News & Views Monday 11th July to Sunday 17th July 2016  

Online Petition: Stop the Deportation of Ahmed Guerrah

To: Amber Rudd Home Secretary

Please release Ahmed Guerrah from detention so he can re-join the community in Plymouth that loves and supports him. Ahmed is a failed Asylum Seeker from Algeria at his first hearing there was no evidence from expert witnesses, the legal representative was inexperienced in court and the Judge concluded that Ahmed was 'pretending to be gay' as there was no evidence that he had a homosexual relationship in the UK.

Why is this important?

Ahmed fled from Algeria with his boyfriend after they were subjected to torture, physical abuse often from their own family members. They reached Greece Ahmed got through his Boyfriend did not. They have not had any communication since.  We are asking for Ahmed to be immediately released from detention and returned to Plymouth where he has friends and an important support network.

Why is this important?

Ahmed fled from Algeria with his boyfriend after they were subjected to torture, physical abuse often from their own family members. They reached Greece Ahmed got through his Boyfriend did not. They have not had any communication since.  We are asking for Ahmed to be immediately released from detention and returned to Plymouth where he has friends and an important support network.

Read more and Sign the Petition:

Judicial Review- Mandatory Nature of Immigration Rule

R (on the application of Punam Naresh Binaura) v SSHD [2016] EWHC 1578 illustrates the importance of ensuring that the 28 day "buffer" period extended to migrants is borne in mind at all times. The case involved an Indian national (C) who arrived in the UK in 2009 as the spouse of a Tier 4 (General) Student with leave valid until 28 February 2010. Her leave was subsequently extended in the same category until November 2013. Her most recent period of leave expired in April 2014. She made a fresh application within 28 days of cessation of her leave as a Tier 4 dependant spouse. The application was refused with no right of appeal. She thereafter made a further application 183 days out of time for leave to remain as her husband's dependant spouse. The application was refused by the Secretary of State (SSHD) with no appeal rights. She sought Administrative Review but the SSHD upheld her decision to refuse the application. C sought judicial review. Sir Stephen Silber granted permission to apply for judicial Review on a non-specific ground that the threshold for arguability was low.

Read more:  Gherson Immigration,

Destitution on the Rise Among Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Almost 5,600 refugees and asylum seekers have been destitute in the UK in the first half of this year, according to British Red Cross figures released today 08/07/2016. The number of people supported by the charity’s destitution services, which include the provision of food parcels, clothing and small amounts of emergency cash, has risen by 16% since the same period in 2015, during which 4,679 people were helped. Nearly half (44%) of those assisted by the Red Cross between January and June 2016 were from Sudan, Eritrea, Iran, Syria or Iraq. These are all recognised as being among the world’s top refugee producing countries due to conflict or political persecution.
Alex Fraser, Director of Refugee Support at the British Red Cross, said: “No one should flee the war in Syria or political persecution in Eritrea, only to become destitute in the UK. But for many, reaching safety is far from the end of their journey. With the number of people fleeing conflict and persecution worldwide at an all-time high, our government should be doing all it can to uphold its responsibilities to refugees. However, these figures show that all too often people are let down by an asylum system that is inflexible and difficult to access.”

Read more: British Red Cross,

EU Decisions on Asylum Applications Q1 2016

240,400 first instance decisions were made by the national authorities of EU Member States during the first quarter of 2016. Among them, 60% were positive (i.e. granting a type of protection status). Germany issued by far the most total first instance decisions during the first quarter of 2016 (138,900 decisions), followed by Italy (23,100), France (20,000), Sweden (14,000), the Netherlands (8 900) and the United Kingdom (8,200). Most decisions were issued to Syrians (96,500), followed by Albanians (15,300), Iraqis (13,200) and Eritreans (12,900). Syrians received by far the highest number of protection statuses in the EU Member States, including protection based on national legislations (95,200 positive first instance decisions, or 99% rate of recognition, followed by Iraqis (9,700, or 73%) and Eritreans (8,900, or 94%). Of the 15,300 first instance decisions issued to Albanians only 400 were positive (or 3% rate of recognition), while of the 8,400 issued to Serbians and of the 8,000 issued to Kosovans only 80 and 300 were positive respectively (or 1% and 3% respectively.

Source: Eurostat,

New Home Office Guidance on the Withdrawal of Asylum Claims

Earlier this week the Home Office released new guidance on withdrawing asylum claims ("Asylum Policy Instructions - Withdrawing Asylum Claims" version 5.0, 21 June 2016). Withdrawal of asylum claims is provided for in paragraph 333C of the Immigration Rules, which states that, an asylum application can be explicitly withdrawn (by the applicant signing and submitting the relevant withdrawal form) or implicitly withdrawn (see further below). Withdrawal is aimed at those applicants who do not comply with the process, abscond or leave the UK without permission before a decision.
Importantly, the "withdrawal" of an asylum claim is not equivalent to the "revocation" of refugee status, which is where a person wishes to renounce their refugee status, no longer qualifies for such status or where the Secretary of State is considering revoking refugee status.
An asylum claim will be treated as implicitly withdrawn where the applicant:

  • leaves the UK without prior authorisation from the Home Office before the conclusion of their claim;
  • fails to complete an asylum questionnaire when requested by the Secretary of State (for example a Statement of Evidence form); or
  • fails to attend an asylum interviewunless they can demonstrate this was due to circumstances beyond their control.

The first two circumstances noted above, apply to asylum claims lodged on or after 26 February 2015. The Guidance makes it plain that it is incumbent on caseworkers to give consideration to the safety and welfare of children under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 where withdrawal considerations are at play. For dependent children asylum seekers, where the parent(s) seek to withdraw their claim, considerations should be given to whether the child may have a claim in their own right. For unaccompanied children asylum seekers, if they abscond or fail to comply with the process, caseworkers must liaise with their legal representative and Social Services before deciding whether to treat their application as implicitly withdrawn.

Read more: Gherson Immigration,

US: 31 Deaths in Immigration Detention

Newly released United States government records summarizing investigations of the deaths of 18 migrants in the custody of US immigration authorities support a conclusion that subpar care contributed to at least seven of the deaths, Human Rights Watch said today. The death reviews, from mid-2012 to mid-2015, reveal substandard medical care and violations of applicable detention standards. Two independent medical experts consulted by Human Rights Watch concluded that these failures probably contributed to the deaths of 7 of the 18 detainees, while potentially putting many other detainees in danger as well. The records also show evidence of the misuse of isolation for people with mental disabilities, inadequate mental health evaluation and treatment, and broader medical care failures.

Read more: Human Rights Watch,

Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre - National Audit Office Report

“It is important that the services for vulnerable people at the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre are delivered ‘right first time’ and this did not happen here. Steps are now being taken to address the problems but 35% of the recommendations from Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons’ 2015 inspection have not yet been implemented.” Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office

The National Audit Office has today published its report into the management arrangements of the new contracts between the Home Office and Serco and NHS England’s with G4S. The Home Office is responsible for all aspects of Yarl’s Wood except healthcare, which is now the responsibility of NHS England. Following the award of new contracts, Serco has run the residential services under contract to the Home Office since April 2015 and G4S has run the health services under contract to NHS England since September 2014.

Concerns about operations at Yarl’s Wood were first raised directly with the NAO in late 2014 to early 2015. HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) inspected the Centre in April 2015 and reported that detainees were generally positive about staff and a majority of detainees said that most staff treated them with respect. However, the reviews highlighted issues around the quality of the services and facilities provided and the extent to which residents’ needs are met. We waited until other independent reviews were completed to understand what caused the problems that had been identified.  The NAO focused on the new contract management arrangements and how far the problems identified were caused by gaps in the new contracts between Home Office and Serco, and NHS England and G4S; or by contractors failing to fully implement the requirements of the contracts. We also examined what progress has been made since the reviews.

Read more: National Audit Office,

Government Launches National Transfer Scheme For Migrant Children

The Home Office and Department for Education have today (1 July) launched a new voluntary transfer arrangement between local authorities for the care of unaccompanied children who arrive in the UK and claim asylum. The National Transfer Scheme has been launched to encourage all local authorities to volunteer to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) so there is a more even distribution of caring responsibilities across the country. Under the scheme, a child arriving in one local authority area already under strain caring for unaccompanied asylum seeking children may be transferred to another council with capacity. In support of the scheme, the government has also increased the amount of funding that it will provide to local authorities caring for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, with annual support for each child aged under 16 rising from £34,675 to £41,610.

Source: Gov,UK,

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 129

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 28 June and 11 July 2016.

Commentary on UKHO CIG – Jamaica May 2016 Report

This commentary identifies the main inconsistencies and omissions between the available COI and case law and the conclusions reached in the Jamaica CIG report issued by the UK Home Office on ‘Background Information, including actors of protection and internal relocation’.

The commentary is intended as a tool to assist legal practitioners and to help ensure that all relevant material is considered by decision-makers.

Source: Still Human Still Here,



Update:  Immigration Act 2016 – Action Required

The Government's control over illegal migration has been further strengthened by the Immigration Act 2016. The Act (passed before June's referendum) introduces a range of new powers which aim to tackle illegal employment, restrict banking and accommodation services to illegal migrants and increase the number of deportations from the UK.Employers should be aware of the following changes which will be implemented from today:

 It will be an offence to employ a person whom an employer 'knows' or 'has reasonable cause to believe' is disqualified from employment'.

The maximum custodial sentence for conviction of this offence will be 5 years' imprisonment.

Illegal workers may also be subject to a custodial sentence of 6 months and/or a fine.

A new role of Director of Labour Market Enforcement is planned to oversee the enforcement agencies and ensure minimum standards for workers are met. The Act foresees a number of other changes in respect of which implementation dates are awaited. These include:

The introduction of a new 'immigration skills charge' on certain employers who sponsor skilled workers from outside the EEA. It is anticipated that this could come into force in April 2017.

A duty on public authorities to ensure that each person who works for a public authority in a customer-facing role speaks fluent English (and/or Welsh where appropriate). A code of practice will be published to help authorities comply with this duty.

New powers to close premises for up to 48 hours to deal with employers who employ illegal workers and evade sanctions. 

In light of the civil and criminal sanctions for businesses including the prosecution of directors and senior managers, it is essential that strict policies and procedures are in place to prevent illegal working both at the stage of recruitment and thereafter.  In future, it may be that restrictions are imposed on European nationals working in the UK. Now may be a good time to audit systems not only to ensure compliance with immigration law but also to understand the demographic of the workforce and the potential impact of Brexit.

Hazel Coutts, Scottish Legal News,

Flight of the Deported: Aircraft, Deportation, and Politics

This article calls for studies of migration, borders and deportation to bring the practices and dynamic spaces of transportation more fully into the research frame. While modern deportation is unthinkable without vehicles, transport is a black box for the interdisciplinary literature on the state-enforced movement of population. This article focuses on deportation by air and engages largely with policies and practices relating to the UK deportation experience. It has two aims. First, to offer a critical analysis of the techniques and tactics that are used to turn commercial and charter flights into machineries of deportation. Second, to show that aviation is not a mere instrument that puts deportation policy into practice, but, like other material places in the deportation and detention world, an irreducible zone of knowledges, tactics, and politics. A proper understanding of the deportation complex is radically incomplete without an account of the mobile places of transportation.

Read the full article:

£25,000 for Claimant's Unlawful Detention - Insufficient Regard to Detention Rule 35 Process

IS, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 1623 (Admin) (11 July 2016)

1. In this claim for judicial review, the Claimant challenged the Defendant's decisions on deportation, asylum and detention. Due to developments which have taken place during the course of these proceedings, the asylum and deportation issues are to be determined by way of statutory appeal and so only the Claimant's detention now falls to be decided.

75. In my judgment, on this occasion, the Defendant did not have sufficient regard to Dr Ward's findings, and erred in not applying the guidance in 'Detention Rule 35 Process' fairly and properly. In the second Rule 35 Report Dr Ward did provide a sufficiently cogent, detailed and reasoned description of systematic, repeated assaults, documenting the injuries which she found to be consistent with the Claimant's account, and giving her professional opinion that they were unlikely to be accidental. Applying the guidance, as analysed by Elias LJ in BA, at [39]-[41], Dr Ward's report did provide corroboration for the Claimant's account and did constitute independent evidence of torture by a medical practitioner. It was irrational for the Defendant not to accept this. Although Dr Ward had missed the scars on her previous examination, there was no evidence to suggest that the scars were newly-inflicted, and it seems more likely that, as the Claimant had not pointed them out, they were not observed by Dr Ward who was only conducting a brief examination. The symptoms of PTSD were, at the very least, consistent with having been previously subjected to systematic violence, even if the stress of her current predicament was the probable cause of her current anxiety and panic attacks. Moreover, if her account was true, it would be plausible that the threat of deportation back to a country where her ex-partner might find her would cause her anxiety.

76. By October, there was also support for Dr Ward's assessment from the Helen Bamber Foundation recommending clinical investigation by an expert on the basis that there was prima facie evidence of torture, which does not seem to have been taken into account by the Defendant, even though acceptance for pre-assessment by the Helen Bamber Foundation is considered to be of sufficient significance to suspend a pending asylum decision (Asylum Policy Instruction).

77. I conclude therefore that the Defendant erred in not considering the Claimant's case, as a person in respect of whom there was independent evidence of torture, under paragraph 55.10 EIG. Only "exceptional circumstances" would have justified continued detention, and no such exceptional circumstances existed in this case. The nature and degree of the Claimant's previous offending, and the level of risk which she represented, would not, in my view, have justified continued detention pursuant to the Defendant's policy.

78. Furthermore, by early October the Defendant had received both the second Rule 35 Report as well as the further information in support of the asylum claim from the Claimant's solicitors. In the light of both these new factors, the decision to continue to detain the Claimant was both contrary to the Defendant's policies in Chapter 55 EIG and unreasonable.

79. In conclusion, I find that the Claimant was unlawfully detained from 12 October 2015 to 4 March 2016. Following receipt of this judgment in draft, the parties agreed that the Defendant would pay damages in the sum of £25,000 in respect of the Claimant's unlawful detention.

Published on Bailii, 11/07/2017

Whether or not it is Reasonable to Remove a Child Who Has Been Resident For Seven Years

MA (Pakistan) & Ors, R (on the application of) v Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) & Anor [2016] EWCA Civ 705 (07 July 2016)

Lord Justice Elias :
1.     These six cases were listed to be heard together. Three of the Sri Lankan cases, NS, AR and CW, were joined below. In all save Pereira anonymity directions were made although I will hereafter refer to Pereira as "AP". They all raise a common issue, albeit arising in two different legal contexts. The question is how the test of reasonableness should be applied when determining whether or not it is reasonable to remove a child from the UK once he or she has been resident here for seven years. 

2.     The contexts in which the issues arise are rule 276ADE(1)(iv) of the Immigration Rules and section 117B(6) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 ("the 2002 Act"). In the former case the application for leave is brought under the rule by the child; in the latter, it is a claim brought outside the Immigration Rules by a parent under article 8 ECHR. In each case persons exercising a parental role (and other siblings) may be entitled to stay with the child in the UK in circumstances where they would not qualify for leave in their own right, independently of their status as parents. In effect they may be able to piggy back on the rights of the child. In each case the child in question must have been living in the UK for more than seven years in order for the provisions to bite. 

3.     The cases of MA and AP involve applications under rule 276ADE; the remaining cases involve only article 8 applications engaging section 117B(6). (A third, similarly drafted rule which involves the reasonableness test is found in Paragraph EX.1 of Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules which relates to certain claims for leave to remain brought by, inter alia, single parent carers. The provisions are complex. EX1 was in fact unsuccessfully relied upon in some of these cases but it is not in issue in any of the appeals.) 

4.     Some of the appeals also involve other issues. MA raises the question whether the courts are constrained in the way they must approach the public interest balancing exercise where the best interests of the child have to be considered in accordance with section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. In AP an issue is whether a court may need to adjourn a hearing if it has insufficient information properly to assess where the best interests of the child lie.

Published on Bailii, 07/07/2016,

UNHCR: Processing Claims Based on the Right to Family Unity

Procedural Standards for Refugee Status Determination under UNHCR’s Mandate

The Right to Family Unity Refugees have a right to family unity. Maintaining and facilitating family unity helps ensure the physical care, protection, emotional well-being and economic support of individual refugees. This may be achieved through various means. Granting derivative refugee status to the family members/dependents of a recognized refugee is one way of doing so in certain cases where the family members/dependents do not qualify for refugee status in their own right.

Derivative Refugee Status - General Principles

As a general rule, family members/dependants of a recognized refugee who meet the eligibility criteria for refugee status under UNHCR’s mandate should be recognized as refugees in their own right, even if they have applied for refugee status as part of a family rather than on an individual basis. In this regard, it is important to note that accompanying family members/dependants will often have the same international protection needs as the recognized refugee due to similarities in profile, personal circumstances and the conditions in the country of origin. Furthermore, family members/dependants, regardless of age, may also have a well-founded fear of persecution in their own right as a result of their family link or association with the recognized refugee. For further guidance on assessing the individual refugee claims of children, see § 3.4.5 – Child Applicants (under 18) / Unaccompanied and Separated Children.

Recognition of refugee status in their own right affords family members/dependants better protection as their status will not automatically be affected by a subsequent cancellation, revocation or cessation of the refugee status of the individual from whom they derive refugee status (hereinafter “Refugee Status Applicant”).2 Such recognition may also facilitate the identification and implementation of a durable solution, including resettlement.

Read more: Refwprld,

UKHO CIG Albania: Blood Feuds

1.1 Basis of Claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm due to the person’s involvement in a ‘blood feud’. Back to Contents
1.2 Other Points to Note
1.2.1 Where a claim falls to be refused, it must be considered for certification under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 as Albania is listed as a designated state.
Published on Refworld, 11/07/2016