Should people displaced by climate change be considered refugees?

No matter how devastating may be epidemic, natural disaster or famine, a person fleeing them is not a refugee within the terms of the Convention. A v Minister for Immigration & Ethnic Affairs [1997] HCA 4 (Aus HC) As the High Court of Australia hi ...

18th June 2021 By

What is the legal definition of a “refugee”?

This week is Refugee Week. On Free Movement we try to communicate complex legal issues in immigration and asylum law in a clear way and here we answer the question “what is a refugee?” Before we get to that, we have loads of content about ...

15th June 2021 By

Immigration update podcast, episode 89

Welcome to episode 89 of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month is a bit of a bumper episode, so we may hurry through some updates to keep it a manageable length, but you can read more about each item at the links below. We start wit ...

11th June 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

“Hand on the tiller” prosecution for assisting unlawful immigration fails

Fouad Kakaei is an Iranian man who helped steer small boats carrying asylum seekers across the English Channel on two separate occasions, in July and December 2019. He also attempted to cross on several other occasions. Following the July 2019 crossin ...

14th May 2021 By

Immigration update podcast, episode 88

Welcome to episode 88 of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month we’ve got quite a few different subjects to cover, including some detention issues, the EU Settlement Scheme — for which the deadline is now rapidly approach ...

14th May 2021 By

Immigration system failure: where did it all go wrong?

On the face of it, the current immigration ‘system’ does not resemble a true system at all. A member of the public reading newspaper headlines about the latest immigration controversy; a migrant trying to understand what documents to include with ...

28th April 2021 By

Lawyers must lodge out of country appeals through MyHMCTS

Presidential Practice Statement (PPS) No1 of 2021 came into force on Monday 26 April 2021. You can access the note and annexes here. This expands upon, and replaces, Presidential Practice Statement No2 of 2020 by making it mandatory to lodge represent ...

27th April 2021 By

Book review: The Rights of Refugees Under International Law by James Hathaway

The second edition of Professor James Hathaway’s The Rights of Refugees Under International Law, to be published on 22 April 2021, is incredibly well-timed. Our government here in the United Kingdom is proposing “off-shore processing” ...

15th April 2021 By

Immigration update podcast, episode 87

Welcome to episode 87 of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month we’re covering two main sets of reform proposals, the New Plan for Immigration and changes to judicial review. We’ve also got a bunch of new Immigration Rule ...

9th April 2021 By

Immigration and nationality fees for 2021/22

The updated list of fees for immigration and nationality applications that apply from 6 April 2021 shows that all remain unchanged from last year. This marks the third financial year running that headline application fees have been largely frozen, ha ...

6th April 2021 By

Why sticking to the Refugee Convention still matters

When someone says that refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, what they really mean is that other countries should look after refugees. They want others to do what they would not do themselves. Their words are really addres ...

1st 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

Censure of lawyers over asylum camp case shows difficulty of systemic litigation

The High Court has taken a leading firm of solicitors to task for its handling of an urgent application for judicial review of conditions at a converted military barracks holding asylum seekers, but concluded that the case was not serious enough to wa ...

22nd March 2021 By

Supreme Court reiterates that a refugee cannot be removed until claim is assessed

The Supreme Court has reiterated that — for now — UK law prohibits removal of a person “who can be understood to seek refugee status” and who has an outstanding asylum claim or appeal. The case is G v G [2021] UKSC 9 and invol ...

19th March 2021 By

Does the policy of deterring asylum seekers actually work?

With a recent inspection revealing the squalor in which refugees are housed when they reach the United Kingdom, the ensuing closure of Penally barracks but the continued operation of Napier, and yet more deterrent policies being trailed this morning, ...

18th March 2021 By

Immigration update podcast, episode 86

Welcome to episode 86 of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. There were quite a lot of significant court judgments this month, so the episode is almost entirely case law. We start with the Supreme Court decision in the Shamima Begum case (wh ...

12th March 2021 By

The problem with “credibility” as a concept in asylum cases

Whether or not a person is telling the truth about past events often becomes the central issue in many asylum claims. Sometimes this is appropriate. The question of whether an asylum seeker will face a real risk of being persecuted in future does in s ...

10th March 2021 By

Shamima Begum loses case in Supreme Court

Shamima Begum has lost her case in the Supreme Court. This means that she will not be able to return to the UK to argue her main case about whether she should or should not be deprived of her British citizenship. But her main case remains outstanding ...

26th February 2021 By

Immigration update podcast, episode 85

Welcome to episode 85 of the Free Movement immigration update podcast (not in fact episode 84 as we incorrectly say in the intro). We again start with developments in asylum law before going to business immigration and the Hong Kong BNO visa which is ...

12th 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

Analysis of flawed UK tribunal approach to marriages of convenience

Interesting piece over on the EU Law Analysis site by Aleksandra Jolkina about the flawed approach by the First-tier and Upper Tribunals to questions of marriages of convenience in EU law. The tribunals frequently blend the highly ambiguous domestic ...

26th January 2021 By

The UK’s hostile environment: deputising immigration control

Dr Melanie Griffiths and I have spent four years working on an academic article mapping, explaining, analysing and evaluating the hostile environment policy. It is finally done and dusted and is open access, so you can take a look over at Critical Soc ...

15th January 2021 By

Briefing: new UK approach to refugees and safe third countries

The government has introduced important new rules on the handling of claims for asylum with effect from 1 January 2021. Guidance for Home Office asylum caseworkers was published the day before, on 31 December, fleshing out some of the operational deta ...

11th January 2021 By

Immigration update podcast, episode 84

Welcome to episode 84 of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. We’re going over what happened in December 2020, which feels a bit like it was asylum month: we’ve got some very important changes to the Immigration Rules on claiming ...

8th January 2021 By

What are the 10 and 20 year rules on long residence?

The Immigration Rules allow people to apply to remain in the UK on the basis of long residence. Those here lawfully can apply for indefinite leave to remain following 10 years’ continuous lawful residence in the UK. Those who had periods of overstay ...

5th January 2021 By

Important Court of Appeal judgment on expert evidence and “credibility”

The Court of Appeal has handed down a major judgment on the correct approach to assessing whether a person is a victim of trafficking: MN v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 1746. Although this was the central question in the ...

4th January 2021 By

Free Movement review of the year 2020

It hasn’t exactly been one of the all time greats, has it? Nevertheless, every year I attempt to stand back from the constant updates and news, reflect on what really happened in immigration law during the year and try to look ahead to the comin ...

31st December 2020 By

Supreme Court: no additional “exceptional circumstances” test in Zambrano deportation cases

In the case of Robinson (Jamaica) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] UKSC 53 the Supreme Court has held that there is no “exceptional circumstances” test that applies in EU law to protect a non-EU national carer from depor ...

16th December 2020 By

Immigration update podcast, episode 83

Welcome to episode 83 of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. It’s a case law heavy episode, with lots of judgments from the immigration tribunal, Court of Appeal and even the European Court of Human Rights to chew on. We also talk abou ...

11th December 2020 By

Immigration and nationality fees unchanged for 2020/21

The list of fees for immigration and nationality applications was updated on 1 December 2020 to reflect the new or rebranded visa routes introduced on that date. The actual amounts are unchanged, though, and indeed application fees have mostly been f ...

8th December 2020 By

What even is United Kingdom immigration policy right now?

I follow immigration law and policy pretty closely but, I must confess, I simply do not know what UK government immigration policy is right now. We are told there is a new points based immigration system but that tells us nothing about what outcomes t ...

4th December 2020 By

New unofficial policy on deporting Jamaicans who arrived as children reported

The Guardian reports that the Home Office has agreed with Jamaica not to deport Jamaican citizens who arrived in the UK under the age of 12. The scope of the reported agreement is unclear: it arises in the context of an upcoming deportation flight to ...

30th November 2020 By

Immigration update podcast, episode 82

Welcome to episode 82 of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month we mostly focus on a host of changes to the Immigration Rules introduced in October and mainly coming into force in December. There are also some big cases on long resid ...

13th November 2020 By

Supreme Court finds treatment of skilled worker unfair

The Supreme Court held today in R (Pathan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] UKSC 41 that the Home Office’s treatment of a Tier 2 skilled worker, Mr Pathan, was unfair. Mr Pathan had applied for an extension of his visa as ...

23rd 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

Immigration update podcast, episode 81

Welcome to episode 81 of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month we kick off with a big ruling on deportation law before turning to some draft laws affecting EU citizens in the UK. The visa rules for students changed on 5 October, so ...

9th October 2020 By

Iraqi military doctor wins refugee exclusion appeal

The extremely long-running case of AB (preserved FtT findings; Wisniewski principles) Iraq [2020] UKUT 268 (IAC) has finally been allowed outright, subject to any further appeal from the Secretary of State. The appellant, an Iraqi doctor employed to w ...

16th September 2020 By

UK nationality law timeline

As a companion piece to our earlier immigration law timeline, here is an attempt at a nationality law timeline. I know that UK nationality law is complex but I confess I had not anticipated quite how long this one would take. With immigration law, muc ...

14th September 2020 By
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