News & Views Monday 23rd May to Sunday 29th May 2016  

Immigration Statistics Q1 January/February/March 2016

Published today Thursday 26th March 2016

Selected extracts:

Asylum applications from main applicants increased by 38% to 34,687 in the year ending March 2016, the highest number of applications since the year ending September 2004 (36,305). The largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Iran (4,305), followed by Eritrea (3,321), Iraq (2,805), Sudan (2,769), Pakistan (2,669) and Syria (2,539). Including dependants, the number of asylum applications increased by 30% to 41,563 in the year ending March 2016. There was around 1 dependant for every 5 main applicants.

Outcome for asylum applications: Of the 25,033 main applicants who applied for asylum in 2014, 20,585 initial decisions had been made as at August 2015 when the statistics were compiled, including 9,230 grants and 11,355 refusals. A total of 8,436 appeals were lodged against decisions made on applications from 2014. Of these, 42% (3,553) were dismissed, 19% (1,635) were granted asylum or another form of protection and 38% were either withdrawn or the outcome was unknown at the time the statistics were compiled.

Support provided to asylum seekers: At the end of March 2016, 35,683 asylum seekers and their dependants were being supported in the UK under Section 95 (either in supported accommodation or receiving subsistence only support), compared with 30,476 at the end of March 2015. Although this number has risen since 2012, the figure remains considerably below that for the end of 2003 (the start of the published data series), when there were 80,123 asylum seekers in receipt of Section 95 support.

Applications pending: At the end of March 2016, 26,492 applications (received since April 2006) from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review), 22% more than at the end of March 2015 (21,651). The number pending an initial decision for more than 6 months increased by 62% (from 3,127 to 5,059) while those pending further review decreased by 16% to 7,364.

Asylum appeals: The HM Courts and Tribunals Service received 12,799 asylum appeals from main applicants in the year ending March 2016, a 15% rise compared with the previous year (11,082).

Dependants: Including dependants, the number of asylum applications increased by 30% from 32,036 in the year ending March 2015 to 41,563 in the year ending March 2016. This is an average of 1 dependant for every 5 main applicants. In the same period, 7,095 initial decisions were made relating to dependants. Of these 1,861 (26%) were grants of asylum, or an alternative form of protection, and 5,234 (74%) were refusals.

People entering detention: The number of people entering detention in year ending March 2016 increased by 4% to 32,163 from 30,902 in the previous year.

Over the same period there was an 8% increase in those people leaving detention (from 30,326 to 32,610). There was a continuing decline in the proportion of detainees being removed or voluntarily departing the UK on leaving detention in the year ending March 2015 of 51% to 45% in year ending March 2016. Conversely, there was an increase in the proportion of detainees granted temporary admission or release (TA/TR), from 39% to 44%.

As at the end of March 2016, 2,925 people were in detention, 16% lower than the number recorded at the end of March 2015 (3,483). The fall may be partially attributed to the closure of Haslar IRC in April 2015 and Dover IRC in October 2015, and changes to the detained fast track asylum process, as well as changes in the numbers of people requiring detention.

People leaving detention by nationality: In the year ending March 2016, 32,610 people left detention. Pakistani nationals accounted for the highest number of people leaving (3,302), a decrease of 25% compared with year ending March 2015 (4,409).

Children in detention: The number of children entering detention in year ending March 2016 was 110, 24% lower than the previous year (144). This was a 90% fall compared with the beginning of the data series in 2009 (1,119).

Of the 113 children leaving detention in year ending March 2016, 33 were removed from the UK and 77 were granted temporary admission or temporary release. Of those leaving detention, 104 had been detained for seven days or less, two for between 8 and 14 days, four for between 15 and 28 days, two for between 29 days and 2 months and one for over 3 months. There were no children in detention as at 31 March 2016.

Immigration detainees in prisons: As at 28 March 2016, there were 363 detainees held in prison establishments in England and Wales solely under immigration powers as set out in the Immigration Act 1971 or UK Borders Act 2007.

Enforced removals from the UK decreased by 8% to 11,637 in year ending March 2016 compared with the previous 12 month period (12,661).

In the year ending March 2016, there were 13,193 enforced returns. This includes 11,637 enforced removals and 1,556 other returns from detention.

The number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed has increased by 9% in year ending March 2016, to 17,752 from 16,302 in year ending March 2015. The number of passengers refused entry at port and subsequently departing has been increasing slowly since 2012.

In the year ending March 2016, provisional data show there were 5,692 returns of foreign national offenders (FNOs), using enforcement powers or via deportation. This was an 8% increase on the previous year (5,277).

Cruelty to Asylum Seekers Dressed up as Compassion

From Austria to Hungary and the Netherlands to Norway, Europeans are backing populist, far-right parties and ideas. The so-called Donald Trumps of the continent. Austria’s leader Norbert Hofer pledged to “stop the invasion of Muslims” by building a fence on his nation’s southern border . Antisemitism and Islamophobia are rampant – recent polling in Hungary found at least one third of the population disliked Jews – and attacks against migrants in Germany echo a dark past. Making matters worse, the European Union is working with some of the most despotic African regimes to stop people leaving in the first place.

It’s why recent comments by Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton, questioning the language, suitability and adaptability of new arrivals, were so tame compared to the reckless and inflammatory outbursts by countless international counterparts. But Dutton’s comments aren’t the main issue here – it’s what successive Australian governments have imposed on refugees over the last two decades and a general public who are willing to support it.

Read more; Antony Loewenstein, Guardian,

Damages for individual detained under the former Detained Fast Track "DFT)

Zafar, R (on the application of) v SSHD [2016] EWHC 1217 (Admin) (25 May 2016)

1. This claim concerns an individual who was detained under the former Detained Fast Track ("DFT") processes, by which persons whose claims for asylum or humanitarian protection were considered by the Defendant ("the SSHD") to be capable of swift and fair determination were detained and their claims evaluated. The statutory structure for the detention of those claiming asylum, the history of the DFT and the most recent manifestation of the policy for determining the suitability of cases for entry to and management within the DFT were described in some detail in Ouseley J's judgment in R (Detention Action) v SSHD [2014] EWHC 2245 (Admin) ("Detention Action (No 1)") and need not be repeated here. The SSHD's policy for detention under the DFT was separate from the Enforcement Instructions and Guidance ("EIG") Chapter 55 on Detention, which sets out the SSHD's policy on the general criteria for immigration detention.

2. The DFT detention policy was subjected to a series of significant legal challenges, which ultimately led to its suspension on 2 July 2015. In Detention Action No 1, above, Ouseley J was not persuaded that identified shortcomings in the screening process or in the operation of safeguards to ensure that vulnerable persons, such as those who had been trafficked or who had been the victims of torture, were not detained under the fast track, made the policy itself unlawful.


83. For the above reasons this claim for judicial review succeeds. The Claimant is entitled to a declaration that he was unlawfully detained from 18 May 2015 to 16 December 2015 (inclusive) and to damages. His claim for damages will be transferred to the Central London County Court for assessment if the parties are unable to agree a figure within 3 months. The decision made on 12 June 2015 is a nullity and will be quashed. The claim for international protection must be determined de novo by the SSHD on the basis of all material that has been provided to her, but she will not be entitled to rely upon the Claimant's answers given at the substantive interview on 8 June 2015.

Published on Bailii, 25/05/2016

Queen on the application of MK, IK (a child by his litigation friend MK) and HK (a child by her litigation friend MK) 

(i)             In making a decision whether to accept a "take charge" request under the Dublin Regulation, the Secretary of State is obliged to take all material considerations into account and to comply with the "Tameside" duty of enquiry.

(ii)           The Dublin Regulation and its sister instrument, Commission Regulation (EC) 1550/2003, subject the Secretary of State to duties of enquiry, investigation and evidence gathering. The discharge of these duties will be factually and contextually sensitive and is governed by the principle that the Secretary of State is obliged to take reasonable steps.

(iii)         In a context where there are successive "take charge" requests and successive decisions in response thereto, the aforementioned duties apply throughout.

(iv)         The aforementioned duties may also arise via the procedural dimension of Article 8 ECHR, under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

(v)           The principles rehearsed above may give rise to a remedy comprising a mandatory order requiring the Secretary of State to take all reasonable steps and use her best endeavours in certain specified respects.]

Application for judicial review: substantive decision 

Having considered all documents lodged and having heard the parties' respective representatives, Ms C Kilroy and Ms M Knorr, both of counsel, instructed by Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, on behalf of the Applicants and Mr B Keith, of counsel, instructed by the Government Legal Department, on behalf of the Respondent at a hearing at Field House, London on 21 April 2016.

 Published on Bailii, 26/05/2016

UK Trains Soldiers For Regimes on its Own Human Rights Abuse Watchlist

Britain is providing military training and support to the majority of the countries named on its own human rights abusers watchlist, The Independent can reveal. Sixteen nations on the Foreign Office watchlist for use of torture and sexual violence benefit from military and security support. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) designated 30 nations as “human rights priority” countries last year, warning of their conduct on a range of issues from internal repression to the use of sexual violence in armed conflict. But information released by ministers shows that British armed forces trained “either security or armed forces personnel” in 16 of the listed countries since 2014.

Read more: Jon Stone, Independent, 22/05/2016

Last updated 27 May, 2016