All Articles: Enforcement

Student visa sponsorship system (finally) being reviewed

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) is to inspect the relationship between the immigration system and the higher education sector. The call for evidence, which is open until 15 November 2021, confirms that the ICIBI will ...

5th November 2021 By

Briefing: sea rescue of refugees in UK law and proposals for change

In a previous briefing we saw that customary international law, four international conventions and international human rights law all impose a duty on states to rescue those in distress at sea and to set up and maintain search and rescue services. We ...

11th October 2021 By

How the NHS charging system is failing survivors of domestic abuse 

Regulation 9 of The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015 provides that the NHS in England cannot charge overseas visitors for treating a condition caused by torture, female genital mutilation, domestic violence or se ...

23rd July 2021 By

Home Office refuses to explain secret sham marriage algorithm

The Home Office has rebuffed Public Law Project’s (PLP) latest attempt to find out more about the secret algorithmic criteria used to decide whether a proposed marriage should be investigated as a “sham”.  Sham marriage investigatio ...

21st July 2021 By

Briefing: the Nationality and Borders Bill, Part 3 (criminalising asylum seekers)

Part 3 of the Nationality and Borders Bill 2021 includes provisions relating to immigration offences and enforcement. It criminalises arriving in the UK, as well as formally entering, making it almost impossible to claim asylum in the UK without first ...

14th July 2021 By

Briefing: what happens to EU citizens who miss the settled status deadline?

The Brexit vote, the triggering of Article 50, the failed May deal, the Johnson capitulation, the legal exit at the start of 2020 and the economic exit at the year’s end have all come and gone. On 30 June 2021 comes another milestone: the deadli ...

28th June 2021 By

Can you get compensation if an immigration officer acts unlawfully?

This is the question addressed by Scotland’s Sheriff Appeal Court in Galbraith Trawlers Limited v Advocate General for Scotland [2021] SAC (Civ) 15. Fishing boats impounded over illegal immigration charges In 2015, an immigration officer issued lett ...

9th June 2021 By

New data matching powers are a threat to migrant communities

The government’s threat to increase its use of data matching is now becoming a reality with plans to expand the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). If implemented, the proposals would extend data matching powers from their current use in tackling f ...

4th June 2021 By

Anti-raids activism: what is the law on obstructing immigration officers?

The scenes in Glasgow last week, which saw a crowd prevent Immigration Enforcement from making off with two Indian men, got us thinking about the criminal offence of obstructing an immigration officer. Not, we hasten to add, because we think anyone sh ...

18th May 2021 By

The Glasgow immigration raid was arbitrary: as are all such raids

From the outside looking in, initial immigration enforcement decisions like that in Glasgow last week to detain a person often seem opportunistic and random rather than strategic. The result is that the ‘wrong’ people end up being detained. We kno ...

16th May 2021 By

The UK-India migration deal

The UK and India signed a non-binding agreement on migration this week. The basic ingredients are to beef up cooperation on removing unauthorised migrants in exchange for a minor liberalisation on youth mobility-type visas and some warm words on encou ...

7th May 2021 By

Rounding up the rough sleepers… yet again

The latest episode of the Home Office’s dispute with rough sleeping migrants is here with the publication of the policy guidance for applying the “rough sleeping rule”. This article discusses some key points from both a housing and immigration p ...

26th April 2021 By

Sponsor licence inspection visits back on

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has confirmed that with lockdown easing, it is resuming sponsor licence compliance visits. Initial visits will be focused on organisations that have a pending sponsor licence application. Confirming the resumption of vi ...

12th April 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

Home Office can’t catch human traffickers, inspection finds

The immigration authorities’ work on human trafficking and modern slavery produced just ten arrests and five prosecutions in two years, the immigration inspector has found. David Bolt’s report on the Home Office’s efforts in this are ...

8th March 2021 By

Government must go beyond a press release to get undocumented migrants vaccinated

In response to growing pressure, the government announced on Monday that no immigration status checks will be carried out for migrants getting the coronavirus vaccination. While Downing Street’s press release focused on the lack of status checks ...

11th February 2021 By

Important report on reform of immigration enforcement

The hostile environment should be reformed by selective repeal of key provisions, addressing Home Office culture and improved routes to regularisation, an influential think tank has found. Beyond the hostile environment, a report released yesterday by ...

10th February 2021 By

Are “radical” and “moderate” positions on migrants’ rights conflicting or complementary?

There has been an interesting and mainly polite (if tense) discussion on and off Twitter in recent weeks about advocacy on migrants’ rights. This is in part linked to a short piece I wrote about deportations and a follow-up by Emma Harrison, dir ...

8th February 2021 By

Why the migrants’ rights sector should care about big data

Last month, UN special rapporteur on racism Professor Tendayi Achiume raised concerns about the impact of digital technologies on human rights. Achiume’s comments come at a time when governments are relying more and more on digital tools to control ...

21st December 2020 By

Home Office “didn’t take Windrush concerns seriously”, equality watchdog finds

The legal powers of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have been much discussed in recent weeks. This month it is not the Labour Party in the figurative dock, but the more familiar presence of the Home Office. An EHRC report into the Wind ...

25th November 2020 By

Online Right to Rent checks launch later this month

Right to Rent checks can be carried out online and in real time from 25 November 2020 onwards. Under the new scheme, landlords will be able to conduct checks on whether prospective tenants are permitted to rent using a Home Office webpage (not yet liv ...

9th November 2020 By

“Compassionate” Home Office targets rough sleepers, again

Following the failings identified by the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, Priti Patel promised a “compassionate… people first” Home Office. But over the past few months the Home Office seems to have entertained only the most inhumane imm ...

29th October 2020 By

Removal policy breaches common law right of access to a court

Hot on the heels of this summer’s confected controversy over last minute legal challenges to removals of asylum seekers, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the Home Office’s ‘removal window’ policy is unlawful because it denies ...

22nd October 2020 By

As domestic abuse rises, the police are still betraying migrant victims

The rise in reports of domestic abuse during lockdown is horrifying. Worldwide, the situation is so bad that it’s been dubbed a “shadow pandemic“. In the UK, calls to domestic abuse helplines have risen by a terrifying 80%. In response, ...

8th October 2020 By

Asylum seekers exposed to virus risk on removal flight as staff ditch covid precautions

Inspectors observing a Home Office charter flight taking asylum seekers to France and Germany have found that coronavirus precautions were not followed. The report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons also found that pain was deliberately inflicted on three ...

2nd October 2020 By

Digital-only status for EU citizens “creates a real risk of harm”, experts warn

Digital-only residence permits could make it harder for migrants to access vital services like jobs and housing, a new report warns. Landlords and employers used to physical passports and residence permits may discriminate against migrants whose proof ...

1st October 2020 By

Mandatory self-isolation law overlooks vulnerable migrants

In a bid to slow the surge in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night set out new restrictions in England which range from the wearing of masks by shop workers to limits on the number of people attending weddings. These measures come h ...

23rd September 2020 By

The Channel “crisis” and the politics of compassion

In the absence of safe and legal routes into the UK, migrants and refugees are undertaking desperate and treacherous journeys across the Channel in small boats and dinghies. On 19 August, news broke of the tragic drowning of Abdulfatah Hamdallah, a yo ...

7th September 2020 By

I stopped two unlawful removals last week – how does that make me an “activist lawyer”?

On 26 August 2020 at 7:45, a flight chartered by the Home Office took off from Stansted airport, heading for France via Dusseldorf. The passengers were asylum seekers from countries such as Iran, Sudan and Yemen. A similar flight took off two weeks be ...

1st September 2020 By

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
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