Are Some Ethnic Groups More Vulnerable to COVID-19 Than Others?
Per-capita COVID-19 hospital deaths are highest among the black Caribbean population and three times those of the white British majority. Some minority groups – including Pakistanis and black Africans – have seen similar numbers of hospital deaths per capita to the population average, while Bangladeshi fatalities are lower.
Once you take account of age and geography, most minority groups ‘should’ have fewer deaths per capita than the white British majority. While many minority groups live disproportionately in areas such as London and Birmingham, which have more COVID-19 deaths, most minorities are also younger on average than the population as a whole, which should make them less vulnerable.
After stripping out the role of age and geography, Bangladeshi hospital fatalities are twice those of the white British group, Pakistani deaths are 2.9 times as high and black African deaths 3.7 times as high. The Indian, black Caribbean and ‘other white’ ethnic groups also have excess fatalities, with the white Irish group the only one to have fewer fatalities than white British.
At-risk underlying health conditions are especially prevalent among older Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and black Caribbeans. Compared with white British individuals over 60 years of age, Bangladeshis are more than 60% more likely to have a long-term health condition that makes them particularly vulnerable to infection, which may explain excess fatalities in this group.
Institute for Fiscal Studies, https://is.gd/M0mkVu
Read the full report: https://is.gd/cxvwCu
Immigration Judge Savaged by Upper Tribunal for Apparent Copy-and-Paste Judgment
The vice-president of the Upper Tribunal has laid into a more junior immigration judge for a judgment so bad it amounted to a “failure of the judicial process”. Vice-president Ockelton said that the judgment in question, which was littered with errors and irrelevant material apparently copy and pasted from previous judgments, was “seriously defective” and showed “serious confusion”. The case concerned a Cameroonian woman seeking asylum in the UK. Her appeal was refused by an immigration judge named in the determination as S.T. Fox in February 2020. In a judgment dated 26 October 2020, Ockelton overturned the First-tier Tribunal decision without even the need for a hearing, sending the case back for a fresh hearing at the lower tribunal. The First-tier Tribunal judgment reportedly contained “numerous” typographical errors, with Ockelton marking four spelling or grammar mistakes in a single paragraph:
These errors may have crept in because of the judge’s use of “standard paragraphs”, or boilerplate copied from one judgment to the next. Ockelton notes that one such paragraph, in which Fox reminds himself of the applicable law, reels off a list of old and mostly irrelevant cases. The Upper Tribunal was “left with the clear impression that the judge’s self-direction on the law was ill-focused, or seriously defective, or probably both”.
Read more: Freemovement, https://is.gd/80vtoN
Coronavirus ‘Exceptional Assurance’ Policy Extended to 30 November 2020
The Home Office introduced ‘exceptional assurance’ in order to provide short-term protection to migrants whose leave has expired and who are unable to leave the UK due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The policy was due to end on 31 October 2020, however the Home Office updated the policy on 1 November 2020 in order to extend the provision until 30 November 2020.
UKVCAS to remain open throughout the lockdown period
Reassuring news was posted on the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) website this week, indicating the services provided by the Home Office will continue to remain open throughout the latest period of lockdown. Applicants should therefore still be able to attend biometric appointments at the service points, although they should not attend if they should be self-isolating.
Apply under the EU Settlement Scheme or exercise Treaty Rights before 31 December 2020
We highlighted here the fast approaching deadline of 11pm on 31 December 2020, which marks the end of free movement for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals. The end of free movement has ramifications for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK, or those wishing to relocate to the UK in the imminent future. We discuss here what action these citizens may need to take in order to secure their status in the UK.
Read more: Gherson, https://is.gd/fQzVjB
Challenge to the Home Office’s Policy of Conducting Abridged Asylum Screening Interviews
Duncan Lewis Solicitors represents three claimants who have issued urgent proceedings challenging the Home Office’s policy of conducting abridged asylum screening interviews. We have sought interim relief in the form of an order requiring the Home Office to instruct officials completing screening interviews to ask all questions in full and to treat transit through Libya as an indicator of potential human trafficking/modern slavery.
The claimants’ case is that the abridged process led to a failure in each of their cases to identify trafficking indicators during their asylum screening interview and make a referral to the Single Competent Authority. The consequence was that instead of being offered protection by the state, all three claimants had their asylum claims certified on third country grounds; were unlawfully held in immigration detention; and had directions set for their removal from the UK. Those directions were not deferred and they were not referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) until our involvement. All three have now secured positive reasonable grounds decisions on the basis of their exploitation in Libya.
The interim relief application is supported by a large body of evidence from leading NGOs in the field, all confirming that the screening process, and in particular the questions asked with respect to exploitation and trafficking, are wholly inadequate and fail, on a systemic level, to identify potential victims of trafficking. The abridged process omits the requirement for Home Office officials to obtain a record of an individual’s full journey to the UK. This is an omission with particularly stark consequences for sub-Saharan Africans, many of whom transit through and are subjected to trafficking in Libya en route to the UK. The prevalence of modern slavery in Libya is well-known to the Home Office and the fact that an individual has journeyed through Libya should, the claimants argue, be treated as an indicator that he/she is a potential victim of trafficking.
Read more: Duncan Lewis, https://is.gd/cyx0ey
Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - November 2020
Deteriorated Situations: Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua
Conflict Risk Alerts: Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, Yemen
Resolution Opportunities: None
In Nigeria, protests against police brutality turned violent in major cities as police and pro-police thugs clashed with protesters, killing dozens. Election-related violence flared in Tanzania, where opposition supporters claimed they faced attacks and intimidation. In Afghanistan, the Taliban launched a large-scale assault on Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand province, in the group’s first major attack on an urban centre in 2020 – the Taliban had so far avoided such attacks, in line with their February agreement with the U.S. Looking ahead to November, CrisisWatch warns of seven conflict risks. In West Africa, election-related violence in Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea is likely to escalate and could take an increasingly ethnic turn. A feud between Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigray region reached a breaking point and could turn violent as Addis Ababa is set to redirect federal funding away from Tigray’s executive on 4 November. In Yemen’s north, the Huthis’ military campaign could escalate in Marib, the government’s last stronghold, and further advances toward Hodeida port could put in jeopardy the 2018 ceasefire agreement. War between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh – which killed hundreds on both sides and displaced tens of thousands in October – could further intensify and spread.
Source; Internatinal Crisis Group, https://is.gd/vONNDa