News & Views Monday 31st October to Sunday 6th November 2016  
Deportation, Discrimination, Citizenship Rights for Children Born Out of  Wedlock

In Jamaica in 1985, a baby was born to British father and a Jamaican mother.  The child’s parents never married, and at the age of four he moved to the UK with his father. Under the law in force at the time, as an ‘illegitimate’ child, he did not automatically acquire British citizenship. If his mother had been the British parent, if his parents had ever married each other, or if an application had been made while he was a child, he would have become a British citizen. But he did not.

Two decades pass and the Secretary of State attempts to deport that individual, Mr Johnson, following a string of very serious offences. He appeals on the ground that deportation would be unlawful discrimination. If only his parents had been married, he would be a citizen and not be liable for removal.
The Supreme Court agreed. It held that there was no justification for someone in his position being liable to deportation simply through being born out of wedlock, which was an accident of birth over which a child has no control.

The Court also declared that a “good character” requirement for acquiring citizenship which applied only to illegitimate children was unlawfully discriminatory and incompatible with the Convention.

This judgment represents a further step towards equal rights for children born out of wedlock.     
Read more: Jo Moore, UK Human Rights Blog,

Immigration Rules - Statement of Changes

Hansard: 03 November 2016, Volume 616

The Minister for Immigration (Mr Robert Goodwill)

 My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House a statement of changes in immigration rules as set out below. These changes continue our reforms to the UK immigration system.
The changes we are making to the rules will ensure that those who do not qualify for international protection on account of their conduct, for example serious criminality, are not granted settlement or limited leave to remain in the UK under the immigration rules.

We are also abolishing the “28-day grace period”, during which we currently accept out of time applications for a range of routes including work and study, to encourage greater compliance with the immigration rules. This will make clear that people must comply with the rules and make any application for further leave before their current leave expires.

The changes also include the reduction in the threshold of NHS debt from £1,000 to £500 for family cases and armed forces cases to align with changes made elsewhere in the rules in April 2016.

The changes also provide for a new English language requirement for non-European economic area national partners and parents applying to extend their stay in the UK. The new requirement, which can be met by passing, as a minimum, an A2 level common European framework of reference for languages speaking and listening test, will apply to partners and parents whose current leave on a five-year route to settlement under the family rules is due to expire on or after 1 May 2017.

The new A2 requirement will deliver on the Government’s manifesto commitment to ensure that those coming to the UK on a family visa with only basic English become more fluent over time. We believe this will improve integration in communities. An associated statement of intent and policy equality statement will be published today on

Following a review by the independent Migration Advisory Committee, on 24 March 2016 the Government announced two phases of reforms to tier 2, to be implemented in autumn 2016 and April 2017. The changes being laid today implement the first phase of these reforms. This includes changes to the salary thresholds for tier 2 (general) and short-term intra-company transfers (ICTs), and closure of the ICT skills transfer category. There are exemptions from the new salary for certain occupations in health and education.

We are also making technical changes to the immigration rules to clarify the concepts of a first country of asylum and a safe third country. [HCWS235]

Invisible Fathers of Immigration Detention

Immigration detention causes enormous damage to parents and children. This is true whatever the gender of those involved, and yet the detention of parents is almost only ever discussed in relation to mothers. But like the vast majority of detained parents, Lou is a father. The British state has attempted to regulate the relationships between its citizens and (certain) foreigners since the Colonial era, when contact between white British women and colonised men was considered especially problematic and of requiring management. Today, border controls continue to police people’s intimate lives, and they retain (albeit now less explicitly) various gender and ethnicity biases. We see it in the creation of gendered and racialised categories such as ‘immigration detainee’, ‘illegal immigrant’ and ‘foreign criminal’, labels which in rhetoric and reality are disproportionately applied to men (about 85% of immigration detainees in the UK are men, as are 89% of people forcibly removed) and ethnic minorities.

  A mixture of sexism and racism may explain why quite so little recognition is given to these men’s emotional lives. Many speak of their roles as parents and partners being ignored, devalued or disbelieved entirely under suspicion that they were established merely to circumvent immigration controls. When I ask Lou if he thinks he’d be treated differently if he was a mother he exclaims: “Obviously. Obviously. Obviously!” He recognises that mums are also separated from their children by detention, but believes that they tend to be released more quickly than dads, and are more likely to have the emotional trauma recognised and compensated for.

Read more: Melanie Griffiths, Open Democracy

Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The “Street” and Politics in DR Congo

Angry demonstrations hit Kinshasa in September as President Kabila’s aim to stay in power beyond a 19 December constitutional deadline became clearer. Regional and international actors must use diplomatic and financial levers to bring about credible democratic elections and to reverse the DRC's worsening spiral of violence.

Read More: Crisis Group,

Significant Shortcomings Exposed in Detecting Illegal Foreign Criminals in Damning New Report

A recent report investigating the immigration checks being conducted into foreign criminals highlights the significant shortcomings of a system that appears to be ingrained with a lack of police knowledge, administrative deficiency's and inconsistent procedures across police divisions. 
In January this year, the Home Secretary tasked the Chief Inspector of Borders & Immigration, David Bolt, with the job of investigating "the extent to which the police are identifying and flagging foreign nationals arrested to the Home Office and checking status." This month the Chief Inspector published his report, which can be found here:

The results highlight a system in dire need of improvements.  It appears in many parts of the UK the police are not referring foreign nationals arrested here to immigration officials for relevant immigration checks.

Read more: Gherson Immigration,

Australia Asylum: Arrivals by Boat Face Lifetime Visa Ban

Australia has unveiled tough new plans to bar any asylum seekers who try to reach the country by boat from ever being able to enter. The lifetime ban on visas would apply even to those travelling as tourists, for business, or who married an Australian. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the move would send "the strongest possible signal" to people-smugglers. The proposed ban is to be put to parliament later this week. Australia transports asylum seekers who arrive by boat to off-shore processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island. Even if found to be genuine refugees, they are already blocked from being resettled in Australia. They can either return home, be resettled on Manus or Nauru, or go to a third country.

Read more: BBC News,

The End of Immigration Appeals From Within the UK is Nigh

Section 63 of the Immigration Act 2016 is being brought into force from 1 December 2016 by the Immigration Act 2016 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/1037SI 2016/1037). The change introduces a power for the Home Office to remove a person who pursues a human rights appeal even while the appeal is pending.

A similar power was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 but applied only to foreign criminals. It is now extended to all migrants who might rely on a human rights appeal. Given that the only grounds on which normal family immigration decisions can now be appealed are human rights grounds, this change affects a wide spectrum of “ordinary” migrants whose application has been refused by the Home Office.

Impact of out of country appeals

The success rate for human rights appeals was 35% in the most recent tribunal statistics for 2015-16 (see main tables, table FIA.3). The average time taken to determine immigration appeals stood at 44 weeks for the most recent quarter, an increase of 14 weeks compared to the previous year (table T1). This is despite a 26% decline in the number of appeals since 2015. There are now 65,000 outstanding appeals waiting to be determined, an increase in the backlog of 22%.
So, in 35% of cases, the appellant would ultimately win their appeal. In the meantime, though, he or she will have to leave the UK, potentially losing his or her job and home and being separated from his or her partner and children, pay £800 to lodge an appeal, wait for nearly a year and then be readmitted to the UK once the Home Office decision is found to be wrong.

Read more: Freemovement,

Zimbabwe: Perpetrators of Violence and Intimidation In Electoral Contests

Asked by Lord Oates: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Zimbabwe on the reported failure of law enforcement agencies in that country to act to bring to justice perpetrators of violence and intimidation in electoral contests in Zimbabwe. [HL2649]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The UK condemns the use of violence and intimidation in elections. We have been concerned by recent reports of police violence, both during by-elections and in response to civil protests. We regularly urge the government of Zimbabwe to end human rights abuses and restore internationally accepted standards. British officials visited Norton, the location of the most recent by-election, on two occasions, as part of a ‘Diplomatic Watch’ observation mission with Australian, US and EU colleagues. They spoke to the candidates, urging calm. The group will now write to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, outlining its observations. We frequently urge the government of Zimbabwe to implement the provisions of the 2013 constitution, including those that relate to electoral reform.

House of Lords, Thursday 3rd September 2016

Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees – November 2016

Deteriorated Situations: Central African Republic, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Myanmar, Russia/North Caucasus, Venezuela, Haiti.

Improved Situations: Lebanon - Resolution Opportunities: None  -  Conflict Risk Alerts: None

October saw Venezuela’s tense political standoff at new heights amid economic stress and popular unrest, and Haiti’s weak political and security equilibrium struck by a major natural disaster and humanitarian crisis. In Africa, violence worsened in the Central African Republic (CAR), north-eastern Kenya, Mozambique and western Niger, while in Ethiopia the government hardened its response to continued protests. In Myanmar, unprecedented attacks on police in the north triggered deadly clashes and displacement threatening to exacerbate intercommunal tensions across the country, while Russia’s Northern Caucasus saw an increase in conflict-related casualties, detentions and counter-terrorism operations. In the Middle East, the election of Michel Aoun as president of Lebanon signals a long-awaited breakthrough ending two years of political deadlock.

CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world. Access the full report,

Integration of Asylum Seekers Granted Refugee Status

Baroness Lister of Burtersett: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to improve the integration of asylum seekers granted refugee status.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con): My Lords, the Government are working towards achieving more integrated communities and creating the conditions for everyone to live and work successfully alongside each other. Those granted refugee status are given access to the labour market and benefits and encouraged to access organisations that can assist with integration.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab): My Lords, one of the biggest obstacles to integration is the destitution faced by too many refugees because they are not given enough time to transition from asylum support to mainstream support. It is nearly eight months since the Government pledged to review this. With winter coming and universal credit throwing up new problems, will the Minister and the DWP now treat this as a matter of urgency to prevent further avoidable destitution and homelessness and as a first step in reintroducing a comprehensive strategy for the integration of refugees, following the example of Scotland and Wales?

Baroness Williams of Trafford: My Lords, the Government have introduced a number of initiatives to prevent homelessness such as the No Second Night Out programme, but recognised refugees are also encouraged to work with the independent charity, Migrant Help, which can assist with integration into the UK. It provides individuals with the resources and support they need to access the appropriate services and information and gain greater independence. In addition, the Home Office announced a new £10 million funding package to boost English language tuition for those arriving under the vulnerable persons’ resettlement scheme.

Read more: Hansard,

As US Justice Department Close Troubled Private Prison Immigration Authorities Reopen It

When the Justice Department announced two months ago that it wanted to end the use of private prisons, Cibola County Correctional Center was exactly the kind of facility that officials desired to shut down. After a history of questionable deaths and substandard medical care, the New Mexico facility lost its contract. In recent weeks, it was emptied of inmates. But the vacancies won’t last for long.

As soon as this week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — which is separate from the Justice Department — is going to begin moving immigrant detainees into the facility under a new set of agreements with Corrections Corporation of America, a county official said. The country’s immigration enforcement agency is expanding its use of for-profit prisons, even while another government agency says the facilities are less safe and effective than government-run prisons. The move illustrates the difficulties of ending the government’s reliance on private prisons and jails, especially as immigration authorities deal with an influx of detainees. In addition to inking a new contract for up to 1,116 beds at Cibola County, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, recently extended a contract with Corrections Corporation of America for a 2,400-bed facility in Texas. The agency also seems to be eyeing jail space in Youngstown, Ohio, where Corrections Corporation of America has posted advertisements for several job openings, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Read more: Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post,


Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 135

This document provides an update of UK Country Guidance case law, UK Home Office publications and developments in refugee producing countries (focusing on those which generate the most asylum seekers in the UK) between 18 October and 31 October 2016.