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British citizens and refugee family reunion

British citizens and refugee family reunion

In an unusual example of the Court of Appeal being less liberal than the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, the AIT’s rather good decision in YS and YY (Paragraph 352D – British national sponsor former refugee) Ethiopia [2008] UKAIT 00093 was overturned by the Court of Appeal in DL (DRC) v ECO, Pretoria [2008] EWCA Civ 1420. The Tribunal had decided that the immigration rules on refugee family reunion apply to anyone who was historically recognised as a refugee. This is important to those affected, as it means that the normal requirement to show adequate maintenance and accommodation without recourse to public funds is waived.

The Court of Appeal decided that the natural meaning of the words in the immigration rules and the use of the perfect tense suggest that those who were historically recognised as refugees but are no longer refugees cannot benefit from the refugee family reunion rules. The Court then also decides that refugee status ceases automatically on the grant of British citizenship – or, at least, it used to, until EC Directives 2004/83/EC and 2005/85/EC came into effect. Whether it still does is left as an open question.

The team in one of the two linked Court of Appeal cases is in the process of petitioning the House of Lords.

I am reliably informed that a significant new argument is being run in the petition, along the lines that section 76(3) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 requires a positive step for the removal of ILR granted to a refugee, which suggests that cessation of status is not necessarily automatic.

Free Movement

The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.

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