News & Views Monday 18th June to Sunday 24th June 2018  

No, Asylum Seekers Are Not a 'Burden' For European Economies

Does the arrival of asylum seekers lead to a deterioration in the economic performance and public finances of the European countries that host them? The answer is no, according to economists from the CNRS, Clermont-Auvergne University, and Paris-Nanterre University, who have estimated a dynamic statistical model based on 30 years of data from 15 countries in Western Europe. On the contrary, the economic impact tends to be positive as a proportion of the asylum seekers become permanent residents. This study is published in Science Advances on June 20, 2018.

During the period studied (1985-2015), Western Europe experienced a significant increase in the flows of asylum seekers following the wars in the Balkans between 1991 and 1999 and, after 2011, in the wake of the Arab Springs and the conflict in Syria. At the same time, flows of migrants, particularly EU nationals, have increased after the EU's expansion eastwards in 2004. These events provide numerous opportunities to test the consequences of an unforeseen increase in migration flows on GDP per capita, the unemployment rate, and public finances.

The researchers show that an increase in the flow of permanent migrants (i.e., not asylum seekers) at a given date produces positive effects up to four years after that date: GDP per capita increases, the unemployment rate falls, and additional public expenditure is more than compensated by the increase in tax revenues. In the case of asylum seekers, no negative effect is observed and the effect becomes positive after three to five years, when a proportion of asylum seekers obtain asylum and join the category of permanent migrants.

According to these results, it is unlikely that the ongoing migration crisis is a burden for European countries; on the contrary, it could be an economic opportunity.

Read more:

34,361 Men, Women and Children Perished Trying to Reach Europe

On World Refugee Day, the Guardian distributed a list of the 34,361 migrants and refugees known to have died attempting to find a new home within the borders of the European Union.

It has been compiled by United for Intercultural Action, a European network of 550 anti-racist organisations in 48 countries. The List stretches back to 1993, when Kimpua Nsimba, a 24-year-old refugee from Zaire, was found hanged in a detention centre, five days after arriving in the UK.

The List only details refugees whose deaths have been reported: the toll is almost certainly far higher than 34,361. As international media coverage of the refugee crisis has taught us, many more deaths go undocumented. Migrants are lost at sea, or die in the backs of trucks; they are killed in perilous conditions in camps, or by far-right hate groups; or the extreme stress of their situation leads them to take their own lives.

The List is a stark depiction of the scale of the refugee crisis and the human suffering it has caused over the past 25 years – misery that seems to have no end in sight.

Source: Guardian,

EU States Entitled to Adopt a Return Decision as Soon as an Application for International Protection is Rejected

provided that the return procedure is suspended pending the outcome of an appeal against that rejection

 In today's judgment, the Court of Justice finds that an applicant for international protection falls within the scope of the directive on returning illegally staying non-EU nationals as soon as his application for international protection has been rejected by the responsible authority. In that regard, the Court notes that the authorisation to remain in the territory of the Member State concerned for the purposes of exercising the right to an effective remedy against that rejection decision does not preclude the conclusion that, as soon as that rejection decision is adopted, the stay of the person concerned becomes, in principle, illegal.

The Court points out that the directive is not based on the notion that the illegality of the stay and, accordingly, the applicability of the directive, presupposes that there is no lawful possibility for the non-EU national to remain in the territory of the Member State concerned. The Court also recalls that the main objective of the directive is the establishment of an effective removal and repatriation policy that fully respects the fundamental rights and dignity of the persons concerned. That objective finds specific expression in a provision of the directive which explicitly allows Member States to adopt a decision on the ending of a legal stay together with a return decision, in a single administrative act.

 The Court notes, however, that in relation to a return decision and a possible removal decision, the protection inherent in the right to an effective remedy and in the principle of non-refoulement must be guaranteed by according the applicant for international protection the right to an effective remedy with automatic suspensory effect at least before one judicial body. Subject to strict compliance with that requirement, the mere fact that the stay of the person concerned is categorised as being illegal as soon as his application for international protection has been rejected at first instance by the responsible authority and that a return decision may, therefore, be adopted following that rejection decision or together in a single administrative act, does not infringe the principle of non-refoulement or the right to an effective remedy.
The Court also notes that Member States are required to provide an effective remedy against the decision rejecting the application for international protection, in accordance with the principle of equality of arms, which means, in particular, that all the effects of the return decision must be suspended during the period prescribed for lodging such an appeal and, if such an appeal is lodged, until resolution of the appeal.

Read more: ECtHR,

UN Rights Chief Calls For International Inquiry Into Kashmir Violations

Flagging the launch of the first UN human rights report on the disputed territory separating India and Pakistan, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein noted his intention to ask the Human Rights Council in Geneva to set up a commission of inquiry at its next session, beginning on Monday.  The High Commissioner – whose mandate ends this summer - highlighted what he called the “chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces” and said that the political nature of the conflict had masked the “untold suffering” of millions of people. The main focus of the 49-page report is the use of reported “excessive force” by soldiers in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, although it also examines a range of rights violations in Pakistan-Administered Kashmir. In Indian-Administered Kashmir, the report details how large demonstrations erupted in Jammu and Kashmir two years ago after Indian security forces killed the leader of an armed group.

It notes how “excessive force” led to the deaths of an estimated 145 civilians from mid-2016 to April this year. Victims’ lack of access to justice remains a key challenge in Jammu and Kashmir, the report from the UN human rights office, OHCHR, continues. It details how bespoke legislation gives security personnel “virtual immunity” against legal redress unless the Indian government authorizes it, and says that “there has not been a single prosecution” in the nearly 30 years that the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act has been in force.

Read more: UN News,

Changes to the Immigration Rules - Leave For Children Under Section 67

A significant change to be outlined in the Rules is the creation of a new form of leave for children under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 (the Dubs amendment). This will ensure that those children who do not qualify for refugee or humanitarian protection leave will still be able to remain in the UK long term. Those who qualify for this new form of leave will be able to study, work, access public funds and healthcare and apply for settlement after 5 years, without paying a fee. The change underlines the government’s commitment to fulfil its obligation to the Dubs children and the spirit of the legislation.

 Source: Gov UK,

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 173

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 5 June and 18 June 2018.

Read the full report,

Stand up to Racism - Major Statement Launched To Oppose Far Right In Britain

Read the statement in The Guardian here, sign the statement here

Join the protests on 13 July against Trump and 14 July against the far right

Public meeting with Diane Abbott MP on Saturday 23 June here

Over 50 key MPs, trade unionists, faith leaders and anti-racist campaigners have signed a major statement opposing the growth of the far right in Britain. 

This follows a 15,000 strong ‘free Tommy Robinson’ march that included Robinson supporters, Nazi groups, the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) and the ‘Democratic’ FLA joined by UKIP. The protest saw Nazi salutes, racist abuse directed to anti-racists and violence. 

Robinson, the ex leader of the English Defence League (EDL), and the rest of the far right claim he has been imprisoned as an attempt to suppress ‘free speech’. But Robinson, an ex member of the fascist BNP, and leader of the EDL has a long history of violence, Islamophobia and racism. 

The statement calls for support for the ‘Together Against Trump’ protest on 13 July and for the Stand Up To Racism mobilisation on 14 July against Robinson’s supporters.

Stand Up to Racism has initiated this statement as a much needed response towards developments on the far right. It can be a launchpad to build a response against this threat. 

Please circulate it widely with friends, colleagues, workmates, trade unionists, students and more. And build the demonstration on 13 and 14 July.

A Quick Guide - Extending Your Spouse Visa?

If you are the spouse, or have a spouse, who was granted entry clearance on the basis of their relationship, you will be aware that the visa is issued for a maximum of 33 months. If you and your partner plan to continue living in the UK together, you will need to apply to extend your stay. There are a number of differences between applications for entry clearance and extensions, this article offers some guidance.

Read the full guide: McGill & Co,

Home Office Misuse of Asylum Seekers Private Information – Severe Breach of Data Protection Act

The court today handed down a judgment dismissing the Home Office’s appeal against a finding that publication of unnamed but identifiable asylum seekers’ details was a misuse of private information and a breach of the data protection act, entitling them to a damages payment.  The Court had ‘no hesitation in concluding that the Home Office’s publication of the spreadsheet misused TLU’s and TLV’s private and confidential information.’ 

Lord Justice Gross gave the lead judgment, saying ‘A hallmark of today’s world is the ease with which departments of State and large private organisations can collect, store and utilise vast quantities of data’

Tamsin Allen, representing the successful Respondents to the Appeal with Hugh Tomlinson QC and Sara Mansoori of Marix Chambers, said: This case gives useful guidance about the recoverability of damages where private information is misused and data rights breached accidentally by government departments rather than deliberately by media organisations.  The Court of Appeal has affirmed that the rights protected by the law focus on the values underlyng privacy, such as the right to control information and autonomy of the individual.  These rights apply even if a person is not named, and even if the breach was caused by human error.  Those who entrust their data to government departments can be reassured that they will be compensated if it their privacy rights are infringed. 

Source Bindmans Solicitors,

Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules

The changes include exempting doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 (General) limit, recognising the important contribution that overseas health professionals make to our NHS. This is in response to the particular shortages and pressures facing the NHS at the current time, as well as the fact that the limit has been oversubscribed in each month since December 2017. The change will mean that health sector employers will be able to sponsor doctors and nurses without putting pressure on the limit, freeing up places within the limit for other key roles which contribute to the UK economy and other public services. The changes will be kept under review. The Government will also ask the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review the composition of the Shortage Occupation List.

Today also sees the introduction of a new rule for those transferred to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 (section 67 leave), who do not qualify for Refugee or humanitarian protection leave under the existing Rules. In keeping with our commitments in the legislation, and in line with those granted Refugee or humanitarian protection leave, individuals who qualify for section 67 leave will have the right to study, work, access public funds and healthcare and apply for indefinite leave to remain without paying a fee after five years.

Hansard: 15/06/2018,

Misery as Strategy: The Human Cost of Conflict

In conflicts across the world, levels of displacement and hunger are increasing. The tactics used by leaders, governments and non-state armed groups have much to do with that misery.

From Syria to Yemen, from South Sudan to Venezuela, war and political crisis are causing human anguish on a scale unseen in a generation.

That conflict and crisis take a high human toll is hardly new, of course. Yet the scope of suffering today is striking. The number of people displaced globally by conflict and persecution stood at 65.6 million at the end of 2016, the greatest number since World War II. Figures released earlier this month show that there were 11.8 million new internal displacements in 2017, nearly double the 6.9 million in 2016. The number of people facing acute hunger globally due largely to conflict and instability reached almost 74 million across eighteen countries in 2017. The trend is clear: war and crisis are destroying more lives and livelihoods, pushing more people toward starvation and driving more people from their homes.

First is simply that the last decade has seen an increase in conflict and political violence. While data and definitions vary, and data deficiencies and gaps exist, studies generally point to upward trends.

But deepening human misery comes not only from more war and violence. It also comes from the manner in which many actors – whether leaders, governments or non-state armed groups – are pursuing military and political objectives. Too often these actors gain from human deprivation. Sometimes they deliberately inflict pain on civilians, attacking, forcibly displacing or otherwise controlling populations, including by determining whether, where and how they get access to aid. At other times, they use heavy-handed military or political tactics without attention to the enormous suffering they are causing.

Read more: International Crisis Group,

Proof of Residency EU Citizens Who Apply For British Citizenship

The requirement for applicants who are permanently resident in the UK under the EEA Regulations to provide a document confirming this as part of their naturalisation application was introduced in 2015. The requirement is set out in the application form and accompanying guidance which everyone is advised to read before applying, as well the naturalisation pages on
Where an EEA national does not possess a permanent residence card, then they would still be able to demonstrate that they are free from immigration time restrictions if they have obtained that status through alternative means, such as being granted indefinite leave under the Immigration Rules. However, where they seek to rely on residence under the EEA Regulations then a permanent residence card is required.

The requirement for EEA nationals to provide a document confirming their permanent residence as part of an application to naturalise is in line with the requirements for all other nationals and those EEA nationals who settled under the Immigration Rules, such as Mrs Lockington. Whilst it is regrettable that Mrs Lockington’s application was initially refused, this was promptly addressed and the correct decision reached once brought to the attention of UKVI.