There are some detailed blog posts to come on some of the more important things that happened in the last fortnight, but for those who missed their beloved Free Movement updates here is a brief round up of developments I’ve spotted looking through my emails on my return from holiday. In no particular order…
The Home Office’s self inflicted wounds caused by bad legislative drafting and rushed legislation continued with a rare example of the Court of Appeal upholding a major legal ruling by the Upper Tribunal, that of Ahmadi on section 47. As previously discussed this potentially causes huge problems down the line for the Home Office as setting later lawful removal directions will often trigger a further right of appeal. The more normal pattern was resumed with a grant of permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal to the Claimants in the never ending Zimbabwe Country Guidance litigation.
The universal policy of granting separated children three years Discretionary Leave without regard to their welfare was held by the High Court to be unlawful.
A new Immigration Act was announced in the Queens Speech. Details are sketchy but look ominous. The Government briefing says the main elements of the Bill will be:
Access to services
- The Bill would enable tough action against businesses that use illegal labour, including more substantial fines.
- The Bill would regulate migrant access to the NHS, ensuring that temporary migrants make a contribution
- The Bill would require private landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants
- The Bill would prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining UK driving licences
Enforcement and appeals
- The Bill would ensure that only those cases that raise the most important immigration issues would have a right of appeal.
- The Bill would close a number of gaps in enforcement officer’s powers.
- The Bill would contain provisions to give the full force of legislation to the policy we have already adopted in the Immigration Rules.
- The courts would therefore be required to properly reflect the balance given to the public interest when ruling on immigration cases.
There’s a good Adam Wagner article in the New Statesman on the rebalancing of Article 8.
Corum Children’s Legal Centre issued a new report called Happy Birthday? Disputing the age of children in the immigration system. The report includes some simple, practical and implementable changes to the existing age assessment process, which is currently harming rather than protecting too many young people.
Judgment in Alarape and Tijani C-529/11 was finally given by the Court of Justice of the European Union on the issue of whether third country nationals who are family members of a Union citizen resident under Article 12 of Regulation No 1612/68, as amended by Directive 2004/38, build up an entitlement to permanent residence. Deciphering CJEU judgments is always a little trying but it doesn’t look like a helpful judgment at first glance.
The latest judgment in the Zambrano saga was also handed down by the Court of Justice, the case of Ymeraga C-87/12. It is a significant case in a legal sense but offers little by way of practical guidance on the meaning of “the genuine enjoyment of the substance of the rights conferred by virtue of his status as a Union citizen”.
The Identity and Passport Service is to be renamed Her Majesty’s Passport Office, a title that emphasises the Government’s recent eagerness to assert prerogative powers over the issuing of passports. Perhaps because they seem to already have lost such prerogative powers over immigration control in the Supreme Court judgment in Alvi?
In the case of Khatoon v The Entry Clearance Officer Islamabad  EWHC 972 (Admin) paragraph 27 of the Immigration Rules was held by the High Court not to require the Secretary of State (or an Entry Clearance Officer) to treat a person as if they were a child when in fact they were not for human rights and child best interests purposes.
There were a couple of interesting immigration articles on Open Democracy, one by Dr Frank Arnold on the utterly unfounded allegation of self scarring in Tamil torture cases and another on observations of bail hearings.