All Articles: Enforcement

Home Office doesn’t know, doesn’t care whether the hostile environment even works

The government has no way of knowing whether its flagship “hostile environment” policy on unauthorised migrants is working, the National Audit Office has found. In a report published today, the NAO says that the Home Office is “curre ...

17th June 2020 By

The dismal Home Office response to coronavirus: the wider picture

The Home Office response to the coronavirus crisis has been hesitant at best. To the credit of the department, it has on the whole acted to protect its own staff and the staff of some of its major contractors, albeit sometimes belatedly. Basic steps t ...

28th April 2020 By

Comment: if MPs won’t halt Right to Rent discrimination, the Supreme Court must

This week, the courts have once again found that the government’s Right to Rent checks – which require landlords to verify the immigration status of their tenants – cause discrimination on the grounds of race and nationality where it would not o ...

23rd April 2020 By

Windrush review calls for root and branch reform at the Home Office

What caused the Windrush scandal? According to an independent review by Wendy Williams, published today, the answer lies in increasingly harsh immigration and nationality legislation over the past 60 years. These laws — including those dedicated ...

19th March 2020 By

Comment: illegal working fines aren’t working

What follows is a real case from my practice. Names have been changed. My clients (let’s call them Mr and Mrs Restaurant) have run a restaurant since 2004. Their establishment is beloved in the local community, especially amongst families. It feels ...

24th January 2020 By

Is the hostile environment working?

In a review of Amelia Gentleman’s book The Windrush Betrayal, David Goodhart of the Policy Exchange think tank said this: Over … [the] period [2004-2018] the number of voluntary removals rose sharply from 3,566 in 2004 to 28,655 in 2016, perhaps s ...

15th January 2020 By

Comment: how to fix the overstaying rules

As we’ve highlighted in recent blog posts, the Immigration Rules aggressively punish overstaying, to the point where accidentally staying beyond the expiry date of your visa even by just one day will basically ruin your life. “So what?”, you ...

20th November 2019 By

Comment: victims of slavery are trapped in destitution by right to work restrictions

While the UK government boasts of its trailblazing work to tackle the scourge of modern slavery, it is also rightly criticised for its systemic failures to prevent exploitation and protect victims once identified. A number of hostile immigration polic ...

6th November 2019 By

Overstaying on a UK visa: law and consequences

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt Law is frequently a question of deadlines. Points fixed in a calendar, some optimistically scribbled in, some tattooed on a limb. If you are lucky ...

23rd October 2019 By

Power to close down businesses employing illegal workers goes virtually unused

The Immigration Act 2016 authorises immigration officers to temporarily close down businesses persistently employing illegal workers. The provision is one of several that make up the hostile environment policy, which has been rebranded the “complian ...

23rd September 2019 By

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 despi ...

5th August 2019 By

Immigration inspector: Home Office lacks a clue on illegal working

Government attempts to tackle illegal working are halting, aimless and ill-adapted to the post-Windrush dispensation, an independent inspection report has found. David Bolt’s latest report says that “the Home Office’s efforts are not rea ...

10th May 2019 By

What is the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration?

The government has proposed the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration as the interim monitoring body for the EU citizen settled status scheme. This briefing examines the powers, remit and impact of the Chief Inspector. The Chief Inspe ...

8th March 2019 By

JCWI: how we beat the hostile environment in court

Today, the High Court has ruled that the ‘Right to Rent’ checks, a key policy of Theresa May’s so-called “hostile”, now rebranded as “compliant environment”, cause landlords to discriminate against prospective tenants on racial and ...

1st March 2019 By

High Court finds Right to Rent checks discriminatory in landmark judgment

Today the High Court found in the case of R (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 452 (Admin) that the government’s Right to Rent scheme causes racial discrimination ...

1st March 2019 By

Roughly half of all illegal working fines appealed or evaded

The government has collected less than half the fines issued to employers for hiring undocumented migrants over the past five years, according to a Free Movement estimate using data released under the Freedom of Information Act. The value of illegal w ...

21st February 2019 By

Probe of Home Office data sharing reveals plans for new migrant database

A new report from the independent immigration inspector shines new light on how enforcement officials get their hands on data about migrants from other government departments. David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, als ...

31st January 2019 By

Briefing: what happens when you are accused of entering a sham marriage?

Migrants who would not otherwise have the right to live in the UK can acquire that right by getting married to a British national, EU citizen or another migrant who is settled here. In theory, that route is open to abuse by couples who are not really ...

7th January 2019 By

The legal restrictions on immigrants getting married

A migrant’s marital status can make a huge difference to their right to be in the UK. The spouse of an EU national exercising treaty rights in the UK will automatically have a right to reside in the UK. The spouses of British or settled citizens do ...

4th January 2019 By

Court of Appeal finds that ordinary residents should be first in the queue for organ donations

Brexit notwithstanding, 2018 is likely to be remembered as the year the lid was blown on the government’s hostile environment policy. The debate about how difficult we want the lives of migrants unlawfully in the UK to be has now caught the atte ...

27th December 2018 By

Home Office further amends removals policy in response to Upper Tribunal judgment

In R (FB and NR) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] UKUT 428 (IAC), the appellants challenged the legality of the Home Secretary’s removals policy (traditionally known as Chapter 60 of his Enforcement Guidance and Instructions, now ...

14th December 2018 By

Briefing: the rules on returning residents with indefinite leave to remain (ILR)

Indefinite leave to remain in the UK is a type of immigration status that means a person can live and work in the UK for as long as they like, with no further need to apply for a visa extension. Occasionally, though, people with ILR are refused entry ...

1st November 2018 By

A draft submission to the Windrush lessons learned review

I’ve been working on a submission to the Windrush lessons learned review. The final date for submission of evidence is 19 October 2018 and I’d urge anyone interested in immigration policy to consider putting in a response, no matter how sh ...

15th October 2018 By

Future immigration enforcement: will Brexit make ID cards inevitable?

The whole purpose of the hostile environment is to exert indirect immigration control over migrants through employers, landlords, banks and public services. This is seen as an alternative to direct enforcement the old fashioned way, through arrests, d ...

2nd October 2018 By

Home Office stats show immigration enforcement activity declining across the board

“The government is cracking down harder on both illegal and legal migrants.” “The government does not control immigration.” These two contrasting statements are the prevailing yet paradoxical narratives on immigration in the Un ...

1st October 2018 By

Comment: Ireland’s immigration amnesty shows British campaigners the way

On 4 September the Republic of Ireland announced plans for a new “regularisation scheme” to allow certain undocumented migrants to remain in the country legally. The amnesty will be open to anyone who came to Ireland as an international student b ...

12th September 2018 By

Home Office asks immigration lawyers for Windrush “lessons learned” as Javid apologises to victims

Immigration lawyers are among the groups being asked by the Home Office to submit evidence about what caused the Windrush scandal and what would prevent a repeat. In a “lessons learned” call for evidence issued on 20 August, the departm ...

22nd August 2018 By

What happens if you mistakenly apply for British citizenship instead of indefinite leave to remain?

What happens when an American graduate, about to become eligible for indefinite leave to remain having lived lawfully in the UK for almost a decade, incorrectly thinks that he is eligible to apply for British citizenship and applies for that instead? ...

17th August 2018 By
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