Home Office sets up team to deal with high profile immigration cases

Brian White, abandoned as a baby, lived in a Zimbabwean orphanage until the age of six. He was fostered, and later adopted, by the White family in Wolverhampton. He came to the UK to join the family when he was 15, at which point he should have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. However, the Home Office instead, wrongly, granted him Limited Leave to Remain. This mistake was only brought to light after he was refused naturalisation: he was awarded a place at Oxford University but this refusal now threatened to put his future in doubt. Cue a petition which received over 100,000 signatures. The result? The Home Office have just approved…

11th September 2017 By Paul Erdunast

UK’s Home Office issues $118m digitisation tender for immigration

Britain’s Home Office has issued a £91m ($118m) tender for immigration services using biometrics and the digitisation of supporting evidence. The tender covers how up to 780,000 people either extend their stay in the UK, settle or pursue British nationality. I’m sure this will be a resounding success, brought in on budget, on time and will be completely prepared for Brexit. Source: UK’s Home Office issues $118m digitisation tender for immigration | Planet Biometrics News

10th August 2017 By Colin Yeo

Inspection report on “hostile environment” finds hundreds wrongly denied services

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, has published five new inspection reports. The most interesting is on the “hostile environment”, specifically the powers to deny driving licences and bank accounts to migrants unlawfully resident in the UK. The report reveals that the Interventions and Sanctions Directorate (“ISD”) responsible for enforcing the hostile environment has a staff of 146 and a budget in £5.5 million in 2015/16. It sounds like something out of a dystopian sci-fi film. It is, come to think of it. Since the introduction of the power to revoke driving licences, 10,000 people have had licences revoked. The report found that hundreds of people per…

14th October 2016 By Colin Yeo

Home Office imposes illegal working fines of £14 million on small businesses in 3 month period

The Home Office has imposed fines on small businesses for employing illegal workers of over £14 million in just a three month period. The period covered is January to March 2016. The list of businesses targeted by officials appears to include mainly small ethnic minority shops and takeaways. It is unknown how many of those businesses were forced to close as a result. Back in December 2015 the Home Office was criticised by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration for relying too heavily on denunciations by members of the public: [Immigration Enforcement’s] intelligence about illegal working mostly consisted of low-level allegations made by members of the public, which were…

6th September 2016 By Colin Yeo

Several immigration enforcement policies added or updated

Guidance added on ‘Arrest and restraint’, ‘Enforcement interviews’, ‘Identifying people at risk’, ‘Illegal working operations’ and updated guidance on ‘Search and seizure’. The changes reflect new powers under the Immigration Act 2016. I can’t help thinking the Home Office might have other demands on its time now apart from this sort of policy stuff. Or, to put it another way, WHAT ABOUT BREXIT?! Source: Powers and operational procedure – Publications – GOV.UK

14th July 2016 By Colin Yeo

Free fast track for obtaining personal data from the Home Office

Details of free fast track service from the Home Office for obtaining your personal records. Only applies to certain computerised records but it is free rather than £10 and only takes 20 days rather than 40 days. Basically it is a faster version of the subject access request method, which is still available if you need full records. Source: Fast track application details – GOV.UK

7th July 2016 By Colin Yeo

Massive Home Office database being created

Interesting from The Register. The Home Office seems to have commissioned a massive restructuring of its databases to enable simple tracking and search for officials, police and immigration officers. At least it consulted… The public? Parliament? No one? WHAT! Source: UK Home Office is creating mega database by stitching together ALL its gov records • The Register

6th June 2016 By Colin Yeo

Chief Inspector highly critical of Home Office internal review process

The Immigration Act 2014 removed rights of appeal to an independent judge against refusal of many immigration decisions, replacing appeals with a system of internal review within the Home Office. It is called Administrative Review. The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, has just published a report into how well this process is working. He finds “significant room for improvement.” Firstly, he observes that no internal review was introduced at all to replace one important category of appeal which was removed, which was against curtailment of leave. There is no right of appeal nor is there an Administrative Review, despite this being promised at the time of the passage…

26th May 2016 By Colin Yeo

Allowed appeals and initial decision-making | UKAJI

Very interesting piece on allowed appeals and quality of decision making by Robert Thomas of the University of Manchester. Particularly interesting given the reduced appeal numbers owing to high appeal fees in employment and now seemingly in immigration. There is also an important debate in relation to the rate of allowed appeals. This is something that public bodies should monitor and oversee. An upsurge in allowed appeals calls for investigation to determine likely causes and to devise solutions. If public bodies are signed up to the ‘right first time’ agenda and better decision-making, then there needs to be a closer focus upon allowed appeals. Looking to the future, there also…

3rd May 2016 By Colin Yeo

Updated Home Office guidance on revoking migrant driving licenses

This guidance tells Interventions and Sanctions Directorate (ISD) case liaison officers about the driving licence revocation process, including how to deal with a request made by a migrant with a UK driving licence, or the migrant’s representative, not to revoke the driving licence. Source: Offender management – Publications – GOV.UK

29th April 2016 By Colin Yeo

Home Office “lines to take” are protected by litigation privilege

The First-tier Tribunal has allowed the Home Office appeal against the Information Commissioner’s decision that training slides used to inform Home Office Presenting Officers on the 2014 legislative reforms to human rights law should be released. Some additional limited information will be published but the Home Office’s internal instructions to its lawyers on what arguments to run in tribunals and courts will remain confidential. My original request was for: release of any or all training materials relating to the immigration law changes that took effect on 28 July 2014, both the changes to human rights Rules and the changes to deportation appeals I was interested to see what the Home…

27th April 2016 By Colin Yeo

The Drooling Hounds of Manchester Airport

If you are planning to return from the continent with a little illicit saucisson and brie, then beware of the dogs at Manchester Airport. According to David Bolt, the independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration, the Border Force detector dogs at Manchester ‘were making multiple detections of small amounts of sausage and cheese wrongly brought back by returning British holiday makers’, yet failing to make any detections of heroin or cocaine. In his recently published ‘Inspection of Border Force operations at Manchester Airport’, Bolt found that the six detector dogs deployed at the airport were not delivering effectively against ‘Control Strategy’ priorities. Between November 2014 and June 2015, the…

18th April 2016 By Chris McWatters

The Chief Inspector releases his Inspection Plan for the next three years

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has published his Inspection Plan for the next three years. It includes inspections on sham marriages, landlord immigration checks, NHS charging, exit checks and litigation (including Home Office Presenting Officers) in the first year. Source: The Chief Inspector releases his Inspection Plan for the next three years. | Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

12th April 2016 By Colin Yeo

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

No right to apply for permission to rent under “right to rent” scheme

The “right to rent” scheme and legislation refers to a mysterious “permission to rent” which can be granted by the Secretary of State, presumably to those who do not otherwise possess the right to rent. Section 21(3) of the Immigration Act 2014 reads: But P is to be treated as having a right to rent in relation to premises (in spite of subsection (2)) if the Secretary of State has granted P permission for the purposes of this Chapter to occupy premises under a residential tenancy agreement The statute is silent on the circumstances in which such permission to rent might be granted. The official enforcement guidance (Chapter 26 of…

11th March 2016 By Colin Yeo

Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration criticises Home Office complaint handling

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, has published a new report which is highly critical of Home Office complaint handling. The findings echo those of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman from November 2015. Bolt and his team find “considerable room for improvement” in many respects. For example Minor misconduct complaints were automatically recorded centrally as “unsubstantiated” before any investigation had occurred. Complainants were misled to believe that individual immigration officials could not be identified when in fact no effort had been made to identify them. One in five complaint responses was in an inappropriate tone or not in plain English. Record keeping was poor. Internal guidance…

1st March 2016 By Colin Yeo

Immigration fees to increase further still

The Autumn 2015 Spending Review reveals that the immigration system will need to raise considerable additional funds in order to become “fully self funded”. Paragraph 2.7 says that the Home Office settlement includes: resource savings of 5% by 2019-20 through a fully self-funded borders and immigration system and total reductions of 30% in the department’s administration budget compared to 2015-16 Paragraph 2.14 goes into more detail: Around £600 million of overall border, immigration and citizenship system costs are currently funded by the Exchequer (in addition to customs and asylum support costs). By investing in streamlined and automated processes, saving time for immigration officials and border officers, this funding requirement will…

1st December 2015 By Colin Yeo

New Home Office policy document on investigating sham marriages

Criminal investigation: sham marriage is a new Home Office policy document setting out in one place the Home Office approach to investigating sham marriage allegations, including under the new Immigration Act 2014 scheme of referrals from registrars and the increased notice period (from 28 to 72 days) that the Home Office can trigger at will to delay marriages taking place. It sets out the various offences with which the parties to a sham marriage and the organisers might be charged. It is worth a read. This jumped out at me as an example of an Austin Powers style disabled internal monologue: Some Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyers authorise facilitation charges against…

26th August 2015 By Colin Yeo

Presenting Officer training materials

Interesting Freedom of Information request and results from 2013 on Presenting Officer training materials I just came across by chance. The request was made by Steven Green of BritCits and the materials are interesting. I haven’t been through them with a tooth comb but, for example, saw some interesting material on paragraph EX1 of Appendix FM stating it would never be reasonable for a British citizen child to have to leave the UK unless there is criminality involved. If you spot anything else worth highlighting, please do leave a comment below.

28th July 2015 By Colin Yeo

Does the Human Rights Act prevent us deporting serious criminals?

It is very widely believed that the Human Rights Act stops the UK from deporting foreign criminals whence they came. To a limited extent, there is some truth in this. Some appeals against deportation decisions do succeed on human rights grounds. Not many, though, and none succeed because of the Human Rights Act as distinct from the European Convention on Human Rights. Other appeals against deportation succeed under EU law or the Refugee Convention. It is also strange but true that, contrary to popular belief, the era of the Human Rights Act has actually seen a massive downgrading of protection against deportation for foreign criminals. Read on to find out…

26th May 2015 By Colin Yeo

Home Office immigration litigation costs

The Home Office has revealed its litigation costs for immigration cases since 2011: IMMIGRATION & ASYLUM – LITIGATION EXPENDITURE 2011-14 2011-12 £ms 35.7 2012-13 £ms 44.15 2013-14 £ms 51.42 Total: over £131 million

5th March 2015 By Colin Yeo

Giving evidence in court: Home Office guidance

The guidance is directed to the Home Office’s own staff — a pertinent issue following these recent reported cases: Immigration officials caught lying on oath — but it is sound guidance for any witness attending court. I particularly liked this bit: Some may even accuse you of lying. This can be extremely upsetting. It is important to remember this is a standard operating technique, not a personal attack. Even though you may feel such allegations are unworthy and unethical, you must appreciate the lawyer probably cannot find any other grounds for attacking you or your colleagues. Do not take defence attacks on your integrity personally, you can only deal with these assertions effectively…

24th November 2014 By Colin Yeo

Pursuing compensation from the Home Office

The Home Office often makes mistakes when exercising its immigration powers. The high appeal success rates bear testimony to this: as many as 50% of some categories of appeal are allowed. However, there are only some limited circumstances where it is possible to extract compensation from the Home Office by means of a court case. Unlawful detention is one example and retention of a passport can be another but pursuing a case is fraught with difficulty and risk. What about other situations, such as loss of documents, mistaken identity, ruining a wedding based on duff “intelligence” or getting a sponsor licence decision wrong? 

18th November 2014 By Colin Yeo