briefing is Protocol No. 4 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), which prohibits the “collective expulsion of aliens.”

29th July 2013 By Shiar Youssef

Further judicial warnings on urgent injunction applications

Sir John Thomas has given a further warning to solicitors and barristers acting in urgent injunction applications. The case is R (on the application of Rehman) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 1351 (Admin). No names are named this time, at least not so far: In the present case the explanation given for everything being done at the last moment is one where those concerned, following counsel’s clear and cogent advice, did try to satisfy the obligations of disclosure. It is deeply regrettable that because of the way in which that firm was organised and the commitments of counsel that the application was made late. We take this…

23rd May 2013 By Free Movement

No Fire Zone – The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka

As most of you know, Renaissance Chambers has developed expertise in conducting Tamil asylum claims.  The issues involved in these cases have been previously covered on Free Movement here and these include in particular Chambers’ and the NGOs’ efforts to combat recent charter flights set by the UK Border Agency to remove en masse failed Tamil asylum seekers to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Last week, Chambers had the pleasure of co-hosting with Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) and the LSE a screening of the forthcoming documentary ‘No Fire Zone – The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’.  This follows 2 previous and shorter documentaries broadcast by Channel 4 in 2011 and 2012 and…

13th May 2013 By Sarah Pinder

No Removals to Cyprus

The Court of Appeal in the UK has very recently granted stays preventing the removal of asylum-seekers to Cyprus under Dublin II. The proceedings have been stayed pending the appeal against the judgment in EM (Eritrea) & Ors v SSHD [2012] EWCA Civ 1336. The cases are: – MD (Guinea) v SSHD C4/2012/3166 (Order granted on the 7th March 2013) – ZJ (Iran) v SSHD C4/2012/2988 (Order dated the 8th March 2013) – FJ (Iran) v SSHD C4/2012/3361 (Order dated the 14th March 2013) EM concerns Dublin returns to Italy. In that case, the appellants challenged their removal to Italy on the basis that the conditions there for asylum-seekers and…

28th March 2013 By Claire Physsas