The Home Office incorrectly put long-term UK residents on a removal list for the best part of a year, the immigration inspector has found.
In a report published yesterday, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration reveals that for most of 2017, people refused the “right of abode” were automatically put into a database of migrants with no right to live in the UK.
Right of abode is a complex legal status, and those turned down for it often have the right to remain on another ground. But in January 2017, David Bolt reports,
the Home Office decided to ‘pull’ all refused RoA applications where the applicant had no current basis of stay in the UK automatically into the Migration Refusal Pool… the decision failed to take account of the fact that an individual might correctly be refused RoA but still have the right to remain in the UK, the refusal having no effect on immigration status.
This continued until the end of 2017, when the department realised that
a ‘small number of cases’ had been referred for consideration of enforcement action, despite the individual having been in the UK for a considerable number of years.
Some of these, the report says, were “Windrush individuals”.
Mr Bolt says that “the Home Office should provide assurances that all cases, not just Windrush ones, that were wrongly ‘pulled’ into the MRP have been identified and remedial action taken”. The department claims to have already done so.