Building a case based on a child’s best interests: practical tips

“Forcing me to leave the UK will not be in my child’s best interests” is a phrase often used by parents seeking to remain in the UK. Enny Choudhury has written an excellent briefing note on the body of law behind the phrase and the Home Office&# ...

21st October 2020 By

The government can easily fix its policy on citizenship for EU nationals – here’s how

The Home Secretary has a lot of power over naturalisation, the process by which foreign nationals can acquire British citizenship. The criteria for naturalisation are set out in the British Nationality Act 1981, but that Act also empowers the Home Sec ...

15th October 2020 By

It just got even more difficult for EU nationals to get British citizenship

On 30 September 2020 the Home Office updated its good character policy for naturalisation to make it even harder for EU nationals to become British citizens.  The new policy doubles the period of time, from five years to ten years, during which certa ...

7th October 2020 By

The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa

Details about the visa scheme for British National (Overseas) citizens in Hong Kong have finally been published today in a policy statement. Immigration lawyers hoping for a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules will need to wai ...

22nd July 2020 By

This is what the Court of Appeal decided about Shamima Begum – and what happens next

In Begum v Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) [2020] EWCA Civ 918, the Court of Appeal has ordered that Shamima Begum be granted leave to enter the UK so that she can participate in her deprivation of citizenship appeal. The court also orde ...

16th July 2020 By

Can Hong Kong activists get political asylum in the UK?

Simon Cheng, a former British consulate worker in Hong Kong, was allegedly abducted by the Chinese authorities during a trip to mainland China and tortured for fifteen days in August 2019. His account is terrifying. Cheng was a vocal supporter of the ...

15th July 2020 By

Briefing: Hong Kong and British National (Overseas) status

In this briefing we look at the British National (Overseas) citizenship status held by an estimated 2.9 million people in Hong Kong. Before we begin, a quick reminder that there are six different types of British nationality: British citizenship ...

7th July 2020 By

UK visas and citizenship for Hongkongers: what has been announced?

In a statement to Parliament today about Hong Kong, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed a new bespoke UK immigration route for British National (Overseas) citizens and their dependants. BNO status is a previously obscure form of British nationali ...

1st July 2020 By

Do you have to be under 18 to rely on the seven year long residence rule?

Fair play to the litigants and their lay representative for their perseverance in the Scottish appeal case of Saleemi [2020] CSIH 32. Their tenacity is remarkable: the Home Office refused their applications for leave to remain, the First-tier Tri ...

24th June 2020 By

Migrants’ rights during coronavirus: the story so far

If you’ve been struggling to keep up with the avalanche of immigration news and Home Office U-turns since lockdown began, you’re not alone. I’ve thrown together this immigration track and trace post to catalogue the major immigration ...

9th June 2020 By

Part of no recourse to public funds policy declared unlawful: full judgment out

No recourse to public funds (‘NRPF’) is a condition imposed on the majority of UK visa holders preventing them from claiming benefits. In R (W, A Child By His Litigation Friend J) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2020] EWH ...

27th May 2020 By

There is no 180 day a year rule for visitors to the UK

One of the most common UK immigration myths is that there is a maximum permitted stay of 180 days in a year (or six months in 12 months) for UK visit visa holders.  This myth has been propagated not just by migrants but also by advisers and even UK B ...

14th May 2020 By

Fee waiver for children denied British citizenship by discredited paternity law

The Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 294) come into force on 6 April 2020. They introduce a handful of fee tweaks, with the most significant changes being for children whose natural father is a man o ...

23rd March 2020 By

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee levied on the majority of UK visa applications. The IHS is on top of other Home Office immigration fees and is designed to land in a different government pocket. Also known as the NHS surcharge, it essen ...

29th January 2020 By

Celebrity chef Claude Bosi refused permanent residence after Brexit – here’s what went wrong

French chef Claude Bosi, holder of two Michelin stars for his Chelsea restaurant, published his Home Office refusal letter on Instagram today:           View this post on Instagram                   I have been in England for 23 years an ...

24th January 2020 By

Comment: illegal working fines aren’t working

What follows is a real case from my practice. Names have been changed. My clients (let’s call them Mr and Mrs Restaurant) have run a restaurant since 2004. Their establishment is beloved in the local community, especially amongst families. It feels ...

24th January 2020 By

Government strikes back in court battle over depriving terror suspects of British citizenship

In a case that sent me googling the definition and pronunciation of Note Verbale (“a diplomatic communication prepared in the third person and unsigned: less formal than a note but more formal than an aide-mémoire”; pronounced nawt ver-ba ...

6th December 2019 By

Another failed challenge to the good character citizenship requirement

R (Al-Enein) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 2024 is another valiant but failed attempt to challenge the Home Office’s good character policy in relation to applications for British citizenship. The issue in this case was ...

3rd December 2019 By

Comment: how to fix the overstaying rules

As we’ve highlighted in recent blog posts, the Immigration Rules aggressively punish overstaying, to the point where accidentally staying beyond the expiry date of your visa even by just one day will basically ruin your life. “So what?”, you ...

20th November 2019 By

Any overstaying technically breaks long residence, Court of Session agrees

The controversial English Court of Appeal long residence case of Ahmed has now been endorsed north of the border by the Court of Session in Mbomson v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] CSOH 81. Lord Malcolm’s decision is short: althou ...

7th November 2019 By

Four examples of how overstaying on your visa can ruin your life

Following on from my McGill & Co. colleague Darren’s recent post on the consequences of overstaying, I thought I would illustrate his point with a few case studies. The following examples are all derived from real cases that I have recently ...

31st October 2019 By

What to do if you lose your British passport abroad

You’ve just had a fantastic summer holiday in, let’s say, Greece — away from the daily grind, the misery of Brexit and British summertime weather. Sunshine every day, beach swimming, late nights, great wine, even better food. You’re basica ...

27th August 2019 By

Passport eGates: turning visitors into overstayers since 2019

Every immigration lawyer in the UK will, at least once in their career, be sat in front of a nonchalant non-visa national (usually American, Canadian or Australian) who is blissfully unaware that they have either overstayed their leave as a visitor, b ...

12th August 2019 By

12 years a litigant: Franco Vomero case returns to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court handed down its second judgment in the long-running case of Franco Vomero today. The latest instalment is Secretary of State for the Home Department v Franco Vomero [2019] UKSC 35. The facts Mr Vomero is Italian. He moved to the UK a ...

24th July 2019 By

What is the difference between refugee status and humanitarian protection?

Viewers of BBC2’s fly-on-the-wall documentary series about immigration lawyers and their clients may remember Dillian, a gay asylum seeker from the Caribbean. Dillian isn’t granted refugee status, but does eventually get a different legal status a ...

21st June 2019 By

Should refugees who entered the UK illegally be denied British citizenship on good character grounds?

Back in January, the Home Office updated and expanded its guidance on the “good character” requirement in British citizenship applications. One of the big changes in the guidance is the long overdue recognition of the existence of Article 31 of th ...

13th May 2019 By

Media pressure saved my clients from removal – but now come the crippling fees

Last month, for the first time in my career, I took a client’s appeal to the media instead of the immigration tribunal. Mozaffar Saberi and Rezvan Habibimarand are an elderly Iranian couple (83 and 73) living in Edinburgh. They have four adult ...

25th February 2019 By

Official guidance on the good character citizenship test

The latest version of the Home Office’s Good character requirement guidance published on 14 January 2019 incorporates long-awaited new sections on children and refugees. There are also new sections on absolute and conditional discharges, detention a ...

28th January 2019 By

Blame the accountant? Tribunal weighs in on paragraph 322(5)

In R (Khan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Dishonesty, tax return, paragraph 322(5)) [2018] UKUT 384 (IAC) the Upper Tribunal has issued guidance to the Home Office on how to properly decide applications from Tier 1 (General) applicant ...

26th November 2018 By

Special court denies British citizenship to relatives of Bashar Al-Assad

Appellants in immigration cases would normally be delighted if a court made an unambiguous finding that the government had acted unfairly towards them. Not so the family of Bashar Al-Assad. In a very unusual judgment, the Special Immigration Appeals C ...

14th November 2018 By

Renouncing your British citizenship is rarely a good idea

Yet again the Home Office has come under fire for its treatment of a European citizen, this time for denying an EEA residence card to the American husband of an Irish national living in Northern Ireland. The case of Gemma Capparelli and her husband wa ...

7th November 2018 By

Yemen-born Somalis in High Court fight for British Overseas Citizenship

Despite our remarks in previous blogs about the useless nature of British Overseas Citizen status, a series of judgments handed down by the High Court this summer demonstrate that this unusual version of British nationality is sufficiently valuable to ...

5th September 2018 By

What happens if you mistakenly apply for British citizenship instead of indefinite leave to remain?

What happens when an American graduate, about to become eligible for indefinite leave to remain having lived lawfully in the UK for almost a decade, incorrectly thinks that he is eligible to apply for British citizenship and applies for that instead? ...

17th August 2018 By

Employment tribunal bites off more than it can chew in right to work case

Afzal v East London Pizza Ltd (t/a Dominos Pizza) (Rev 1) [2018] UKEAT 0265_17_1304 is a decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal. It touches on the vexed issue of an employee continuing to work while awaiting a decision from the Home Office on an ...

13th July 2018 By

Can a British Overseas Citizen be stateless?

In Teh v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 1586 (Admin) the High Court has found that a British Overseas Citizen (BOC) can be stateless under the Immigration Rules if he or she has no other nationality. This is an interesting and ...

6th July 2018 By

How the Home Office used the NHS to refuse my client a visa

In October 2011 the Home Office amended the Immigration Rules to allow immigration applications to be refused where the NHS had notified the Secretary of State of an outstanding debt of £1,000 or more. In early 2017, this figure was reduced to £500 ...

4th June 2018 By

Challenging good character refusals in British citizenship applications

Every few years another “good character” nationality case makes it to court. Usually they arise in the context of adults applying for naturalisation as British citizens at the Home Secretary’s discretion under section 6 of the British Nationali ...

15th March 2018 By

Landmark Supreme Court decision overrules historic gender discrimination in British citizenship

The Supreme Court has opened up British citizenship by double descent to all children born to British women in non-Commonwealth countries between 1949 and 1983. Delivering a judgment which makes no attempt to disguise his academic interests as a histo ...

8th February 2018 By

Returning from outside the UK to challenge deprivation of citizenship

What procedure should be followed when someone is deprived of British citizenship, at a time when he or she is abroad, to enable return to the UK to participate in a statutory appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC)? Should judicia ...

22nd January 2018 By

The Upper Tribunal’s costs appeal guidance has been overruled

Contrary to recent guidance from the Upper Tribunal, issued by former President McCloskey no less, an application to that tribunal for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal against a costs order made in a judicial review should be subject to a & ...

17th January 2018 By