BBC Panorama exposes the culture of abuse in immigration detention

Panorama, Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets is required viewing for anyone interested in immigration in the UK. It is also deeply uncomfortable viewing. It documents an undercover investigation into Brook House, one of the UK’s 13 Immigration Removal Centres. The episode shows detainees subjected to severe violence, taunting, and mistreatment. A widespread culture of disdain towards the detainees among staff permeates the detention centre. The investigation sheds light on alarming issues surrounding immigration detention, which have been subject to criticism and legal challenge since the beginning of the proliferation of detention in the UK. This tweet from the Panorama account gives a sense of the programme: WATCH: undercover footage shot by…

6th September 2017 By Thomas Beamont

Home Office cracking down on entry of amateur cricketers

The Home Office appears to be cracking down on the entry of foreign amateur cricketers and sportspeople. Emails released by the Home Office under a Freedom of Information request suggest that unpaid amateur cricketers who might in future wish to earn a living from their sport or even any under 17 player who has played at state, province, territory or national team level, paid or unpaid, should be barred from entry to play as an amateur in the UK “so as to protect opportunities for resident sportspeople who are seeking to make a current or future liivng in that sport” and “prevent the displacement of settled workers.” The same approach…

26th July 2017 By Free Movement

In depth look at the new Home Office settlement policy for refugees after five years

In March 2017 the Home Office has announced a new policy of reviewing whether all refugees require protection at the end of a 5 year initial period of Refugee Status. This policy is effective for all existing and future applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’) as a Refugee. This policy has now been effective for three months and, with Refugee Week upon us, it is a good opportunity to delve into it in greater detail. The application process Those recognised as refugees will usually be granted a period of 5 years limited leave. When that leave is due to expire they must apply for ILR. The Home Office gives…

22nd June 2017 By Chris Desira

General grounds for refusal: alleged deception and innocent mistakes

Making a mistake on an immigration application form can be disastrous. If the mistake is interpreted by officials as an attempt to mislead or deceive, the application will inevitably be refused. If the application was for entry clearance, it will also lead to a 10 year ban on re-entry to the UK. There are a number of relevant court cases and Home Office policies that can help if such a situation does arise, although of course it is far, far preferable to avoid such a problem in the first place. What are the Immigration Rules on deception? Automatic refusals There are two key effects of a finding of deception by an…

28th March 2017 By Colin Yeo

Several immigration enforcement policies added or updated

Guidance added on ‘Arrest and restraint’, ‘Enforcement interviews’, ‘Identifying people at risk’, ‘Illegal working operations’ and updated guidance on ‘Search and seizure’. The changes reflect new powers under the Immigration Act 2016. I can’t help thinking the Home Office might have other demands on its time now apart from this sort of policy stuff. Or, to put it another way, WHAT ABOUT BREXIT?! Source: Powers and operational procedure – Publications – GOV.UK

14th July 2016 By Colin Yeo

Updated guidance on exclusion under Article 1F of the Refugee Convention

Some significant updates to the guidance on exclusion from the Refugee Convention (both Articles 1F and 33(2)) according to the change log: updated to incorporate guidance on applying Article 33(2) of the Refugee Convention additional guidance on extremism and extremist behaviours to align with wider cross government extremism strategy incorporated changes to reflect the most recent case law on the application of Article 1F of the Refugee Convention and Article 12(2) of the Qualification Directive Source: Exclusion under Article 1F of the Refugee Convention – Publications – GOV.UK

6th July 2016 By Colin Yeo

New Asylum Policy Instruction on further submissions by failed asylum seekers

Changes from last version of this guidance updated to reflect Immigration Act 2014 changes since v8.0 clarification on how paragraph 353 applies to human rights only cases, including valid applications made under the Immigration Rules after an earlier asylum or human rights claim has been refused additional circumstances in which paragraph 353 does not apply to further asylum or human rights claims. Published 19 February 2016. Thanks to Andrew Jones of Wilson Solicitors LLP for bringing it to my attention. Source: Further submissions – Publications – GOV.UK

24th February 2016 By Colin Yeo

New Detention Services Order on serious immigration detention incidents

New Detention Services Order 05/2015 Reporting and communicating incidents out of hours in the immigration detention estate has just been published covering how out of hours incidents in immigration detention camps and during enforced removals (including charter flights) should be reported and communicated. It replaces two previous DSOs but I will not be conducting a minute examination of the changes here. I suspect the new DSO is in response to a spate of publicity around deaths in detention, including the recently concluded inquest into the tragic death of 85 year old Canadian Alois Dvorak. The new DSO seems unhealthily obsessed with media handling rather than the safety of those affected. From paragraph 1: …This…

14th December 2015 By Colin Yeo

Home Office guidance on asylum claims by EU nationals

The Home Office has updated its guidance on asylum claims by EU nationals (Asylum Policy Instruction EU/EEA Asylum Claims) to reflect changes to the Immigration Rules taking effect on 21 November 2015. These changes introduced a presumption that asylum claims by EU nationals are inadmissible and will not be considered unless exceptional circumstances are shown.

10th December 2015 By Colin Yeo

Home Office interpretation of EU case law

I just came across a new (to me, at any rate) Home Office policy document entitled European Economic Area (EEA) case law and appeals which sets out the Home Office interpretation of various key EU law cases including Steymann, Levin, Antonissen, Surinder Singh, Eind, O and S v Netherlands, McCarthy, Reyes and others. It is nice to see O and S get a mention, at least, but the policy does not at all explore the obvious incompatibility of the case and the UK’s Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 as amended and the “centre of life” test. The summary is also pretty incomplete and misleading given that it omits to mention that residence and exercise…

29th May 2015 By Colin Yeo

New Policy Notices from Free Movement Operational Policy Team

Some new Policy Notices have emerged thanks to the Freedom of movement in the EU blog. They cover disclosure of notes taken in marriage interviews, further confirmation that EU law application forms are optional, updates to the Modernised Guidance on various EU law issues and on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance. Most mind-numbingly astonishing bit: The policy team have undertaken a substantive review of all in-country EEA application forms with the objective of making the forms simpler in terms of evidential requirements and more user-friendly. The outcome is the 137 page EEA(FM) application form. Someone is having a laugh. I’d hate to see one of these civil servants go out of their way to make things harder….

23rd April 2015 By Colin Yeo

Making a new entry clearance application while appeal is outstanding

Interesting snippet I just spotted while trawling appeals policies for a major update of the Immigration Act 2014 ebook and course: A person who has an appeal pending can make a fresh application for entry clearance in the same or any other category. There is no requirement for a person to withdraw an appeal. Comes from section 20 of Appeal procedures: APL01. I’d always have said this was the law but thought that ECOs nevertheless refused to process new applications while there was an outstanding appeal. Different provisions apply within the UK: it is not possible to make a new application within the UK while an appeal remains outstanding owing to…

14th April 2015 By Colin Yeo

New long residence guidance from Home Office

Now in version 12, valid from 17 October 2014. The only major change seems to be removal of guidance on qualifying for ILR after 10 years through the private life route. Still includes the useful exception to requiring continuity of residence for those who overstay for 28 days or less.

21st October 2014 By Colin Yeo

New Home Office guidance on deportation

The Home Office have updated their Chapter 13 Immigration Directorate Instruction guidance on deportation cases. It makes interesting reading for anyone interested in immigration law or human rights but it is essential reading for lawyers representing people in deportation cases. It not only gives insight into the approach of the Home Office, it also tells us about the evidence that is necessary in deportation cases in order to avoid an appeal where people do meet the stringent rules. It discloses some interesting possible arguments about the scheme of the statutory considerations on human rights and includes some really quite astonishing propositions even by Home Office standards.  

26th August 2014 By Colin Yeo

HM Inspector of Prisons report on Dover IRC and Rule 35

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report on an unannounced inspection of Dover Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) between 3–14 March 2014 (published 7 July 2014) once again highlights critical concerns surrounding Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001. Dover IRC is generally commended, although its atmosphere appears to remain that of a prison rather than an immigration detention centre – the distinction may be a fine one. 

8th July 2014 By David Rhys Jones

Mike Tyson refusal: what are the rules on previous convictions?

Mike Tyson has just been refused entry to the UK because of his previous conviction for rape (The Bookseller, The Guardian, BBC). He was due to promote his new book but his agents were unaware of the change to immigration rules, which occurred quietly in December 2012. I thought it might be worth highlighting the rules themselves and the rather curious and revealing policy behind them. After all, many people are convicted of criminal offences, including some people later revered, who redeem themselves in some way or who are convicted in dubious or exceptional circumstances. Blanket rules by their nature can cause individual hardship and injustice.

11th December 2013 By Colin Yeo

Getting an appealable removal decision

Many migrants and their families get caught in a situation where they apply to the Home Office for permission to stay, are rejected but then are unable to appeal the decision to the immigration tribunal. This has long been a problem (‘Refusal with no right of appeal revisited‘) but is becoming even more acute given the terms of Appendix FM and the huge number of arbitrary refusals it is generating. Although it may well seem counterintuitive, a good outcome can be a formal removal decision from the Home Office.

23rd September 2013 By Colin Yeo

New continuous long residence policy

I was recently reviewing the long residence policy for an informal advice and noticed that since I last looked at it (admittedly a little while now) it has been substantially liberalised in respect of those who have gaps in their lawful residence. This might not be news to everyone else, but I thought it was worth sharing just in case. Kitty Falls posted up the link in the forum for another reason, for which I’m grateful – as previously discussed, modernised guidance is huge a pain to find and use. The policy used to be very strict for 10 year rule applicants who had submitted a historic immigration application out…

27th June 2013 By Colin Yeo

New evidential flexibility policy

Rumours as to the death of the ‘evidential flexibility’ policy prove to have been exaggerated. A new version was recently published. Hat tip to Adam Pipe of No 8 Chambers in Birmingham. The policy covers the circumstances in which a Points Based System application will not be refused because of some sort of missing, incomplete or incorrectly formatted evidence or information. ‘Evidence’ and ‘information’ seem to be used interchangeably in the policy and quite considerable discretion is imparted to UKBA caseworkers as to how they approach a case that would on the face of the Immigration Rules fall for mandatory refusal. If I had a suspicious mind I would be…

26th June 2013 By Colin Yeo

British women disproportionately affected by new immigration rules

A new Freedom of Information request has revealed that British women have been affected disproportionately compared against men by new minimum income rules for spouse and partner applications. There has been a 20% drop in the female-sponsored proportion of applications made, which suggests that women have been disproportionately put off applying for spouses to join them under the new regime. Of the applications that were made there has then been a further 23% drop in the female-sponsored proportion of successful applications in which a visa was subsequently issued. The new rules were brought into force on 9 July 2012. The minimum income requirement for spouses and partners was increased dramatically…

10th June 2013 By Colin Yeo

Non disclosure of criminal convictions

With thanks to the excellent Fawzi Zuberi of Lighthouse Solicitors, I thought it might be worth flagging up an obscure, very well hidden but very useful part of the modernised guidance on General grounds for refusal. It comes at p98 onwards of a ridiculously long document (which of course is far LESS user friendly and comprehensible than before it was ‘modernised’) and the most useful bit reads as follows: You must consider refusing an application on character and conduct grounds if a person fails to declare a criminal conviction, especially when explicitly asked to do so on an application form. However, an application must not be refused if you believe the…

3rd June 2013 By Colin Yeo

Plus ça change

So, the ill-starred UK Border Agency is to be abolished. Few if any will be sorry to see it go. But the sordid business of immigration control will go on and, as the Permanent Secretary, Mark Sedwell, wrote to staff: “Most of us will still be doing the same job in the same place with the same colleagues for the same boss and with the same mission…” Is abolition a case of ‘here comes the new boss, same as the old boss’ (for non Who fans, try plus ça change or le roi est mort, vive le roi!), will it make things better, or is it a further example of…

8th April 2013 By Free Movement

More Evidential Flexibility Policy instructions disclosed

A big thank you goes to Jane Heybroek of Bell Yard Chambers for persisting with her Freedom of Information request in relation to further documents concerning the Evidential Flexibility policy.  You can access the disclosure here.  The policy (but not Jane’s FoI instructions) was very recently covered by the Upper Tribunal in its decision of Rodriguez (Flexibility Policy) [2013] UKUT 00042 (IAC), to which the other policy instructions are usefully annexed.  Related posts and documents previously uploaded by Free Movement can be accessed here. The documents within Jane’s FoI request are essentially the full sets of instructions that were issued to caseworkers back in August 2009 when the policy was…

6th March 2013 By Sarah Pinder

Migration map

IOM inward/outward migration map Interesting! Thanks to @deportedfromUK for the heads up.

18th February 2013 By Free Movement

ONS video explains census data

This is such a good explanation of the census data on the foreign-born component of the ‘usually resident’ population that I felt I had to share it. Really good work by the Office of National Statistics. It is a five minute look at the data with some very simple but effective visualisation to explain what has changed. For the other videos explaining other aspects of the census data, see here. Really good use of modern media. Better than, say, the UK Border Agency one where they crush the people smuggler or the Operation Mayapple one of black or brown people being collared in ethnic minority areas.

11th December 2012 By Free Movement

Evidential flexibility policy revealed

Further to Sarah Pinder’s earlier post on this subject, I have been provided with a copy of the infamous “PBS PROCESS INSTRUCTION EVIDENTIAL FLEXIBILITY” document in response to a Freedom of Information Request. I am very grateful to Jane Heybroek [ed. valued occasional blog commenter!] for sharing it. A copy of the document itself appears here and the FOI request here. Many of us have argued about the existence of this policy in the context of Points Based System appeals for some time now.  We have been able to point to various sources to confirm that there is such a policy, but not to any document outlining the details of it and also the…

30th July 2012 By Sanaz Saifolahi

Fairness and the Points-Based System: A contradiction in terms?

Kezia Tobin and Sarah Pinder recently broached this topic at a seminar given by Renaissance Chambers on 13 June 2012 digesting the procedural issues and most recent case-law involved and this post has been put together by them both to highlight some of the issues covered. The notes highlight the “evidential flexibility policy” of the UKBA, which was covered on the blog last year.  Evidently (no pun intended) there has not been any further disclosure of the policy instructions to caseworkers so we are none the wiser as to exactly what criteria are being applied by UKBA caseworkers.   However it is important to note that the standard acknowledgement letters sent…

22nd June 2012 By Sarah Pinder

Crime and Courts Bill

As has been widely reported in the mainstream media, the Government proposes to scrap family visitor appeal rights. Again. The change is intended to come into full effect in 2014 but as early as July 2012 the definition of ‘family’ will be narrowed to exclude cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces or nephews. See the press release here. The full abolition is to be effected in yet another piece of legislation with a title that cements the subliminal link between crime and immigration, the Crime and Courts Bill. The justification is cost saving at both the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. Appeal fees were introduced last December so increasing those would…

16th May 2012 By Free Movement

Exceptional circumstances now more… exceptional

As expected, the obscure but important Chapter 53 of the Enforcement Instructions and Guidance (‘Extenuating Circumstances’) has been amended following on from the scrapping of paragraph 395C of the Immigration Rules. The new text is basically in line with the amended rules and is set out below for reference. It shifts the onus to the migrant to make any exceptional circumstances known to UKBA and is less generous in a number of respects. As it happens, HJT Training have prepared a free briefing on paragraph 395C. If you’d like you can use the briefing as the basis to claim 1 CPD point at a cost of £25: the briefing is free but…

2nd March 2012 By Free Movement

Migration Watch: Recovery in Woodlark population “may” be cause of youth unemployment

There was some coverage in the right wing press yesterday about a new Migration Watch ‘report‘ purportedly linking Eastern European immigration with youth unemployment. Migration Watch statistical analysis has been covered here before. Even the report itself claims nothing more than a ‘gut instinct’ though: Youth unemployment in the UK increased by almost 450,000 in the period from 2004 Q1 to 2011 Q3, from 575,000 to 1,016,000. Over the same period, numbers of workers from the A8 countries grew by 600,000. Correlation is not, of course, proof of causation but, given the positive employability characteristics and relative youth of migrants from these countries, it is implausible and counter-intuitive to conclude…

10th January 2012 By Free Movement

Mapping Statelessness in the UK

After FM questioned his will to live following this analysis of the judgment in Sapkota v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWCA Civ 1320 I volunteered to have a read through the UNHCR and Asylum Aid joint study Mapping Statelessness in the UK. A full copy of the 172 page report, which was published on 22 November, is available here. It covers both the national and international legal framework in some depth, as well as considering the legal and non legal challenges faced by stateless and ‘unreturnable’ persons. A good summary of the report is now available on the JCWI’s website. UNHCR puts the global figure for those affected by statelessness at 12 million. Other…

8th December 2011 By Alex Mik

One rule for the rich

The Government’s plan massively to increase the minimum income threshold required to sponsor family members to the UK came one step closer yesterday with the publication of a report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The full report can be accessed here. Analysis by Alan Travis of The Guardian can be found here and by Matt Cavanagh of the IPPR here. The MAC is proposing the introduction of a minimum gross (i.e. before tax) income threshold of at least £18,600 and perhaps as much as £25,700. The MAC assumes that this threshold excludes possible future income from the spouse entering the UK – which means that the figures are proposed minimum incomes…

17th November 2011 By Free Movement

Another secret policy…

Perhaps not breaking news for some of you but I suspect not everyone has come across the references to the UKBA’s policy of “evidential flexibility” in the context of Points Based System applications. Over the last few months, various documents have been doing the rounds which clearly set out that the UKBA has, since August 2009, introduced a policy of “evidential flexibility”.  This policy apparently allows caseworkers to contact applicants for missing documentation or to correct minor errors once applications have been lodged.  My colleagues and I at Renaissance Chambers first came across this policy when a document from the National Audit Office was circulated – ‘Immigration: the Points Based…

1st November 2011 By Sarah Pinder

More on Zambrano

I’ve previously posted up the publicly available UKBA guidance on Zambrano, but a commenter very helpfully posted a link to more information available on the Wornham & Co blog. I don’t myself post letters to or from ILPA unless the information is public, but there is some suggestion in the letter that information has already been passed to ‘select’ representatives and Wornham & Co have put the letter ‘out there’ anyway now! The key passages are as follows: The judgment applies only to cases in which the dependent Union citizen is within their state of nationality.  For the United Kingdom this means that the judgment applies only to cases involving…

6th October 2011 By Free Movement

Family migration proposals

Damian Green’s speech on immigration on 15 September 2011 revealed various proposals which seem likely to become law. These build and elucidate on previous proposals, previously covered here on the blog. The tone of the speech and the proposals is clear from the very first words: The vast majority of people in this country believe that we need less immigration, and I agree. The current Government certainly doesn’t beat around the bush! Green suggests that immigration figures have stabilised, but this may come back to haunt him. One quarter a trend does not make. The revelation that employers are not making full use of the Points Based System quota is…

29th September 2011 By Free Movement

Zambrano guidance by UKBA

The first of my catch-up posts comes courtesy of the indefatigable Mr T – many thanks, Mr T. The UK Border Agency have issued some belated guidance on the Zambrano case. It only appears in the form of an item on the news section of the UKBA website, though, and has not been incorporated into a formal policy document as such, at least so far as I can find. The main text reads as follows: The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) recently handed down judgment in the case of Ruiz Zambrano (C-34/09). This judgement creates a right to reside and work for the sole carer of a…

27th September 2011 By Free Movement

New research paper on marriage immigration

The Home Office have published a new piece of research they commissioned, entitled Marriage-related migration to the UK, by Katharine Charsley, Nicholas Van Hear, Michaela Benson and Brooke Storer-Church. It makes very interesting reading for anyone interested in immigration policy and in the history of spousal immigration. There are a number of graphs representing numbers of grants of settlements to spouses of different nationalities, for example, and while there is an overall upward trend the two stand out features are (1) that the increases are way below the general increase in migration to the UK, meaning that spouses now make up 40% of the total compared to 59% in 1995…

25th August 2011 By Free Movement

All criminal convictions to act as bar to settlement from today

I have had to redraft this post, which had been intended to be a good news story about a positive development at the UK Border Agency and which I had scheduled for Monday morning. A nice start to the week, thought I. However, late last week it transpired that the Home Office gives with one hand but very much takes away with another, as we will see in a moment. For now, the original text of this post: Some good news, for a change: the long running campaign to end the ‘no recourse to public funds’ limitation for victims of domestic violence seems to have succeeded. All credit to the…

6th April 2011 By Free Movement

New policy on children

UKBA has published a new policy on dealing with children, specifically asylum applications by unaccompanied children. It went ‘live’ on 1 September 2010 and can be found with the earlier link or in the Asylum Process Guidance Special Cases section. The policy is a considerable improvement on the previous version. For example, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child comes front and centre in the policy. It states that only specially trained case owners should handle child cases and the guidance explicitly applies to Presenting Officers, who presumably now will be receiving special training. The best interests of the child and the section 55 duty on UKBA to…

14th September 2010 By Free Movement