All Articles: opinion

More than half of calls to EU Settlement Scheme helpline unanswered

People having problems with their application to the EU Settlement Scheme or issues proving their status have one main point of contact with the Home Office: the EUSS helpline. The Home Office has now revealed that this valuable resource has been fail ...

26th January 2022 By

Six especially ugly bits of the revised Borders Bill that really should be changed

The controversial Nationality and Borders Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords this week. One thing that peers on all sides of the house seemed to agree on – even if for different reasons – is that the immigration system is not workin ...

7th January 2022 By

Scrap the nonsensical 28-day start date rule for sponsored workers

Reading work visa sponsor guidance can be frustrating at the best of times, but particularly aggravating is paragraph S3.9: You must normally stop sponsoring the worker and inform us via your SMS account if the start date is delayed by more than 28 d ...

5th January 2022 By

It is time to think about rejoining the EU’s Dublin asylum system

The “Dublin system” is the process within the European Union for allocating which country is responsible for deciding asylum applications. Its purpose is, essentially, to force refugees back to their point of entry into the EU, usually Gre ...

29th November 2021 By

The tragedy in the Channel

Yesterday, at least 27 people drowned in the Channel. We do not know exactly how many died yesterday or in recent months because the bodies are sometimes lost. A family of five were reported as drowned in October 2020 but the body of one of the childr ...

25th November 2021 By

This one simple amendment could end the CSI anomaly in British citizenship

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) continues to be a barrier to British citizenship for EU citizens. Although EU citizens were not required to have CSI to qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme, it lingers on in the citizenship requirements for peop ...

23rd November 2021 By

Nine problems with the asylum system that Priti Patel can’t blame on anyone else

Priti Patel has Been Very Clear that the problems in the asylum system are other people’s fault (including me and my “activist lawyer” colleagues) and that her Package Of New Measures will sort them out. But what do the government’s own expert ...

19th November 2021 By

Student visa sponsorship system (finally) being reviewed

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) is to inspect the relationship between the immigration system and the higher education sector. The call for evidence, which is open until 15 November 2021, confirms that the ICIBI will ...

5th November 2021 By

The Immigration Act at 50: is it still up to the job?

Today marks a significant date in the immigration lawyer’s calendar: it is 50 years exactly since the Immigration Act 1971 received royal assent. Free Movement staff have planned a party to celebrate the occasion (not).  The 1971 Act is the root of ...

28th October 2021 By

Three ways to improve the immigration system and help solve the labour crisis

The number of new visas is starting to make heads spin. The government’s announcement of a route for HGV drivers and poultry workers comes hot on the heels of a new employment route for Graduates which opened in July. Next year will see at least two ...

28th September 2021 By

Only French cooperation can stop the Channel boats

The supposed “turn-around” policy for migrant boats is similar to previous reports of wave machines or floating fences. It sounds tough but will never be implemented. Policies aimed at the interception or interdiction of asylum seekers at sea are ...

13th September 2021 By

Even as Afghans are resettled, refugee protection is under attack

In 1956, after Soviet tanks had rolled into Budapest, the United Kingdom resettled around 11,000 Hungarian refugees in a matter of months. In 1972, after Idi Amin gave them 90 days to leave, the United Kingdom resettled nearly 30,000 Ugandan Asian ref ...

6th September 2021 By

A Shortage Occupation List review in 2022 is too late

Jobs that British employers struggle to recruit for are on the Shortage Occupation List. With separate entries for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it seeks to be responsive to the needs of industry across the devolved nations. The Migra ...

25th August 2021 By

Unnecessary fees for overseas acts heap fresh misery on live entertainment sector

It’s been a very long time since most UK live music and theatre “sponsors” have had to issue paperwork for overseas artists to come into the UK. For most, it’s been 16 months and counting. Since then, we’ve had Brexit, dragging EU ac ...

3rd August 2021 By

How the NHS charging system is failing survivors of domestic abuse 

Regulation 9 of The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015 provides that the NHS in England cannot charge overseas visitors for treating a condition caused by torture, female genital mutilation, domestic violence or se ...

23rd July 2021 By

Priti Patel’s Borders Bill caters for fantasy refugees, not real ones

Imagine that you are – for the sake of argument – involved in a democracy movement in a post-Soviet dictatorship. Recently the police picked you up, beat the hell out of you and assaulted you in ways you’d rather not dwell on. Then they booted y ...

6th July 2021 By

New data matching powers are a threat to migrant communities

The government’s threat to increase its use of data matching is now becoming a reality with plans to expand the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). If implemented, the proposals would extend data matching powers from their current use in tackling f ...

4th June 2021 By

Why Priti Patel’s asylum plan won’t fix the Channel crossings “crisis”

Priti Patel’s announcement of her “New Plan for Immigration” left many of us wondering what semblance of planning had gone into the proposals. The consultation that closed on 6 May raises similar questions given the misleading format of ...

19th May 2021 By

Immigration issues should be covered in the Armed Forces Bill

With the Armed Forces Bill making its way through Parliament, the opposition announced yesterday that it is moving a clause to ensure that service personnel with Commonwealth citizenship should not have to pay £2,389 for indefinite leave to remain fo ...

26th March 2021 By

Latest asylum plan won’t have the impact its supporters or opponents think

There is a lot that is familiar in the New Plan for Immigration. The government argues that its proposals are “firm but fair”, language eerily reminiscent of a 1998 Blair-era white paper entitled Fairer, Faster and Firmer. One thing that i ...

25th March 2021 By

Government must go beyond a press release to get undocumented migrants vaccinated

In response to growing pressure, the government announced on Monday that no immigration status checks will be carried out for migrants getting the coronavirus vaccination. While Downing Street’s press release focused on the lack of status checks ...

11th February 2021 By

Are “radical” and “moderate” positions on migrants’ rights conflicting or complementary?

There has been an interesting and mainly polite (if tense) discussion on and off Twitter in recent weeks about advocacy on migrants’ rights. This is in part linked to a short piece I wrote about deportations and a follow-up by Emma Harrison, dir ...

8th February 2021 By

Musicians’ tour visa fears are overstated

No doubt you will have read about the mudslinging between the UK and EU over the lack of a visa-free deal for touring musicians and entertainers. This has been retweeted and attacked by seemingly every artist you’ve heard of, and even been debated i ...

28th January 2021 By

Lords must act now to protect migrant survivors of domestic abuse

Following years of discussion and consultation, the government’s draft Domestic Abuse Bill was eventually published in January 2019. Now, nearly two years later, the bill comes before the House of Lords on Tuesday 5 January.  Campaigners and surviv ...

4th January 2021 By

Why the migrants’ rights sector should care about big data

Last month, UN special rapporteur on racism Professor Tendayi Achiume raised concerns about the impact of digital technologies on human rights. Achiume’s comments come at a time when governments are relying more and more on digital tools to control ...

21st December 2020 By

International students wrongly accused of cheating are losing hope

Many years ago, when I planned to come to the UK for higher education, I never imagined that I would be falsely labelled as a fraud. My whole world fell apart when I read a letter from the Home Office six years ago, accusing me of using a proxy in my ...

14th October 2020 By

As domestic abuse rises, the police are still betraying migrant victims

The rise in reports of domestic abuse during lockdown is horrifying. Worldwide, the situation is so bad that it’s been dubbed a “shadow pandemic“. In the UK, calls to domestic abuse helplines have risen by a terrifying 80%. In response, ...

8th October 2020 By

Mandatory self-isolation law overlooks vulnerable migrants

In a bid to slow the surge in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night set out new restrictions in England which range from the wearing of masks by shop workers to limits on the number of people attending weddings. These measures come h ...

23rd September 2020 By

The Channel “crisis” and the politics of compassion

In the absence of safe and legal routes into the UK, migrants and refugees are undertaking desperate and treacherous journeys across the Channel in small boats and dinghies. On 19 August, news broke of the tragic drowning of Abdulfatah Hamdallah, a yo ...

7th September 2020 By

Being non-racist is not enough

Racism is the belief that one racial group is above another racial group. It is supported by structural power. Structural power shows up in different ways and ensures unequal distribution of resources through laws, policies and behaviours amongst raci ...

26th August 2020 By

Shamima Begum, legal aid and access to justice

On 19 July 2020, Boris Johnson announced that the government would review legal aid rules in light of a Court of Appeal judgment requiring the government to repatriate a young woman, Shamima Begum, whom it had deprived of British citizenship on the ba ...

3rd August 2020 By

Is the EU Settlement Scheme working for children?

With one year left before the close of the EU Settlement Scheme, the headline numbers look positive for the Home Office. By the end of May 2020 more than 3.6 million applications had been made, although some people have applied more than once.  This ...

6th July 2020 By

Why a Welsh government report on BAME coronavirus deaths calls for lower visa costs

A recent report on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in Wales has urged the Welsh government to lobby the UK government to reduce visa costs, especially for those whose income is too low to spon ...

30th June 2020 By

Survivors of torture are let down by the asylum interview

The Windrush scandal first made headlines in 2018, but the Home Office is now facing intensified public scrutiny over its role in mistakes that caused profound suffering for so many members of the Windrush generation. Calls for accountability have gai ...

16th June 2020 By

Universities, schools and colleges urgently need international student guidance

On 19 May 2020, a number of media outlets reported that there will be no face-to-face lectures at Cambridge University until summer 2021. The university issued a statement the next day in which it said there had been “partial reporting of only o ...

21st May 2020 By

UK-Greece migration pact does too little for refugee children

Greece and the UK have signed a new strategic action plan committing to further their cooperation on migration. It has gone largely unreported in mainstream media, but some Greek and English news outlets noted that the joint plan includes the reloca ...

11th May 2020 By

If MPs won’t halt Right to Rent discrimination, the Supreme Court must

This week, the courts have once again found that the government’s Right to Rent checks – which require landlords to verify the immigration status of their tenants – cause discrimination on the grounds of race and nationality where it would not o ...

23rd April 2020 By

Coronavirus has taught us the limitations of “modern means of communication”

In countless Home Office decisions, and in judgments at all levels of the courts system, separation of family members for immigration reasons is – at least in part – justified by the availability of “modern means of communication”. It is a phr ...

8th April 2020 By

Close the immigration law loophole protecting domestic abusers

Adilah is from Afghanistan. In 2012, she marries a British citizen, and moves to the UK on a spouse visa, which her husband applied for on her behalf. When she arrives in the UK, things are, to say the least, different from what she had imagined. She ...

25th March 2020 By

The Domestic Abuse Bill fails migrant survivors like me

Whilst survivors and campaigners welcomed the reintroduction of the Domestic Abuse Bill in parliament last week, there is a clear consensus amongst us that the government’s “landmark” legislation fails to protect migrant victims. In orde ...

9th March 2020 By

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