News & Views Monday 10th July to Sunday 16th July 2017  
Creating a ‘Hostile Environment’: Theresa May’s Immigration Record

Theresa May’s disdain for migrants has never been a secret; it’s something she’s made abundantly clear both in her public statements and her policies. Her aspiration for the UK to be a ‘hostile environment’ for illegal immigrants was first announced in an interview with the Telegraph in 2012. What followed over her subsequent years as Home Secretary was a string of policies restricting access to healthcare, bank accounts, rented accommodation and the regulation of marriage.
In practice these measures don’t just affect those in the UK without legal status – they have created an environment where it is acceptable to check where someone is from before providing them with a vital service. Inevitably they also create an environment where as a landlord the easiest path is to discriminate and look for a future tenant with an unambiguously British name.  The consequences of falling foul of these provisions are harsh. A landlord could face a prison sentence of up to five years if they rent premises to a person who does not have legal status in the UK.

In 2013 May’s Home Office launched the ‘go home vans’ , mobile billboards on the back of vans reading ‘In the UK illegally?  Go Home Or Face Arrest.’ The public outcry was significant, and ultimately the vans only circulated for a month – resulting in just 11 people leaving the UK. However they were part of a broader initiative, Operation Vaken, which saw adverts placed in minority ethnic newspapers, and posters in places of worship.  Again, the impact of such measures is on the migrant community generally – the Home Office’s own evaluation of the operation goes so far as to note concerns that the campaign resulted in community tensions.

Read more: Simon Crowther, ‘The Justice Gap’,
Nine In 10 Asylum Seekers Wrongly Denied Emergency Support

More than nine in 10 homeless and destitute asylum seekers are wrongly denied emergency support they are legally entitled to from the Home Office, according to new research. A report by charity Refugee Action reveals the Government is missing its own deadlines for providing support for asylum seekers while their applications are being processed, and failing to provide emergency assistance they are entitled to during these delays.

The findings, based on analysis of more than 300 cases involving applications for asylum support in Manchester and London, reveal that individuals and families at risk of homelessness and with no means of supporting themselves are waiting an average of nearly two months for housing and the small amount of money they are entitled to (£5.28 a day). More than half of people seeking asylum who are in crisis had their application for emergency support refused, but 92 per cent of these applications were approved shortly afterwards when people challenged the decision.

Read more: May Bulman, Guardian,

Immigration – Service of Visa and Deportation Notices

Asked by Baroness Hamwee: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, how notifications of the refusal of (1) visas, and (2) deportations, are served; and whether, for those purposes, there is routine use of mail that is not recorded in any way. [HL193]

Baroness Williams of Trafford: UKVI uses commercial partners to manage the visa application process. The decision to refuse a visa is recorded on our case working system, Proviso, a separate record is created when the decision is dispatched. Individuals have access to an online tracking service through the commercial partner which informs them when a decision has been made on their visa application and is available for collection or delivery. The Visa Application Centre is not privy to the justification to issue or refuse a visa. The primary method of service of any visa decision, whether issue or refusal, is via the Visa Application Centre unless they have requested another route, such as a courier service. There is no routine use of mail that is not recorded in any manner.

The service of a deportation decision is dependent on the location of the individual on which the decision is being served. Where the individual is detained in prison or an immigration removal centre, the deportation decision is served directly on the individual by officials in the prison or immigration removal centre. Where the individual is not detained a deportation, decision is sent by recorded delivery to the individuals last notified address and a copy sent to their legal representative. The Home Office records the service of deportation decisions electronically on the case information database.

House of Lords, 10/07/2017,
Detainees Under Escort: Inspection of Escort and Removals to Jamaica

Removal flights to Jamaica restarted recently. Many of the improvements we observed in removal operations were evident in this operation. The process of collecting detainees from the immigration removal centres (IRCs) was reasonably well organised, and IRC staff generally played their part in preparing detainees for removal, especially at Brook House, although arrangements at Yarl’s Wood were less appropriate. Escorting staff promptly established an understanding with most detainees through a friendly and polite approach and informal conversation. They went out of their way on occasion, for example, to arrange for a detainee’s luggage to be brought to the airport.

However, an expectation of higher risks had built up around this removal route. This was explained by the fact that four men had protested against their removal at their IRC and one detainee had violently resisted removal on the preceding Jamaica flight. However, these incidents influenced staff behaviour to a disproportionate extent. From the initial operational briefing onwards, staff were reminded of the risk of disruptive behaviour generally, rather than in respect of particular individuals. As a result, seven people were put in waist restraint belts, not because of violence or a need for physical restraint, but because of their ‘demeanour’ or ‘attitude’, in the words of staff. In the case of two men who were concealing fragments of a razor blade in their mouths, this was a proportionate response. In the case of a 57-year-old woman who was first forced into compliance by use of a rigid handcuff applied purely to inflict pain, then fitted with a waist restraint belt, the proportionality of the treatment was much less clear. These and other examples in this report illustrate that there was a need to establish and embed a calm, consistent and proportionate approach to risk management through staff training and active supervision of the process.

For a detainee (and staff with him) to spend nearly eight and a half hours on a coach before transfer to the aircraft was as demanding as it was inexplicable. Many others spent not much less time travelling. The process required streamlining; staff could rest on the return journey, but detainees went straight into a new chapter of their lives. Small deprivations were added to the experience when detainees spent the 11-hour flight without receiving hot drinks and with only a small plastic spoon with which to eat meals.

Some written information was available to detainees about sources of assistance that would be available when they arrived in Jamaica; and staff, including immigration officials, were as reassuring as possible. However, while the receiving officials were welcoming and some who disembarked at Kingston seemed confident about their future, a number were anxious and some said they knew no one there.

The flaws in this operation were not all attributable to specific risk factors such as concealment of sharp blades. Although it passed off reasonably calmly overall, talking up risks undermined to some degree even experienced staff’s confidence in their interpersonal and other skills. It should be possible to achieve a more measured and consistent approach in future.

Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM April 2017 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Download the full report;
CPIN: - Sri Lanka: Journalists, Media Professionals and Human Rights Activists

Basis of claim

1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm at the hands of the Sri Lankan authorities because of the person’s actual or perceived political opinion as a result of their activities as a journalist (including internet-based media), media professional or human rights activist. This includes persons/activists who use internet-based media, including blogging or social media platforms, to criticise the government.

Published on Refworld, 13/07/2017
CPIN: Sri Lanka: Tamil Separatism

1.1 Basis of claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by the Sri Lankan authorities due to the
person’s actual or perceived political opinion based on support for, or
involvement with, Tamil separatist groups.

1.2 Points to note
1.2.1 The focus of this note is on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
However, the guidance applies equally to involvement with other groups who
advocate Tamil separatism.

Published on Refworld, 13/07/2017
New Refugee Framework “Dead in the Water”

Uganda is one of the key testing grounds for a new approach to refugees that emerged from last year’s high-level summit in New York. That approach is supposed to be based on principles of international cooperation and responsibility-sharing among states, and yet Uganda has struggled to secure sufficient donor support to manage the arrival of nearly one million refugees from neighbouring South Sudan, let alone to implement the new model.

The “Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework”, outlined in an annex to the New York Declaration, is to form the basis for a global compact on refugees due to be adopted by member states in 2018. One of the stated objectives of the CRRF is to ease pressure on host countries; another is to expand access to resettlement in third countries. But while Uganda continues to admit an average of 2,000 refugees a day, solidarity from the international community is lagging far behind the commitments made in New York.

Read more: Kristy Siegfried, IRIN,
Top Twenty Failed States 2017

Failed state:  A state having little or no governance, endemic corruption, profiteering by ruling elites, very poor Human Rights, the government cannot/will not protect the population from others or itself, massive internal conflict, forced internal/external displacement, institutionalised political exclusion of significant numbers of the population, progressive deterioration of welfare infrastructure (hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses) not adequate to meet health, needs, progressive economic decline of the country as a whole as measured by per capita income, debt, severe child mortality rates, poverty levels.

Failed States 2017: South Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Yeomen, Syria, Sudan, DRC, Chad, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Burundi, Pakistan, Eritrea, Niger.

Failed states pose a challenge to the international community. In today's world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions not only for that state and its people, but also for its neighbours and other states halfway across the globe.

The Fragile States Index (FSI) is an annual ranking of 178 countries based on the different pressures they face that impact their levels of fragility. The Index is based on The Fund for Peace’s proprietary Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST) analytical approach. Based on comprehensive social science methodology, three primary streams of data — quantitative, qualitative, and expert validation — are triangulated and subjected to critical review to obtain final scores for the FSI. Millions of documents are analyzed every year, and by applying highly specialized search parameters, scores are apportioned for every country based on twelve key political, social and economic indicators and over 100 sub-indicators that are the result of years of expert social science research. 

Though South Sudan has returned to top position on the annual Fragile States Index (FSI) for 2017, and Finland continues to maintain its position as the world’s least fragile country, the global tumult of the past year has been borne out in the Index’s trend analysis, as Ethiopia, Mexico, and Turkey recorded the greatest worsening over 2016. A number of developed countries also recorded notable worsening scores across certain indicators, in particular the United States and the United Kingdom, which both experienced highly divisive political campaigns during 2016. The long-term trends of the FSI have also raised red flags on a number of countries – in particular South Africa and Senegal – for which the conditions that could precipitate instability have worsened significantly.

Download the full report: Fund for Peace,
Government too Restrictive in Treatment of EEA Nationals Once They Acquire British Nationality.

On 30 May 2017, Advocate-General Bot [“AG”] of the European Court of Justice [“ECJ”] provided an opinion following a reference from the Administrative Court of England and Wales, concerning a judicial review challenge brought by the spouse of a dual Spanish-British national, who had relied on his wife’s EEA rights to apply for a residence card which had been rejected. Whilst caution must be exercised until the full judgment is handed down by the ECJ later on this year, the opinion of the AG indicates that the UK Government have been too restrictive in their treatment of the rights of EEA nationals once they acquire British nationality.

Read more: Gherson Immigration,
ARC Country of Information Update Vol. 152

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 27 June and 10 July 2017.

Download the full document:
R (on the application of Nawaz) v SSHD - Educational Testing Services ('ETS')

(ETS: review standard/evidential basis) [2017] UKUT 00288 (IAC)

(a)          Deception in ETS cases is not a question of precedent fact, except in particular circumstances, for example those in Abbas [2017] EWHC 78 (Admin).
(b)         There is no fundamental right to study in a foreign country; nor for children to be there with their would-be student parents; nor can a different standard of review fairly be applied in these cases to applicants with and without children.
(c)          It follows that the standard of review in all such cases is on ordinary judicial review principles, requiring fair consideration, bearing in mind both the potentially serious effects of deception findings in general, and the requirements of effective administration.
(d)         Oral or other evidence of an applicant’s English-language skills or attainments is unlikely to have any decisive effect in judicial review proceedings on the fairness of the decision under challenge, for the reasons given in Habib (JR/1260/2016) [20], and those at [21].
(e)          Evidence obtained by use of the Look-up Tool, and subject to the human verification procedure, is an adequate basis for the Secretary of State’s deception finding in these cases, in the light of Flynn & another [2008] EWCA Crim 970 [24 – 27], and the evidence of both Dr Harrison and Professor French.
(f)           The lack of visible note-taking by the human verifiers does not provide any ground of challenge to the decision as insufficiently transparent, where there has been an offer (whether accepted or not) to provide a copy of a voice recording for analysis.

Published on Bailii, 12.07.2017
CPIN: Bangladesh: Journalists, Publishers, and Internet Bloggers

1.1 Basis of claim

1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by:

(a) the state; and/or

(b) non-state actors, particularly Islamist extremists due to the person’s actual or perceived religious or political views in their role as a journalist or publisher (including internet-based media); a blogger; or as an online activist;

1.2 Points to note
1.2.1 Internet activity may also include any activity undertaken outside of Bangladesh and so may, in appropriate circumstances, give rise to a ‘sur place’ claim.

Download the full report: