How complex are the UK immigration rules and is this a problem?

One of the fundamental principles of the rule of law is that the law “must be accessible and so far as possible intelligible, clear and predictable” (Tom Bingham, The Rule of Law, 2010). The reasons for this should be self evident. Just as it is impossible to play a sport fairly without knowing the rules, so it is impossible to live life fairly without knowing the law, or at least being able to find out what it is. Immigration law is anything but accessible, intelligible, clear and predictable. Accessibility: what does immigration law say? The first issue with immigration law is finding out what it says. Lord Neuberger, outgoing President of…

1st August 2017 By Colin Yeo

What does the Queen’s Speech say (and not say) about immigration and EU citizens?

The Queen’s Speech was today. This sets out the legislative agenda for the new Government and lists expected new Acts of Parliament the Government hopes to pass in the coming year. There are reports that this Queen’s Speech may be intended to cover a two year period, but with the likelihood of an early election it may end up being very short indeed. Either way, the agenda is dominated by Brexit to the exclusion of almost everything else. This will be the story of our country for the next decade or so: trying to sort out Brexit to the exclusion of all else. A new Immigration Bill is proposed. However,…

21st June 2017 By Colin Yeo

New commencement order introduces out of country human rights appeals and more

The end of immigration appeals from within the UK is nigh: section 63 of the Immigration Act 2016 is being brought into force from 1 December 2016 by the Immigration Act 2016 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/1037SI 2016/1037). The change introduces a power for the Home Office to remove a person who pursues a human rights appeal even while the appeal is pending. A similar power was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 but applied only to foreign criminals. It is now extended to all migrants who might rely on a human rights appeal. Given that the only grounds on which normal family immigration decisions can…

1st November 2016 By Colin Yeo

Immigration Act 2016 online course and more now available

The Free Movement online course on the Immigration Act 2016 is now available. Based on the text of the popular ebook, the course is enhanced with 32 minutes of key points videos and clear signposting of which sections of the Act are currently in force and which are not. There is also a 20 question quiz at the end to test your knowledge. The course weighs in at 3 CPD hours for professional training purposes. Members can access the course here. At the same time, I have also set up the update training courses for January to April 2016 and have disabled access to update training courses for 2014. Podcasts and…

2nd September 2016 By Colin Yeo

Which sections of the Immigration Act 2016 are in force with what effect?

The Immigration Act 2016 was signed by Her Majesty the Queen on 12 May 2016. Some sections of the Act came into effect immediately but most sections were dependent on being brought into force by commencement orders at the discretion of the Minister. We have seen one commencement order so far, which has already been amended to correct a significant drafting error. So, what is in force? The Act itself specifies that subsections (3) to (5) of section 61 (regarding powers of detention) came into force on the day the Act became law, which was 12 May 2016. The Act also specified that section 85 (the powers to set the…

14th July 2016 By Colin Yeo

The Immigration Act 2016 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2016

These Regulations bring into force specified provisions of the Immigration Act 2016. Regulation 2 lists the provisions which come into force on 31st May 2016 and regulation 3 lists the provisions which come into force on 12th July 2016. The new criminal offence of illegal working comes into force on 12 July 2016 along with various other sections. I’m working on a new ebook on the new Act and an online course and in the meantime you can book on HJT Training courses here. Source: The Immigration Act 2016 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2016

26th May 2016 By Colin Yeo

Is it unlawful for the UK to curtail the visas of Japanese nationals?

Is it unlawful for the UK to curtail the visas of Japanese nationals? Maybe. Maybe not. See Article 3(3) of the Treaty of Commerce, Establishment and Navigation between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Japan (14 November 1962): Any conditions as to the duration of his residence or as to his employment. profession, business or occupation which a national of one Contracting Party who is permitted to reside in any territory of the other is required to observe during the period of his residence in that territory shall he imposed at the time of the grant to him of permission to enter or to reside, shall…

10th March 2016 By Colin Yeo

Right to rent comes into force today

The Government’s “right to rent” scheme requiring landlords to conduct “papers, please” checks on the immigration status of tenants comes into force today, 1 February 2016. It is hard to think of a worse example of a disproportionate policy, classically defined as a hammer being used to crack a nut. Who will be affected? All private tenants are affected by the law; 22% of households now rent from private landlords, a proportion that is increasing over time. That is a LOT of people. Renters tend to be younger, poorer and from ethnic minorities. There is a good summary of the right to rent scheme over on the exellent Nearly Legal housing law…

1st February 2016 By Colin Yeo

Oral evidence on the Immigration Bill

If you really don’t have anything better to do, you can watch the evidence session on the Immigration Bill in which I, Adrian Berry, Don Flynn, Jerome Phelps and Manjit Gill QC gave evidence here. It starts at about 11.32am and carries on for an eternity. I’ve watched a few bits back and it looks like my tie does my talking for me. We cover issues around out of country appeals, new proposals on immigration bail and new proposed enforcement powers. Scan to 12.50pm for me being asked why I call the blog “Free Movement”… UPDATE: written transcript also now available.

22nd October 2015 By Colin Yeo

All landlords forced to carry out immigration checks from 1 February 2016

The Home Office today announced that all landlords in England and Wales will be forced to carry out “papers please” right to rent immigration checks on tenants from 1 February 2016. This is despite the Home Office’s own research, also published today, and independent research all finding that there was already some discrimination during the limited pilot scheme. A failure by a landlord to comply with the scheme, introduced by the Immigration Act 2014 and first piloted in the West Midlands, currently carries a maximum penalty of a £3,000 fine. Under the Immigration Bill currently going through Parliament the maximum penalty will be increased to a five year jail sentence.

20th October 2015 By Colin Yeo

The Hostile Environment: my presentation at JUSTICE annual human rights conference

I gave a 25 minute presentation on the Immigration Act 2014 and new Immigration Bill at the JUSTICE annual human rights conference yesterday. As an experiment, I tried recording myself and have combined the audio with the slides. Enjoy. Or not. I have also uploaded the audio track separately as an MP3 and that is available via the normal podcast channels: iTunes here, Stitcher here or point your podcast player to podcast feed for Free Movement. The slides are also available separately via Haikudeck.

13th October 2015 By Colin Yeo

Part 6 of the Immigration Bill

The second reading of the Immigration Bill in the House of Commons is today. We have seen how even more appeals will be out of country under its regime, and the greater powers given to immigration officers under Part 3. Part 6 – including Schedules 7 and 8 – offers a mix of provisions, including ensuring the UK complies with international law on blacklisted persons and introduces civil penalties for aircraft and airport managers if they do not ensure people go through control zones. The final section gives a raft of new powers to immigration officers (where have we seen that before?), this time to intercept and detain boats suspected…

13th October 2015 By Paul Erdunast

Part 3 of the 2015 Immigration Bill – enforcement

Part 3 of the Immigration Bill gives a host of new, wide powers to immigration officers. A person with leave to enter arrives in at the airport. Schedule 19(1) and (2) – the first section of Part 3 – gives immigration officers the power to curtail leave, rather to simply determine whether leave has been given and act accordingly. So someone arriving in the UK even with the appropriate leave will now have a lingering uncertainty as to whether they will be allowed in. This is likely to affect few migrants, but is indicative of the greater powers given to immigration officers throughout the Bill.

1st October 2015 By Paul Erdunast

The Immigration Bill 2015

The Immigration Bill 2015 was published on 17 September 2015. For now, this post provides links to further reading and resources on the Bill and also some commentary on the appeals sections, which are of the most direct interest to immigration lawyers like myself. I may update and perhaps republish the post if there are significant developments or I get a chance to take a closer look at other parts of the Bill The quick news on appeals is that virtually all human rights appeals will be out of country. Given that the right of appeal is limited by the Immigration Act 2014 only to human rights and refugee appeals, this…

18th September 2015 By Colin Yeo

Legal opinion by Adrian Berry on new immigration ‘right to rent’ landlord civil penalties

Interesting legal opinion by my colleague Adrian Berry for the Association of Charitable Foundations on the ‘right to rent’ landlord civil penalties introduced by the Immigration Act 2014. Adrian does some myth busting on the meaning of “no recourse to public funds” and goes on to argue that the landlord civil penalties will not apply to the funders of any accommodation, that if no rent is payable by the recipient of the accommodation then it also falls outside the scheme (because no tenancy will then exist), that the provision of short term accommodation may not fall within the scheme (because then it would not be for residential use) and that hostels managed…

14th September 2015 By Colin Yeo

Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 297

Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 297 was published today, 13 July 2015, having been trailed in The Daily Mail over the weekend. It includes some significant changes, particularly for international students. I’m technically on holiday, so I’ve elected to do some heavy cutting and pasting from the ministerial announcement by James Broken-shire and the Explanatory Notes to the Statement of Changes itself (found at the end of the document). I’ve started with Tier 4 first as these are the most significant changes, and I’ve then followed the scheme of the Explanatory Notes.

13th July 2015 By Colin Yeo

Full immigration appeals ended: Immigration Act 2014 brought into force

Full appeal rights for applications under the Points Based System are being ended with effect from today, 2 March 2015, and for all other cases from 6 April 2015. The initial change applies to those who make an application on or after 2 March 2015 under Tiers 1, 2 or 5, and of course has already been brought in for those making Tier 4 applications on or after 20 October 2014. The second stage will from 6 April 2015 end full rights of appeal for all “legitimate” migrants (those within the Immigration Rules), increase rights of appeal for overstayers and preserve rights of appeal for those relying on the Refugee…

2nd March 2015 By Colin Yeo

Notice period doubled from next spring for all marriages and civil partnerships

It has been announced today by Minister for Security and Immigration James Broken-shire that Part 4 of the Immigration Act 2014 is to be brought into full effect on 2 March 2015. This amends the procedure for marriage and civil partnership for everyone (not just foreign nationals) and creates new powers for duties to report sham marriages and the investigation and preventing of sham marriages. The Home Office estimates that under the new provisions, 35,000 marriages per year will need to be referred to the Home Office for potential investigation and that 6,000 marriages will be investigated.

24th November 2014 By Colin Yeo

New duty to keep Home Office informed

When reviewing the Home Office’s new Appeals Guidance policy document I was reminded of a new feature of the appeals regime that is an important one but which was tucked away in the schedules to the Immigration Act 2014. A new expanded section 120 of the 2002 Act is introduced by paragraph 55 of Schedule 9 and came into effect with sections 1, 15 and 17(2) as of 20 October 2014 for the groups already described previously (foreign criminals and students):

29th October 2014 By Colin Yeo

Immigration Act 2014 Commencement Order No. 3: analysis

Even aside from the issue of an unpublished law purporting to have any effect, the Immigration Act 2014 (Commencement No. 3, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2014 (SI 2014/2711) is a dog’s breakfast. At first blush it appears to bring into effect the new unified removal power at section 1 of the Immigration Act 2014 and the new refugee and human rights only appeal regime. These would be very major changes to immigration law and practice. There are saving provisions, though, and then there is a further layer of “un-saving” provisions and yet a further layer of “re-saving” provisions. Topped by a final “other than” provision. I kid you not.

20th October 2014 By Colin Yeo

New law takes effect today but is missing in action

“But the plans were on display…” “On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.” “That’s the display department.” “With a flashlight.” “Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.” “So had the stairs.” “But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?” “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.” One of the most complex commencement orders I’ve seen since… well, the last Immigration Act 2014 commencement order has allegedly come into force today, Monday 20 October 2014. At the…

20th October 2014 By Colin Yeo

Immigration Act 2014 appeals provisions commence 20 October 2014

Sweeping changes to appeal rights, a new non independent “administrative review” procedure and further changes to deportation appeal rights are taking effect on 20 October 2014, at least in some cases. This post will be updated as and when more concrete information becomes available because all we have at the time of writing is an announcement on that seems to be very specific about the changes being mainly to student cases. We have no statutory instrument with commencement provisions and no statement of changes to the Immigration Rules. Even though the changes take effect in 2 working days. UPDATE: Statement of Changes HC 693 now published. Includes whole raft…

16th October 2014 By Colin Yeo

Obscure new immigration powers commenced – but why now?

So, with the Scottish referendum result out of the way the UK Government has taken the opportunity to extend UK immigration law enforcement powers in Scotland with the commencement of a long dormant power of detention and accompanying criminal offence. The disgraceful timing cannot possibly be accidental; this law was passed five years ago. Also in the same commencement order is the bringing into effect of an apparently abandoned citizenship provision from Labour’s awful planned nationality reforms from 2009. You may remember the concept of “earned citizenship” and those who undertook voluntary work being rewarded with British citizenship sooner than those who declined. Well, the power to make implementing regulations…

3rd October 2014 By Colin Yeo

New Procedure Rules come into effect 20 October 2014

As predicted, the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules 2014 are official and come into effect on 20 October 2014. More analysis to follow in due course for Free Movement Members. Headline changes seem to me to be that: Costs can be awarded in the First-tier Tribunal and therefore also the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chambers, but only in fairly limited circumstances and not as a matter of routine (rule 9). Appeals may continue even where a decision is withdrawn by the Home Office (rule 17(2)). Leave a comment if you spot anything else interesting. The Home Office no longer gets notification of asylum decisions before the asylum…

30th September 2014 By Colin Yeo

Appeals provisions of the Immigration Act 2014

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Immigration Act seminar

The most devastating aspect of the Immigration Act 2014 (“2014 Act”) is the brutal scything of appeal rights. The Government has triumphantly declared that it has reduced the number of appeal rights from 17 (the number of immigration decisions in s.82 NIAA 2002 as it stands, plus s.83 & 83A appeal rights) to just three.

19th August 2014 By Sadat Sayeed

Immigration Act 2014: removals and nationality provisions

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

This 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

New statutory human rights considerations take immediate effect

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

The Immigration Act 2014 requires judges to take into account certain public interest considerations when deciding immigration cases. Little weight is to be attached to x, the politicians tell the judges through the medium of the legislation, and in y situation there is no public interest in removal. More specifically, judges are instructed that there is less public interest in removing wealthy English speakers than poor Urdu speakers. Human rights pervade modern law and have a profound impact in crime, family, mental health, environmental and many other areas of law. It is only in immigration law that politicians have sought directly to influence the thinking of judges, though. There is no…

14th August 2014 By Colin Yeo

Statement of Changes HC 532

This post is based on an earlier page I made available to Free Movement Members a couple of weeks ago, before Statement of Changes HC 532 took effect. The commencement date of 28 July 2014 has been and gone and we have also seen commencement of the overseas deportation appeals sections of the Immigration Act 2014 (see blog posts here and here), along with the controversial statutory human rights considerations. I will return to the statutory human rights considerations in another post and will also be updating the online course on the Act. They are already covered in some depth in my ebook on the Act. Forgive me for the post that follows…

7th August 2014 By Colin Yeo

Serious and irreversible harm and deportation appeals

Today the new out of country deportation appeal provisions of the Immigration Act 2014 came into force, at least in part. The new regime enables the Secretary of State to require any appeal against deportation to be brought from abroad only, both in UK law and EU law cases. This post looks at the statutory power, the Home Office guidance and some of the possibilities for bringing judicial review applications against the exercise of such powers.

28th July 2014 By Colin Yeo

Immigration Act 2014: first Commencement Order

The first Commencement Order for the Immigration Act 2014 has been made: the Immigration Act 2014 (Commencement No. 1, Transitory and Saving Provisions) Order 2014 (SI 2014/1820). There is no known date for commencement of the main right of appeals provisions or the new removal power but some of the provision of services provisions introducing immigration checks for banks and building societies and for driving licences come into effect today, 14 July 2014.

14th July 2014 By Colin Yeo

Free Immigration Act ebook

Sign up now as a Free Movement Member and get a free Immigration Act 2014 ebook! Free Movement Membership starts at £50 plus VAT per person for groups of 10 or more and is available to all. Membership includes access to the forums and is a cheap and convenient way to access dedicated immigration law CPD training and includes courses on the Immigration Act 2014, Article 8 and the Immigration Rules, Zambrano and EU citizenship, urgent injunction applications, an introduction to immigration law and monthly update courses.   New courses are added every month and existing courses are updated to include new cases and developments. As a taster for the…

30th June 2014 By Colin Yeo

Immigration Act 2014 online training course

I have been working away at an online course on the Immigration Act 2014. It is now ready and members can take a look here. The materials include links to other resources, an easy way to compare the new and old appeal provisions, the amended versions of some of the key new provisions and worked examples of how the Act will affect people in practice. There is also a thread in the forum available for discussion, exchanging ideas or answering one another’s questions. The course is worth 2 CPD for lawyers and includes a final quiz of 20 questions. It is hard to emphasise how important it is that immigration lawyers…

24th June 2014 By Colin Yeo

Amendment to EEA regulations on worker status and job seeking

No, not an amendment to take account of the judgment in O v The Netherlands C‑456/12 (blog post: Surinder Singh immigration route) [ed: who knows how long we will have to wait for that] but one to try to limit the period during which an EU national is considered to be a jobseeker. This is an issue my colleague Desmond Rutledge has been following closely with a series of blog posts. The amendment comes via the Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/1451) and takes effect on 1 July 2014. It is a fairly short and fairly obscure change, further amending the already heavily amended paragraph 6 of the main Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 so that it…

13th June 2014 By Colin Yeo

Amendment to Immigration Bill allows Home Secretary to make people stateless

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Immigration Bill

Only yesterday, the day before the debate on the third reading of her Immigration Bill, the Home Secretary published a proposed amendment to the Bill whereby she will be able to deprive a person of British citizenship acquired by naturalisation even if by doing so she will render the person stateless.  She will be able to use that power if the person ‘has conducted him or herself in a manner which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests’ of the UK.

30th January 2014 By Ronan Toal

Administrative review success rates

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Immigration Bill

The new Immigration Bill proposes removal of rights of appeal to an independent judge, to be replaced with  and replacement with ‘Administrative Review’ by one of its own staff. Immigration appeals have almost a 50% success rate according to the Government’s own figures: A recent Freedom of Information request I did reveals the following: Between July 2012 & Jun 2013, 6096 Administrative reviews were resolved and out of that 1,077 were overturned. This represents a proportion of 18%. This is why the Government wants to remove rights of appeal. It is the same reason the Government wants to reduce access to judicial review. It doesn’t like losing. The Government would…

4th November 2013 By Colin Yeo

Appeals and the Immigration Bill

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Immigration Bill

The new Immigration Bill (see Ronan’s previous post “Summary of clauses“) is so packed with nastiness that some really unpleasant parts of it – perhaps the whole of it – will make it to the statute book. No mainstream politician with influence will today stand up for the rights of immigrants and their families. The Lib Dems must have signed off on the contents of the Bill. Labour has said the party not only supports the Bill but would go further in introducing tougher measures. Appeal rights are too technical and complex to attract headlines. And the removal of appeal rights is far from being the most socially damaging, racist…

31st October 2013 By Colin Yeo

‘Officers 1 Immigrants 0’: The mob mentality of the Immigration Bill

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Immigration Bill

I want to persuade you that our first task when faced with a social evil like the Immigration Bill is not to just to condemn but to understand it.  I say that because those who fail to grasp the deeper motives driving this legislation will underestimate the magnitude of the menace it represents.  And it is great, and serious. On the surface at least this threat resides in the social lies it tells about migrants.  Crass lies like the inflation of the ‘problem’ migrants present, their supposedly base nature and malignant motives.  All part of the readying of the ground for a corrosion of fundamental freedoms.  However, this corrosive effect…

29th October 2013 By Dexter Dias QC

Grayling Syndrome: an acute form of social blindness

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Immigration Bill

Originally posted at the Justice Gap. From as early as the 1880s doctors began to report a truly puzzling medical condition. Eventually named ‘Anton’s Syndrome’, medics noticed that some patients who had suffered a sudden loss of sight continued to deny their blindness, pretending that they could see, constructing ever more elaborate stories to justify their stumbles and collisions with furniture. This phenomenon provides us with an alternative lens to view not only Chris Grayling’s plans to cut Legal Aid to ‘immigrants and foreigners’, but the ethos underpinning the Government’s Immigration Bill, which has its Second Reading today. Because what we are witnessing unfolding before us is a syndrome that…

22nd October 2013 By Dexter Dias QC