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?” We’ll have a load of other refugee related conte ...

18th June 2018 By

Briefing: What are the barriers to British citizenship for EU nationals?

The recent case of Inga Lockton is the most high-profile recent example of growing problems that EU citizens and their families face with applying for British citizenship. Ms Lockton lived in the UK for 39 years, was married to a British citizen and h ...

14th June 2018 By

April 2018 immigration update podcast

Welcome to the April 2018 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This was the month that the Windrush scandal came to a head, so I start by focusing on the fallout from that before looking at an issue that would otherwise have led th ...

8th June 2018 By

Tribunal opens door to awards of costs against Home Office for unreasonable behaviour

A heavyweight Presidential panel sitting in the First-tier Tribunal has made multiple awards of costs against the Home Office for unreasonable behaviour and given guidance on the proper approach to making such awards in future. Despite the decision be ...

23rd May 2018 By

How quickly could Meghan Markle get British citizenship and what are the requirements?

So, the Royal Wedding approaches. But once the bunting is bought, the flags are flown and the merchandise marketed, what happens next for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry? Will they live happily ever after and, if so, where and with what visa? Princes a ...

14th May 2018 By

March 2018 immigration update podcast

Welcome to the March 2018 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month I start on the Brexit outlook for EU citizens before turning to several immigration law issues affecting children that came to light in March. The Upper Trib ...

9th May 2018 By

Immigration Act 2016: changes to immigration bail and detention powers now in force

Significant changes to immigration detention powers and a new status called “immigration bail” came into force on 15 January 2018. The Immigration Act 2016 (Commencement No. 7 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2017 commence sectio ...

2nd May 2018 By

Briefing: what is the hostile environment, where does it come from, who does it affect?

Theresa May declared in an interview with the Telegraph in May 2012 that she wanted to create a “really hostile environment” for irregular migrants in the UK. In this blog post we look at the evolution of the hostile environment, consider what m ...

1st May 2018 By

Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd admits Home Office detains migrants who cannot be removed

Amber Rudd, who was Home Secretary when I started writing this short blog post but not by the time I had finished, has admitted that the Home Office detains migrants “that we have no realistic hope of removing from the country.” The admiss ...

29th April 2018 By

How EU citizens could automatically get residence rights after Brexit

The default position when EU law no longer applies in the UK is to render EU citizens unlawfully resident. The proposed “settled status” scheme has been designed to prevent this, but perhaps its defining characteristic when compared with t ...

27th April 2018 By

Windrush cases and the standard of proof: moving the goalposts

What is the standard of proof for immigration applications? Both lawyers and non-lawyers are entitled to find that question baffling. Non-lawyers because it’s jargon, but the standard of proof basically means: how sure does the Home Office have ...

24th April 2018 By

Upper Tribunal: deported person remains “liable to deportation”

Not a huge surprise, this one. The official headnote for Williams (scope of “liable to deportation”) [2018] UKUT 116 (IAC): (1) A person who has been deported under a deportation order that remains in force is a person who is liable to deportation ...

23rd April 2018 By

Book review: Unity in Adversity: EU citizenship, social justice and the cautionary tale of the UK by Charlotte O’Brien

We are told repeatedly by UK politicians that EU citizenship is too expansive; it confers too many rights to encourage too much freedom of movement to too many people. This is why The British People voted to leave in the 2016 referendum, we are told. ...

20th April 2018 By

Tribunal sets out current approach to assessing whether out-of-country appeal is adequate

AJ (s 94B: Kiarie and Byndloss questions) Nigeria [2018] UKUT 115 (IAC). Not much to say on this one as the headnote is self explanatory: (1) In the light of Kiarie and Byndloss v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKSC 42, the First-ti ...

16th April 2018 By

Tribunal finally asks: what is a human rights appeal anyway?

Nearly three years after the main appeal provisions of the Immigration Act 2014 commenced, the Upper Tribunal has turned its attention to the question lying at the heart of almost all appeals lodged since then: what is a human rights appeal anyway? Th ...

16th April 2018 By

Upper Tribunal: automatic deportation regime relieves Secretary of State of decision-making function

Official headnote to Yussuf (meaning of “liable to deportation”) [2018] UKUT 117 (IAC): Section 32 of the UK Borders Act 2007 impliedly amends section 3(5)(a) of the Immigration Act 1971 by (a) removing the function of the Secretary of State of d ...

11th April 2018 By

Tribunal confirms Home Office decides what tribunal can consider

The Upper Tribunal has confirmed and applied the earlier case of Mahmud (S.85 NIAA 2002 – ‘new matters’) [2017] UKUT 488 (IAC) on what constitutes a “new matter” for the purpose of an appeal. In short, it seems any new ...

11th April 2018 By

February 2018 immigration update podcast

Welcome to the February 2018 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month I look at some legal developments with Brexit and review no less than three Supreme Court decisions on immigration, nationality and detention. There have ...

10th April 2018 By

EU families to fall through Brexit cracks despite settled status agreement

I’ve blogged previously about my concern for EU citizens falling through the cracks in terms of their post-Brexit residence and citizenship rights. Some of these worries are now articulated in a more formal way in two legal briefings undertake ...

29th March 2018 By

Half price on Free Movement membership for new members

We’re running a spring sale until 31 March 2018 on individual and small group (up to 10 users) annual memberships: half price for the first year for new members. To receive your discount, use one of these two codes when making your purchase: Annual ...

23rd March 2018 By

Tribunal reclaims jurisdiction to review deprivation of citizenship discretion

The number of cases of deprivation of British citizenship has risen sharply in recent years. For an in-depth look at the issues, see my earlier post on The rise of modern banishment: deprivation and nullification of British citizenship. The increasin ...

22nd March 2018 By

Has the political climate for migrants actually improved since I started this blog?

Free Movement turned 11 last week. The actual anniversary is 7 March (now that I have two actual children whose birthdays I need to remember, it’s harder to keep track of the blog’s). I sometimes do a bit of a retrospective on the growth o ...

12th March 2018 By

Naturalising as a British citizen: the intention to settle requirement

An adult who is not a British citizen can apply to become one. This process is known as naturalisation. People will normally be eligible to apply for naturalisation under section 6 of the British Nationality Act 1981 if they: are 18 or over are of “ ...

8th March 2018 By

Free Movement reader survey 2018: the results are in

My sincere thanks to the hundreds of readers who filled in the Free Movement reader survey this year. The feedback was more positive than I dared hope for, and the suggestions for improvements wonderful. Those interested can peruse the results for the ...

2nd March 2018 By

Tribunal returns to issue of failed payments and invalid immigration applications

Following on from Basnet (validity of application – respondent) [2012] UKUT 113 (IAC) (President Blake) and Mitchell (Basnet revisited) [2015] UKUT 562 (IAC) (Deputy President Ockleton) we now have Ahmed & Ors (valid application – b ...

1st March 2018 By

Death of Navtej Singh Ahluwalia

Navi Ahluwalia died peacefully after an illness on Saturday night. The announcement and a short tribute can be seen on the Garden Court Chambers website. The AIRE Centre, with which Navi was closely associated throughout his legal career, have also po ...

28th February 2018 By

January 2018 immigration update podcast

Welcome to the January 2018 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month I start with a follow-up to the Immigration Rules changes covered last month and discuss the commencement of the immigration bail provisions of the Immigra ...

26th February 2018 By

President Lane urges caution in making awards of costs against Home Office

In one of his first decisions as the new President of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the Upper Tribunal, Mr Justice Lane has urged caution in making awards of costs on the basis of unreasonable behaviour. The case is Thapa & Ors (costs: ge ...

22nd February 2018 By

Tribunal: risk of political persecution in Burma not improved since 2012

The headnote for OO (Burma -TS remains appropriate CG) Burma [2018] UKUT 52 (IAC) is a short one: TS (Political opponents-risk) Burma CG [2013] UKUT 281 (IAC) remains appropriate country guidance on the risk to political opponents in Burma. The Home O ...

20th February 2018 By

Supreme Court: Home Office could not impose bail on migrant who cannot lawfully be detained

The Supreme Court yesterday held in the case of B (Algeria) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] UKSC 5 that the Home Office cannot impose bail conditions on a migrant who cannot be lawfully detained. Or, at least, the Home Office coul ...

9th February 2018 By

How to make a permanent residence application

The Brexit vote to leave the EU has caused huge anxiety amongst EU citizens and their family members living in the UK. The UK government continues to advise these citizens not to make applications for proof that they have the right to permanent resid ...

6th February 2018 By

December 2017 immigration update podcast

Welcome to the December 2017 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month I cover some changes to the Immigration Rules, the latest Brexit developments and a trio of decisions on deportation. I then mention two cases at the Cou ...

2nd February 2018 By

How complex is UK immigration law 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 ...

24th January 2018 By

Free Movement reader survey 2018

It has been a while since we’ve done a reader survey. You can see the results of the previous 2013 and 2016 surveys, which were really useful feedback for us. Once again, we would be very grateful if you could take the time to complete this surv ...

24th January 2018 By

What does the new UK-France Sandhurst Treaty say and is it Brexit proof?

The UK and France have agreed a new Sandhurst Treaty on the management of their shared border. We’ve heard the spin from Macron and May, but what has actually been agreed and will it have a life after Brexit? Given how central the issue of asylu ...

19th January 2018 By

Old Free Movement content now members-only

In order to improve the service Free Movement provides to both members and casual readers I have made a number of changes to the website in the last year. I have recruited an assistant and then also CJ McKinney as deputy editor. I touched on these in ...

15th January 2018 By

Court of Appeal stomps on human rights appeals for visitors

The Court of Appeal has dealt a serious blow to rights of appeal for visitors to the UK. Here we analyse the legal situation and take a look at the three judgments. ...

11th January 2018 By

Free Movement review of 2017 and look ahead to 2018

The year 2017 was not one that much troubled the goats, at least those hircine heroes whose hirsute hides historicise immigration legislation; 2017 will see no major Act of Parliament written in vellum which directly affects immigration law, unlike th ...

2nd January 2018 By

The impact of Brexit on UK asylum law: part three

The refugee definition Engagement of the CJEU with asylum issues Since the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union was expanded to include asylum matters, we have a fairly steady rise in the number of judgments on these issues. Most ...

29th December 2017 By

The impact of Brexit on UK asylum law: part two

Selective participation in CEAS Participation in the Common European Asylum System is not necessarily “all or nothing”, nor does it absolutely require membership of the EU. Even within the EU, involvement in CEAS is also selective in some cases. H ...

28th December 2017 By