All Articles: key post
What are the Hardial Singh principles?
This post explains the Hardial Singh principles, which are the most important limitation on the Home Office’s immigration detention powers. The Hardial Singh principles take their name from the case of R (Singh) v Governor of Durham Prison  E ...9th July 2020
Briefing: what is the law on deporting non-EU foreign criminals and their human rights?
Deportation proceedings pit the rights of the individual against those of the state, appointed guardian of the public interest. And as very clearly stated in primary legislation, the deportation of foreign criminals is in the public interest. The law ...2nd July 2020
General grounds for refusal: owing a litigation debt to the Home Office
Statement of changes HC877, of 11 March 2016, gave the Home Office yet another power to refuse applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK. For all applications made on or after 6 April 2016, having a “litigation debt” to the Home Office m ...25th June 2020
What is the legal definition of a “refugee”?
This week is Refugee Week. On Free Movement we try to communicate complex legal issues in immigration and asylum law in a clear way and here we answer the question “what is a refugee?” Before we get to that, we have loads of content about ...15th June 2020
The Refugee Convention: who are refugees and asylum seekers?
This piece is about refugees, asylum seekers, and the Refugee Convention. It outlines who can be a refugee, and how being a refugee and having “refugee status” are two very different things. We also explore the rights and entitlements avai ...5th June 2020
General grounds for refusal: understanding re-entry bans
The Home Office can impose entry bans on people who have previously breached immigration law or used deception in their application for leave. Bans can last one year, two years, five years or ten years. Generally speaking, and except for some minor ex ...26th May 2020
There is no 180-day a year rule for visitors to the UK
One of the most common UK immigration myths is that there is a maximum permitted stay of 180 days in a year (or six months in 12 months) for UK visit visa holders. This myth has been propagated not just by migrants but also by advisers and even UK B ...14th May 2020
General grounds for refusal: contriving to frustrate the intention of the rules
Sometimes a migrant here in the UK unlawfully will want to apply for immigration status. Lawyers and the Home Office often call this “regularising” their status, because the person becomes a “regular” migrant within the rules r ...1st May 2020
Briefing: what is leave outside the Rules?
Anyone whose life consists of daily references to the Immigration Rules will tell you that the experience can feel a lot like deep ocean exploration in the Mariana Trench: despite constant research, you will still make new discoveries, even when you t ...27th April 2020
General grounds for refusal: criminal convictions, public good, character, conduct and associations
Criminal convictions and other signs of poor character can, unsurprisingly, negatively affect applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK. This has always been so, but in December 2012 the rules were changed to permanently ban entry of those w ...20th April 2020
How to apply for a Tier 2 sponsor licence
For all the bold talk of Australian-style points based systems, the government’s recent policy statement confirmed what had been known for some time: the post January 2021 immigration system will be centred around the well worn Tier 2 sponsorshi ...9th April 2020
How to apply for “settled status” for EU citizens
On 31 January 2020 at 11pm, the United Kingdom left the European Union and entered a transition period, due to end on 31 December 2020. During this transition period, Europeans can continue to enjoy their freedom of movement rights in the UK as they d ...4th February 2020
Briefing: the status of EU immigration and asylum law after Brexit
Following the Conservative Party’s victory in the December 2019 general election, and the passing of the Withdrawal Agreement Act on 23 January 2020, the UK has now left the European Union with a divorce deal. Under the deal, formally called the W ...3rd February 2020
What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee levied on the majority of UK visa applications. The IHS is on top of other Home Office immigration fees and is designed to land in a different government pocket. Also known as the NHS surcharge, it essen ...29th January 2020
What is so special about being a British citizen, legally?
You would be forgiven for thinking there are some special rights or privileges attached to being a British citizen. Politicians are fond of telling us how great it is to be British and how it is a privilege not a right. Our government charges foreign ...27th December 2019
Briefing: the Tier 1 (Investor) route
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa allows foreign citizens to get permission to live in the UK in return for an investment of £2 million in the British economy. The investment can be in shares or bonds issued by UK companies. Around 12,000 people have come t ...19th December 2019
Leave to remain application date: how to calculate it and why it is important
You’ve left extending your visa until the last minute and are now in danger of missing the deadline. Does this matter and is there anything you can do about it? The answer to the first question is a resounding yes. Fortunately, in most cases, th ...29th November 2019
British by descent: when the child of a British citizen is not themselves British
A story hit the news over the weekend of two-year-old Lucy, the child of British parents who has been told by the Home Office that she must leave the UK. It is always difficult to comment on news stories without knowing the full facts but it is certai ...15th October 2019
Disclosure of documents from family court proceedings
The recent – and by now infamous – case of Re Nasrullah Mursalin  EWCA Civ 1559, in which a paralegal was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for disclosing papers from family proceedings to an immigration tribunal judge, has generated m ...9th October 2019
Briefing: what is the ‘right of abode’ in UK immigration and nationality law?
As I was reviewing John Vassiliou’s excellent piece on Hong Kongers with British National Overseas status last week, I realised that we’ve never put together an explainer on the right of abode. A quick Google search showed up no great expl ...18th September 2019
Briefing: How expensive are UK immigration applications and is this a problem?
The cost of making an immigration or nationality application has risen extremely steeply in recent years. Annual increases of 20% or 25% per year became standard, bringing the current cost of an application for indefinite leave to remain (aka settleme ...3rd September 2019
How to apply for immigration bail directly to the Home Office
People in immigration detention can make an application for Secretary of State bail directly to the Home Office. The Home Office has the same powers as the immigration tribunal to grant bail and manage its conditions. Is it worth applying? An applicat ...2nd September 2019
What is the no recourse to public funds condition?
The “no recourse to public funds” condition is imposed on grants of limited leave to enter or remain with the effect of prohibiting the person holding that leave from accessing certain defined public funds. A person who claims public funds despi ...5th August 2019
What is the difference between refugee status and humanitarian protection?
Viewers of BBC2’s fly-on-the-wall documentary series about immigration lawyers and their clients may remember Dillian, a gay asylum seeker from the Caribbean. Dillian isn’t granted refugee status, but does eventually get a different legal status a ...21st June 2019
Who decides when an immigration appeal ends?
When someone pursuing an appeal in the immigration tribunal decides that they no longer want the appeal to go ahead, who gets to decide when the appeal comes to an end? The person themselves, the tribunal, or the Home Office? In July 2017, Mr Justice ...17th April 2019
How will Brexit affect Irish citizens in the UK?
The UK government’s policy is that Brexit will not affect Irish citizens at all. Other European citizens have to apply for a new “settled status” or risk losing their right to live and work in the UK after it leaves the European Union. But the g ...8th April 2019
What are the UK Immigration Rules on statelessness?
People who do not have citizenship of any country in the world — the “stateless” — can get leave to remain in the UK because they have nowhere else to go. The criteria for this leave are found at Part 14 of the Immigration Rule ...27th March 2019
Refugee family reunion: a user’s guide
This post is intended for refugees (including those with humanitarian protection), their families and their friends trying to understand the rules on refugee family reunion. The requirements to be met are straightforward and simple for children and s ...20th March 2019
Briefing: the best interests of children in immigration cases
It is a decade since the UK agreed to lift its immigration reservation to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, recognising that “migrant” children are, well, children too. Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act ...4th March 2019
Briefing: overcoming language barriers in lawyer-client communication
In this blog post, Judith Reynolds, Research Associate at Cardiff University’s Centre for Language and Communication Research, offers immigration law practitioners some reflections and tips for communicating with foreign language-speaking clients. A ...22nd February 2019
Naturalising or registering as a British citizen: the good character requirement
Anybody over the age of ten who applies for registration or naturalisation as a British citizen needs to meet the so-called “good character requirement”. This is a mandatory requirement set out in the British Nationality Act 1981. Where a person i ...8th February 2019
Fee waiver policy: who qualifies and what does the Home Office guidance say?
Fees for immigration applications continue to increase every year. Most applications for leave to remain submitted from the UK (other than under the Points Based System) cost £1,033. In addition, applicants may need to pay an Immigration Health Surch ...4th February 2019
Children of single parents: the sole responsibility and exclusion undesirable tests
Where parents have already or are relocating to the United Kingdom and both parents will end up in the UK (or one parent will and the other is deceased) then the Immigration Rules permit them to bring their children. The main requirements are that the ...3rd January 2019
Comprehensive Sickness Insurance: what is it, and who needs it?
If you are an EEA/EU citizen or their family member and wish to qualify for an EU law right of residence, then eventually a right of permanent residence, you have to meet certain requirements. For some people — chiefly those not working or self- ...13th December 2018
Briefing: how lawyers can help young people in the asylum system
Claiming asylum can be a traumatic experience. Having to relive the worst events in your life while you undergo a series of interviews and hearings is bad enough. It is even worse when Home Office officials are highly sceptical about a young person’ ...10th December 2018
Can children and parents apply to remain after seven years residence?
From a child’s perspective, seven years of residence in the UK can be literally a lifetime. It may be the sum of all the child’s experience and the UK may be the only home they know in any meaningful sense. On top of that, children do not make the ...28th November 2018
Exceptional circumstances in a spouse or partner visa application under Appendix FM
In recent posts we have looked at the requirements to be satisfied by a British or settled person who wishes to bring their spouse or partner into the UK under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. But what can be done if someone is unable to meet the ...5th November 2018
Briefing: the rules on returning residents with indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
Indefinite leave to remain in the UK is a type of immigration status that means a person can live and work in the UK for as long as they like, with no further need to apply for a visa extension. Occasionally, though, people with ILR are refused entry ...1st November 2018
How to apply for leave to remain as a bereaved partner
This post is about what happens to a migrant who is in the UK on a partner visa if their sponsor passes away. If their partner dies before the migrant becomes settled, the last thing on their mind will be their immigration status. However, as status a ...11th October 2018