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Circumventing immigration controls NOT always an offence

Circumventing immigration controls NOT always an offence

"The Home Office said people should claim asylum in the first country they reach, adding: "Anyone who tries to circumvent immigration controls to enter the UK is breaking the law."

The Guardian, 9 August 2013

No, no, NO! Less than a fortnight ago Lord Justice Leveson said he wanted to kill ‘stone dead’ the problem of the wrongful conviction of refugees charged with unlawful entry offences. Then this week this idiot at the Home Office grossly misstates the law.

If you are a refugee you are NOT breaking the law if you circumvent immigration controls. You have a defence under section 31 of the Immigration Act 1971.

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder and editor of the Free Movement immigration law website.

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