News & Views Monday 5th October to Sunday 11th October 2020


My Voice, Our Equal future" - International Day of the Girl 2020

Sunday 11th October, is the International Day of the Girl, on this date, UNICEF launches an annual campaign with girls to amplify their voices and stand up for their rights. This year, under the theme, “My voice, our equal future”, let’s seize the opportunity to reimagine a better world inspired by adolescent girls – energized and recognized, counted and invested in.

As adolescent girls worldwide assert their power as change-makers, International Day of the Girl 2020 will focus on their demands to:
Live free from gender-based violence, harmful practices, and HIV and AIDS?
Learn new skills towards the futures they choose?
Lead as a generation of activists accelerating social change

The Platform for Action specifically calls on the global community to:

Eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls.

Eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls.

Promote and protect the rights of girls and increase awareness of their needs and potential.

Eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training.

Eliminate discrimination against girls in health and nutrition.

Eliminate the economic exploitation of child labour and protect young girls at work.
Eradicate violence against girls.

Promote girls’ awareness of and participation in social, economic and political life.
Strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of girls.

Ways to get involved: Share stories of inspiring adolescent girls or girl-led organizations who are developing innovative solutions or leading efforts towards positive social change, including gender equality, in their communities and nations. Let’s amplify their leadership, actions and impact to inspire others. Participate in a youth-led digital activation launching on International Day of the Girl. Young people across the world are developing a digital activism campaign, aiming to raise the diversity of girls’ voices and their vision for a reimagined future.


EDM 973: Justice for Osime Brown - Deportation No Way

That this House acknowledges 21-year-old Osime Brown's autism and the behavioural challenges that come with it; further acknowledges the Home Office's plans to deport Osime to Jamaica where he has not lived since he was four years old and has never returned to; notes Osime's mother's words that if they deport him, he'll die; further notes that, although a friend testified that Osime was not directly involved with the crime, Osime is currently in prison where he is self-harming to the point that he has hundreds of scars on his body; recognises the Citizen's Advice Bureau's advice which states that if one is detained despite being vulnerable, one should apply for bail; calls on the Government to acknowledge Osime's autism, dyslexia, learning disabilities, and PTSD; further calls on the Government to release Osime on bail rather than being moved to a holding facility that is not properly equipped to meet his needs, remove the call for Osime's deportation, and see that Osime finally receives the support he needs for his disabilities.

Parliament: Tabled 06 October 2020,

Put Your MP to Work – Ask Them to Sign EDM 973

To find your MP go here:

Roma People Left Without Support and at Risk of Exploitation Due to Digital-Only Status

People from Britain’s Roma community are being left unable to access vital support and are exposed to exploitation due to the government’s new digital-only status for EU citizens, research reveals. Tens of thousands of Roma people are at risk of facing further exclusion from society because a lack of digital skills in the community means many are struggling to prove their EU settled status – the immigration status all EU national in the UK are required to obtain in order to remain in the UK legally after Brexit – which exists only in a digital format. The Home Office says it provides successful applicants to the EU settlement scheme with only a digital copy of their status to ensure they can “constantly access proof of their status” and that this is in keeping with the “shift towards digital status in all areas of life”.

But a new report, coordinated by the charity Roma Support Group and seen by The Independent, warns that many risk being left unable to prove their status despite living in the UK legally as a result of having no physical immigration document, and are already being exploited by third parties offering unqualified or paid-for “support”. In one case, a woman who lost her husband to coronavirus in April was left unable to prove her EU settled status because he was the only person who had the details on how to access it online and she was not digitally literate. As a result she was unable to find work or access welfare benefits for months during the pandemic.

Read moe: May Bulman, Independent,

Asylum Seeker Slashed his Wrists as 'Distressed' Migrants Deported on Home Office Charter Flight

An asylum seeker cut his wrists on a charter flight as the Home Office deported him, a report has revealed. Another man on the same plane, who was also known to be a suicide risk, had concealed a blade in his mouth and several people were “very distressed”, HM Inspectorate of Prisons said. “There had been a number of incidents of actual self-harm in the preceding days by detainees who had been told they would be on the flight,” the report added. “Some had been removed from the list to travel on this occasion.

Two with identified self-harm risk travelled, one of whom harmed himself in transit and the other had a concealed blade in his mouth.” The man who harmed himself was found cutting his wrist inside an aircraft toilet with a small blade, and then a handcuff was put over the bleeding wound, HM Inspectorate of Prisons said. It was later treated. The watchdog found that officials fitted handcuffs to three asylum seekers “to inflict pain”, while seven were made to wear waist restraint belts. The report was published after the Home Office blamed “activist lawyers” for causing delays and cancellations to deportation flights after launching legal challenges, including some relating to human rights. The plane carried 14 asylum seekers and 86 staff from Stansted airport to Frankfurt and Toulouse on 12 August.

Read more: Lizzie Dearden, Independent,

Briefing: What is the English Language Requirement?

he English language requirement can be generously viewed as the Home Office’s response to the biblical Tower of Babel story: society is undermined by its people’s inability to speak the same language. But as anyone who has ever had the misfortune to read Home Office guidance can attest, it is more like the Jorge Luis Borges short story The Library of Babel, in which a magic library’s books contain every possible ordering of the letters of the alphabet, meaning that a reader must dredge through mountains of gibberish before coming across even one text that makes any sense at all.

In this article, we dredge through the gibberish to explain what the English language requirements are for UK visas and how to show that you meet the requirements. We may refer from time to time to Appendix KoLL, the part of the Immigration Rules dealing with knowledge of the English language, and to Home Office guidance on the subject.

Read more: Freemovement,


Guardian View on Asylum Policy: Nasty, Brutish and Wrong

This year, largely because of the travel shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the numbers of people from around the world seeking asylum in Britain have plummeted to a 10-year low. Now read those words again. Not a 10-year high – but its opposite, a 10-year low. Even last year, pre-Covid, there were only around five asylum applications for every 10,000 people living in the United Kingdom. That compared with 14 applications per 10,000 across the European Union as a whole. Measured by asylum claim rates, the UK was 17th on the list of European countries last year.

You would never guess any of this from the way the home secretary Priti Patel goes about her job. Ms Patel has the nastiest view of her department’s task of any home secretary in decades – and there have been some nasty ones. She is obsessed with parading toughness towards asylum seekers as part of her Margaret Thatcher tribute act. Her only concerns are to keep asylum seekers out by whatever means she can, and to claim the credit. She is more interested in generating headlines than in solving this or any other Home Office problem, let alone in cooperating with other countries to do so. Faced with a deepening autumn coronavirus crisis on several fronts, Downing Street is happy to change the subject in this way too. It seems almost certain that Dominic Cummings, with his Dr Strangelove-style approach to difficult and complex human problems, is involved in this too.

Read more: Guardian,

Asylum Seekers Exposed to Virus Risk on Removal Flight as Staff Ditch Covid Precautions

nspectors observing a Home Office charter flight taking asylum seekers to France and Germany have found that coronavirus precautions were not followed. The report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons also found that pain was deliberately inflicted on three highly distressed people, although it was unable to say whether the use of force was proportionate. The flight inspected took place on 12 August and press coverage at the time suggests that all those aboard had recently arrived in the UK on small boats. There have been suggestions that the Home Office has been scrambling to organise charter flights to show that it is responding to the crossings; the Corporate Watch group, which has published a detailed account of this flight and another one on 26 August, described them as “particularly rushed”. If flights have been organised in a rush, that may account for the problems observed by the inspectors.

This was the first charter flight of the coronavirus era. Detailed safety measures were in place on paper, but in practice were “implemented only in part” and staff managed only “a few changes to reduce the risks of infection”. Mask wearing was patchy and there was not enough personal protective equipment, or PPE. Inspectors noted that “throughout much of the operation, escort staff made little attempt to maintain social distancing”. It may not have helped that there were 86 escorts to 14 detainees; inspectors felt that the sheer number of bodies “hindered the effectiveness of the operation” at times.

Read more: Freemovement,

Windrush Migrants Wrongly Barred From the UK Despite Having Indefinite Leave to Remain

For many of the Windrush generation it was the hostile environment which signalled the start of their wrongful exclusion from society and, in some cases, the UK itself. For others, the injustice started much earlier. Between 1973 and 1988, many Commonwealth citizens with indefinite leave to remain in the UK (ILR) spent time abroad and were then wrongly refused re-entry to the UK despite their families continuing to live here. This article explains how that happened, and why it still matters today.

The Immigration Act 1971 introduced the “right of abode”. A person who has the right of abode in the UK is not subject to immigration control. Those who were deemed to have the right of abode on commencement — including British citizens — were set out within section 2 of the 1971 Act but most of the Windrush generation would not have met the requirements. For those who didn’t automatically qualify for the right of abode on commencement, section 1(2) of the 1971 Act provided that anyone who was already present and settled in the UK on 1 January 1973 would be given ILR. Unlike the right of abode, ILR does not provide a person with an indefinite right to come and go freely from the UK. A person with ILR is still subject to immigration control and their status can lapse or be revoked.

Section 3(4) of the 1971 Act introduced the concept that a person’s leave to remain (indefinite or otherwise) would lapse upon them leaving the Common Travel Area for any length of time. It also provided that a person’s previous leave would continue to apply, with the same conditions as previously attached, if the person were to return before the expiry of that leave. So a person’s ILR would lapse automatically if they travelled abroad, but all things being equal their passport would be stamped to revive their ILR upon their return. Today, section 3(4) remains in force but has effect subject to the Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) Order 2000 which has limited its scope considerably and has restricted the occasions on which leaving the UK will cause a person’s leave to lapse.

Read more: Freemovement,

Applying for Settled and Pre-Settled Status Requires Genuine Residence

Although the UK ceased to be a member of the EU on 31 January 2020, the transition period arrangements mean that EU citizens can still apply for leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme even if they move to the UK after that date, as long as they take up residency in the UK by 31 December 2020 (to be precise, before 11pm on that date).

I am aware, from discussions on the internet and questions at meetings, that some EU citizens have wondered whether they could travel to the UK before the end of 2020 and stay in the UK temporarily, perhaps for a very short period, with the idea of acquiring status under the Settlement Scheme as a type of ‘insurance policy’. The intention is not to live in the UK at that stage, but to be able to use that status to secure a right to reside in the UK at some future date if they wished or needed to do so. In my view, those who are thinking about such a tactic need to understand that it might not succeed and, in the worst case, could have serious consequences.

It is true that under Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules, which put into effect the citizens’ rights provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, a qualifying EU citizen can move to the UK any time before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. But those rules also make it clear that someone must have completed a “continuous qualifying period in the UK” to be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Read more: Freemovement,

Court of Appeal Backs Judge Who Ordered Asylum Seeker Brought Back to the UK

The Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by the Home Office to overturn a High Court order to bring an asylum seeker who had been removed under the unlawful Detained Fast Track system back to the UK. The case is R (PN (Uganda)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 1213. The Detained Fast Track system had sped up asylum decision-making and appeals by imposing a strict timetable. Asylum seekers and their lawyers were given incredibly short periods of time in which to prepare their cases.

In earlier decisions, the Court of Appeal had ruled that the system was unlawful because the limited time allowed to collate evidence was inherently unfair. But it also held that anyone who had lost a Detained Fast Track appeal would have to demonstrate that there was unfairness in their individual case. People who had lost their appeals were removed from the UK and it seemed unlikely that the Home Office would be ordered to bring anyone back.

PN is a Ugandan citizen who claimed asylum on the ground that she is a lesbian. The Home Office accepted that if this was true she would be at risk in Uganda. But it placed her case in the Detained Fast Track system, despite her request for more time to obtain evidence from Uganda about her sexuality. Her appeal was refused a few weeks later and even though the evidence from Uganda did arrive shortly afterwards, PN was removed to Uganda. Last year, Mr Justice Lewis ruled that PN’s case was an example of the inherent unfairness caused by the Detained Fast Track system and ordered the Home Office to return her to the UK.

Read more: Freemovement,