All Articles: opinion

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

Illegal working fines aren’t working

What follows is a real case from my practice. Names have been changed. My clients (let’s call them Mr and Mrs Restaurant) have run a restaurant since 2004. Their establishment is beloved in the local community, especially amongst families. It feels ...

24th January 2020 By

Migrants need the right to work while fighting immigration cases

I am quoted in a recent Guardian story about the notorious, if niche, paragraph 322(5) of the Immigration Rules. This is the rule being used to refuse leave to remain to migrants because of alleged discrepancies between their tax returns to HMRC and t ...

28th August 2018 By

What is driving the Home Office fees increase?

When asked why the fees for visa applications are so expensive, the Home Office traditionally responds that the immigration system should be “funded by those who benefit from it”, in order to reduce taxpayer expense. This is a convenient p ...

2nd July 2018 By

Success of Syrian refugee resettlement shows how the Home Office can get it right

Nour Taleb runs the Sweety House, the latest popular Syrian business to open in Edinburgh. Mr Taleb fled Syria in 2012, arriving in the UK as a refugee under the government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme in 2016. A similar tale ...

21st June 2018 By

An NHS exemption will help, but the Tier 2 visa cap should go

Less than two months into the job, Sajid Javid appears to be, so far, quite a pragmatic Home Secretary. Following six months of the Tier 2 cap wreaking havoc amongst employers and users of the Points Based System, resulting in the NHS losing out on hi ...

18th June 2018 By

Waive immigration fees for soldiers from overseas

The ill-treatment of Commonwealth soldiers may no longer make headlines, but scandalously high immigration fees are depriving many of those who have served this country of their right to settle in Britain, writes Vinita Templeton of Duncan Lewis. The ...

18th May 2018 By

The fee for children to register as British is the next Windrush scandal

Like Commonwealth citizens unable to pay for residence cards, children entitled to register for British citizenship are prevented from taking up their rightful status in the UK by swingeing Home Office fees, write Solange Valdez-Symonds and Steve Vald ...

20th April 2018 By

Asylum support rise of 11p a day is a slap in the face

Asylum support must provide a safe place to live and enough money for people to look after themselves and their families. An extra 80p a week doesn’t cut it, writes Hannah Cooper, senior research and policy officer at Refugee Action. People see ...

19th January 2018 By

Sexual orientation asylum statistics are good news

Recent statistics on asylum grants to gay people represent a breakthrough rather than a breakdown in the system – acting as a sword, rather than shield, in advancing protection of queer refugees, argues S Chelvan of No5 Barristers Chambers. Long ...

4th January 2018 By

Citizenship for sale – at a cost stateless people can ill afford

Stateless people in the UK face enormous hurdles in the road to becoming British citizens. One of those barriers is the extraordinarily high cost of acquiring British citizenship, writes Asylum Aid’s Cynthia Orchard. The UK government has taken ...

5th October 2017 By

What will happen to immigration policy and law following the 2017 General Election?

It is the Queen’s Speech today. This sets out the legislative agenda for the coming Parliament in 2017 and 2018. But no party managed to win an overall majority in the General Election. We have what the political pundits and historians call a Hu ...

21st June 2017 By

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