Free Movement’s pick of the past week’s media reporting on immigration and asylum.
The fallout from now-notorious Home Office deportation letters, sent in error to EU citizens over the summer, continued last week as the government agreed to compensate 106 recipients of instructions to leave the country (Daily Mirror).
Home Office errors continue all the same. The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, no less, helped to rescue the wedding day of an Irish/Japanese couple after the bride-to-be was denied a visa due to a “misunderstanding” (Irish News). Also in Northern Ireland, a Spanish citizen accused the department of “treating her family like criminals” during a lengthy dispute about permanent residence for her American husband (Guardian).
Still the sad stories of family separation come: the breastfeeding mother of three British children has been refused a family visa to return with them and her British husband from the United Arab Emirates, the family tells the Independent.
The Home Affairs Committee of MPs heard evidence on Wednesday that “the Home Office will not be able to meet the challenges of Brexit without “a considerable increase in resources” (Guardian). Free Movement editor Colin Yeo was among a trio of immigration lawyers to give evidence at the same session, telling MPs that “I don’t think it’s possible even within the two-year transition period to document everybody who needs to be documented” (Financial Times, £).
Colin is also quoted in a scathing assessment of the Home Office – “a crisis in waiting” – in this weekend’s Economist (£).
To cap a tough week in the office for Amber Rudd, the High Court ruled that her department’s redefinition of torture, which led to the detention of more tortured asylum seekers, was unlawful (BBC News).
Credit where it’s due, though – a Grenfell Tower immigration amnesty was improved and extended, giving survivors a “a clear path to obtaining permanent residency” (Reuters).
In Brexit news, the Prime Minister said that “we don’t know what would happen to” British citizens living in the EU if there were no withdrawal agreement (ITV News), even as the fifth round of negotiations saw little progress on citizens’ rights (Bloomberg).
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, “broke with Labour’s official migration policy” in launching his own immigration plan calling for “qualified freedom of movement”, according to the Evening Standard.
Finally, a grim picture emerges of NHS identity checks. A pilot programme to recover more of the (derisory) sums said to be lost from “health tourism” has been causing “panic, fear, confusion” in hospitals, Politics.co.uk reports.