News & Views Monday 16th July to Sunday 22nd July 2018  

Manchester: Refugee Caught up in Home Office “Whirlpool” Of Bureaucracy at Risk of Removal

Nestor Sylla came to the UK 12 years ago after fleeing Guinea because of death threats and persecution. This followed the death of his father, the disappearance of his mother and the murder of his sister. He came to the UK to seek safety and has built up close relationships with people in Manchester who he now regards as his family. He has volunteered for many charitable organisations and has been a carer for one of his close friends when she was seriously ill. He also helps look after the children of another close friend. Nestor's immigration case has been caught up in a "whirlpool" of Home Office bureaucracy and the Home Office now wants to remove him from the UK. He has no family, friends or home in Guinea. Nestor's home is now in Manchester and his new family need him here.

Please sign the petition calling for Nestor to be given leave to remain in the UK.

Read Nestor’s full story: Nestor Sylla.html

Number of People Granted Asylum in the UK Falls in 2017/18

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that in the year to March 2018 there were 14,166 grants of asylum, alternative forms of protection and resettlement, compared with 15,973 the previous year. The publication shows 42 per cent of the grants of asylum were for those under 18.
The number of grants of asylum to main applicants and dependants was down 17 per cent, to 6,865, while 5,760 fewer people were given protection under a resettlement scheme – a 99 per cent drop on the previous year. But 1,541 people were granted an ‘alternative form of protection’ – which includes those given full refugee status as well as people who came to the UK through the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Scheme – a rise of 16 per cent on the year before. The figures, provided by the Home Office, show 5,874 family reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK, a two per cent increase since last year.

Meanwhile, the ONS figures show the number of EU citizens who left the UK last year was the highest on record, with a total 139,000 emigrating from the UK in 2017. Net migration to the UK from the EU was 101,000 in 2017, the lowest estimate in five years. But net migration from non-EU states rose to 227,000, the highest level since 2011.

Nicola White, from the migration statistics division of the ONS, said: “With around 280,000 more people coming to the UK than leaving in 2017, these latest figures show that migration has continued to add to the UK population. Net migration fell following record levels in 2015 and early 2016 and has been broadly stable since. This is similar to the level recorded in year ending September 2014. “Underlying this immigration has remained broadly stable at around 630,000 and emigration has shown a gradual increase since 2015 and is currently at around 350,000.”

Source: Liam Kirkaldy, Holyrood News,  

Returning Residents and the ‘2 Year Rule’

People who have indefinite leave have no limit on the amount of time they can spend in the UK. However, such people still enter and remain in the UK by permission of the Home Office and as such are still subject to immigration control. When a person holds indefinite leave to enter or remain and they leave the UK, on their return, they must either meet the requirements in paragraph 18 or paragraph 19 of the Rules. This will depend on the amount of time spent outside the UK.
Less than 2 years’ absence

A person who has been absent from the UK for less than 2 years will retain their indefinite leave and does not need to apply for entry clearance before resuming their residence in the UK. Border force officers will assess whether a person can be admitted for entry under the requirements of paragraph 18. A person who has been absent from the UK for less than 2 continuous years will retain their indefinite leave. It is usually possible to check absences from the UK through entry and (old) embarkation stamps (endorsed by Immigration Officers).

In line with paragraph 18, a person must show that they are seeking entry for the purposes of settlement. Whilst in most cases a person would be returning to settle at the point of entry, there may be other circumstances where a person is in work or study for long periods overseas, but still intends to ultimately settle in the UK on completion of the employment/study. This will not disqualify a person from admission as a returning resident, provided:

• they are normally resident in the UK (for example, a person has property or family or other interests in the UK which are being closely maintained through regular contact)

• at the time of their entry, they consider the UK to be their permanent home

• they have not been away from the UK for more than 2 years and intend to return to the UK for settlement in the future

More than 2 years’ absence
A person who has been absent from the UK for more than 2 consecutive years, will automatically lose their indefinite leave as a matter of law. This is set out in paragraph 20 of the Immigration Rules and in Article 13 of the Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) Order 2000 (LTERO).

In line with paragraph 19 of the Rules, a person may nevertheless be admitted as a returning resident if they can demonstrate strong ties to the UK:
  • the nature of those ties
  • the extent to which those ties have been maintained during the applicant’s absence
  • the length of their original residence in the UK
  • the circumstances in which they left the UK and their reasons for remaining absent
  • their reasons for now wishing to return
  • whether, if they were to be readmitted, they would continue to live in the UK
  • any other compelling or compassionate factors

Any applications for readmission following a 2 year absence, must be made at a UK visa application centre.

Source: Grace McGill, McGill & Co,

Migrants are Key to the UK’s Entrepreneurial Success

The important contribution that migrants make to the current and future success of the UK economy has been highlighted in new research, which found that people from ethnic minority and immigrant backgrounds are twice as likely as their white British counterparts to be early-stage entrepreneurs. The analysis of data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) by researchers at Aston University in Birmingham also found that women, people from ethnic minority communities and migrants are more likely to be motivated by creating ‘meaning’ – rather than just making money – when starting a business than white British men. 

The GEM report contains data on Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA), which looks at the proportion of people who are ‘nascent entrepreneurs’ at the early stages of setting up a business, as well as new business owners who have been running their firm for between three months and three-and-a-half years. Since the financial crisis, the proportion of people from ethnic minorities and migrants starting their own firms has risen sharply, at the same time as more modest increases among white people and life-long residents. In 2017, the TEA rate among non-white Britons was 14.5%, compared to 7.9% for white Britons. A similar increase can be observed among immigrants to the UK, both white and non-white. In 2017, 12.9% were early-stage entrepreneurs, compared to 8.2% among the UK-born population as a whole [all ethnicities].

Read more: McGill & Co,

Hopes and Fears in Protracted Wars

In this month’s CrisisWatch yield: a potential turning of the page in Ethiopia; a flicker of hope in Afghanistan; Yemen on knife’s edge; and another (fleeting) opportunity lost in Syria.

The June/July 2018 instalment of CrisisWatch features important updates on some of the world's longest-running conflicts. President Rob Malley finds optimism in Ethiopia and Eritrea; mixed omens in Afghanistan and Yemen; and dashed hope in Syria.

The new Ethiopian prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, continues to make welcome waves, not only domestically – pardoning and releasing opposition members; ending the state of emergency; and promising reform – but also regionally, by moving toward reconciliation with Eritrea and suggesting a thaw with Egypt also could be in the offing.

If Ethiopia illustrates the power of personality in conflict resolution, Afghanistan showcases the power of public opinion: a temporary but historic ceasefire over the Eid al Fitr holiday observed by the government, the U.S. and the Taliban was met with extraordinary scenes of popular celebration, highlighting their eagerness to end the war, as well as eye-popping pictures of Taliban fighters fraternising with Afghan soldiers. The Taliban refused to extend the pause, fighting has resumed, and the grim human toll continues to mount. But the short-lived ceasefire proved that both sides of the conflict enjoy a measure of control over their armed forces and that ordinary citizens constitute a powerful constituency for peace. Both are vital ingredients for any successful peace process.

Developments in Yemen could go in one of two directions. If the Saudi-backed coalition pursues its military objective of seizing the port city of Hodeida, it could both lead to tragic humanitarian consequences and jeopardise any short-term prospect for a resumption of talks. If, conversely, the coalition and the rebel Huthis heed the call of the new UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths, and agree to a compromise on the status of Hodeida, it could serve as the springboard for new negotiations to end the war. The track record of all protagonists – internal and external – in this conflict sadly makes the former outcome more likely. But with strong international pressure and support for Griffiths, the latter outcome still remains a realistic, and far preferable, scenario.

Finally, like clockwork, bad news from Syria, where hopes to avert a bloody regime assault on the south west were quickly dashed. Russia, once again, served as cover for a regime offensive; the U.S., as expected, was more concerned with how to thwart Iran than with how to minimise civilian casualties. All in all, the degree of international jockeying over Syria remains as high as the level of international preoccupation for Syrians remains depressingly low.

Source: Crisis Watch,

Eritrea: National Service and Illegal Exit

Basis of claim
1.1.1.   Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state because the person evaded or deserted national service and / or left Eritrea illegally (i.e. without an exit visa).
1.1.2. Within this note:
(a) ‘National service’ means compulsory military training followed by either military service and/or a civilian posting (see National Service).

(b) ‘Military training’ refers to the initial compulsory period of training of three to six months at Sawa or another camp that all Eritreans are required to undertake as part of national service.

(c) ‘Military service’ means a posting to the military upon completion of compulsory military training.

Published on Refworld, 18/07/2018

Sheffield Protest Against Deportations to Zimbabwe Sheffield Wednesday 25th July

Assemble Outside Sheffield Town Hall
Pinstone St, Sheffield S1 2HH
Wednesday 25th July 12noon to 1pm

End Forced Deportations to Zimbabwe

According to New, British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing, in February 2018 told Zimbabwean Deputy President Kembo Mohadi that her government intended to deport 2,500 “illegal Zimbabweans” in that country. The announcement came as Theresa May said that her government was "determined to reduce the number of immigrants coming into the country by thousands". Very few people have been deported to Zimbabwe over the past ten years. There are now reports of Zimbabwe Embassy staff going to detention centres to interview any Zimbabwe nationals there to give them travel documents so that they can be forcibly deported. Some people have already been deported to a Zimbabwe where the same regime is in power even though Mugabe has gone. Their lives are in danger.

Zimbabwe refugees here for years are facing deportation rather than extension to their right to safety here in the UK

Tell Sajid Javid the Home Secretary to stop deporting Zimbabwe refugees. This is Theresa May’s Hostile Environment yet again bringing misery and danger to families seeking protection from persecution and torture in the UK

Source: South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG).

Foreign & Commonwealth Office: Zimbabwe the Human Rights Situation

In 2017/18, the human rights situation in Zimbabwe remained serious. The human rights monitoring group Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) recorded 1,852 human rights violations, 20% fewer than in 2016. This continues a long-term trend of slow improvement since the extensive government-sponsored political violence in 2008. Incidents included politically motivated intimidation, discrimination, harassment and assault, violent policing, arbitrary arrests and torture. Following a military intervention, Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as president on 24 November, marking the end of Robert Mugabe's 37 years in power.

Politically motivated intimidation occurred throughout 2017. The National Constitutional Assembly alleged that ZANU-PF members assaulted its candidate and agent in a by-election in Bikita West in January.

In October, ZANU-PF supporters reportedly assaulted supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change - Tsvangirai (MDC-T) mobilising voter registration in Chitungwiza. Factional disputes within ZANU-PF resulted in intra-party intimidation and violence. There were incidents of violence along ethnic lines in the M DC-T also, as rivals clashed over alliance building with other parties.

The authorities continued to use the distribution of food aid for political ends, including after the inauguration  of President Mnangagwa. In May, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission deployed teams to Gutu, Zaka and Bikita West to investigate alleged cases.

The authorities imposed more stringent conditions on opposition demonstrators than on supporters of the ruling ZANU¬PF party. Several planned opposition demonstrations were banned, and at least two opposition political meetings were interrupted by Zimbabwe Republic Police. The state continued to limit freedom of expression.

30 Countries, Which the FCO has Designated as its Human Rights Priority Countries

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Human Rights and Democracy -Report

The report assesses the situation in 30 countries, which the FCO has designated as its Human Rights Priority Countries.

These are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

These countries are the main source of people seeking asylum in the UK and also the main deportation destinations of same!

The Government states: Promoting and defending human rights is a fundamental part of the UK’s foreign policy. Every day, all over the world, British ministers, diplomats and officials champion gender equality, LGBT rights, freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression.

Crocodile Tears: Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commenting on the report said, “This year marks the 70th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The report I have laid before Parliament today demonstrates that the principles and values enshrined in the Universal Declaration remain as crucial as ever. It also serves as a reminder that ensuring universal respect for those principles remains a difficult task. The UK Government will continue to play a significant part in this endeavour to protect the ‘inherent dignity’ of ‘all members of the human family”. House of Commons: HCWS858

Read the full report:

This Annual Report is an essential ‘Tool’ for fighting deportations the British government’s work and to the global human rights landscape over the year.

Immigration Decline Costing UK Economy Billions, Says Think Thank

The fall in immigration since Brexit is already costing the UK more than £1bn a year, according to new analysis by an independent think tank. Global Future, which promotes the benefits of openness, calculates that the loss to the public finances is the equivalent of more than 23,000 nurses or 18,000 doctors. It also claims that meeting the government’s immigration target of “tens of thousands” will also cost Britain £12bn a year by 2023 – which represents 60 per cent of the funds promised to the NHS by Theresa May as part of a so-called “Brexit dividend “

The figures are based on forecasts by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) of the effects on net borrowing and debt under alternative scenarios of high and low migration. These estimates suggest a surplus of £16.9bn if net migration fell from its peak of 336,000 in the year ending June 2016 to 185,000 by 2021, compared to a surplus of £5.2bn if it fell to 105,000 by 2021.

Global Futures used these estimates to devise what it called a “ready reckoner” of a cost of £150m for every reduction of 10,000 in net migration. The latest migration figures are due to be released on Monday but net migration had already fallen to 244,000 in the year ending September 2017. This translates to a cost of £1.35bn every year if net migration remains the same, with even greater losses if it is reduced to less than 100,000 per year.

Read more: Peter Stubley, Independent,

We Need to Talk About the Weather

As Afghanistan deals with drought, the World Meteorological Organization is noting “high-impact weather” around the globe: record rainfall, tropical storms, and soaring temperatures over the first two weeks of July. This week, Typhoon Maria slammed into eastern China, while record rainfall triggered deadly landslides that killed nearly 200 in Japan. There’s also a new “highest low” temperature, recorded in Oman: 42.6°C overnight, which the WMO says is likely the highest “low” temperature ever recorded. Algeria saw a record high on 5 July (51°C), there’s a drought in northern Europe, and extreme heat waves swept over parts of North America. All this comes after the European Union’s climate change service declared last month to be the second-warmest June on record. Today’s volatile weather may well be a sign of tomorrow’s new humanitarian challenges: There’s increasing recognition that climate change is a key driver of migration, and the World Bank warns that 140 million people could be on the move by 2050 as crop failure, water scarcity, and other “slow-onset” impacts set in.

The emerging field of attribution science continues to piece together the links between individual examples of extreme weather and climate change, but the WMO says it’s not possible to definitively say the events of the last few weeks were caused by a changing climate. Still, the UN agency notes, “they are compatible with the general long-term trend due to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases”.

Source: IRIN,

Approach to be Taken to "Error of Law" Decisions of the Upper Tribunal

(1) Before it has re-made the decision in an appeal, pursuant to section 12(2)(b)(ii) of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, the Upper Tribunal has jurisdiction to depart from, or vary, its decision that the First-tier Tribunal made an error of law, such that the First-tier Tribunal's decision should be set aside under section 12(2)(a).

(2) As Practice Direction 3.7 indicates, that jurisdiction will, however, be exercised only in very exceptional cases. This will be so, whether or not the same constitution of the Upper Tribunal that made the error of law decision is re-making the decision in the appeal.

(3) Permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal should be granted on a ground that was not advanced by an applicant for permission, only if:

(a) the judge is satisfied that the ground he or she has identified is one which has a strong prospect of success:

(i) for the original appellant; or

(ii) for the Secretary of State, where the ground relates to a decision which, if undisturbed, would breach the United Kingdom's international Treaty obligations; or

(b) (possibly) the ground relates to an issue of general importance, which the Upper Tribunal needs to address.

AZ (error of law: jurisdiction; PTA practice) [2018] UKUT 245 (IAC) (5 July 2018)