News & Views Monday 19th March to Sunday 25th March 2018  

Frontex Charter Flights

Up to the 20th March this year 2018, a total of 121 return operations have taken place, which involved 2.695 people who were returned to the following countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, FYROM, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Kosovo, Lebanon, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Is Your Child A British Citizen?

UK nationality law is highly complex and each potential application for registration of a minor as a British citizen requires thorough consideration of the child’s and their parents’ current nationality status and immigration history. As explained below, your child may already be a British citizen without you realising it. In which case, your child does not need to register as a British citizen and can apply to the British Passport Office for their first British passport.

Automatic Acquisition of British Citizenship
There are two ways that a child can automatically be a British citizen: by ‘descent’ and ‘otherwise than by descent’. If your child was born in the UK and at the time of their birth either of the parents were British citizens or settled in the UK (meaning that they had indefinite leave to enter or remain, permanent residence or were EEA citizens), your child was automatically born a British citizen otherwise than by descent and there is no need to apply for registration.

Similarly, if your child was not born in the UK but either parent was a British citizen before the child was born (i.e. they were born in the UK or have registered or naturalised as a British citizen), your child was automatically born a British citizen by descent

Acquisition of British Citizenship by ‘Entitlement’ and ‘Discretion’
If your child was not born British, they may be entitled to registration through birth or by satisfying the criteria for registration at discretion.  An application to the Home Office for registration as a British citizen is required under these circumstances. There are a number of provisions under the British Nationality Act 1981 (BNA 1981), pursuant to which your child would have the right to become British. For example, if your child was born in the UK and either parent became settled or a British citizen whilst the child was still under 18, they would have the right to registration.

Furthermore, if your child was neither born British nor has any entitlement under the BNA 1981, the Home Office has the discretion to register your child, provided that they meet the criteria for discretionary application for registration. The Home Office will usually register your child if they and both parents live in the UK, have indefinite leave to enter or remain or EEA permanent residence and at least one parent is also applying to become British or is already British with the other parent unlikely to leave the UK, i.e. is settled in the UK, and where the Home Office is satisfied that your child’s future lies in the UK.

It is important to note that even if your child is not British at birth, has no entitlement to registration under the BNA 1981 and does not meet the usual discretionary application requirements, the Home Office has a wide discretion to register any child where the case is exceptionally compelling or compassionate. Such applications are particularly complex and in the majority of cases will require detailed documentary evidence to be submitted in support of the application.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration,

Good Character Requirement Successfully Challenged at High Court

The good character requirement is also imposed on adults applying for naturalisation as British citizens by section 6 of the Act. Section 41A(1) of the Act provides that: “An application for registration of an adult or young person as a British citizen under section … 3(1) … must not be granted unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that the adult or young person is of good character”.

In the case of R (DC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 399 (Admin), the Claimant had a turbulent childhood with the involvement of social services and criminal authorities. The Claimant disclosed his criminal history (which included offences of robbery, handling stolen goods and a reprimand received for possession of cannabis). He had also disclosed the circumstances surrounding his childhood, claiming that these had influenced this criminal behaviour.

However, the Claimant’s application for registration as a British Citizen was refused because the Home Secretary was not satisfied that he was a person of good character. The claimant successfully challenged the decision by submitting a judicial review claim to the High Court.

Although it was accepted by both parties that “…it is for an applicant to show that he satisfies the requirement of good character”, the court ruled that "whilst criminal behaviour may in some cases make the outcome of the good character test inevitable, […] the test involves looking at the whole of an applicant's character and not merely asking whether they have a criminal record". The Court stated that the reasons given by the Home Office to refuse the Claimant’s application “…were insufficient to show that there had been a proper exercise of the defendant’s discretion”.

The High Court's findings in this case confirm that when the Home Office considers whether an applicant meets the good character requirement, they should not look at any potentially negative factors in isolation but should take all other personal circumstances of the applicant into account.

Finally, it is important to note that if you are considering applying to register as a British Citizen or become British by naturalization, you should always seek professional advice if you are uncertain about what is covered by the good character requirement, or if you have doubts that your particular personal factors might have a negative affect on your application.
Read more: Gherson Immigration,

A Hidden Face of War - Maternal Mortality

Countless reports show that time and again women and adolescent girls are at higher risk of sexual and gender-based violence during and after conflict – putting at risk their reproductive health. With health infrastructure destroyed and information about sexual and reproductive health missing, they may also face a higher risk of dying due to pregnancy-related complications.

Over half of the world’s maternal deaths occur in countries torn apart by armed violence and in fragile states. According to recent estimates, four out of the ten countries with the highest rates of maternal mortality face deadly conflict: the Central African Republic, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Somalia. Two are at risk of deadly violence or civil war: the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. And three others have been marked by devastating wars: Sierra Leone, Chad and Liberia. In Afghanistan, despite years of international aid, the maternal mortality ratio is still at 396 deaths per 100,000 live births or, according to recent studies, possibly twice as high. Each context carries its own dynamics with a set of social, cultural and economic factors at play. Yet, like battlefield deaths, maternal deaths are for the most part preventable.

Read more: Isabelle Arradon, International Crisis Group,

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 167

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 7 March and 20 March 2018.

Turkey’s 18-Month State of Emergency has led to Profound Human Rights Violations

The United Nations on Tuesday 20th March 2018, called on Turkey to end its 18-month-old state of emergency, saying that the routine extension of emergency powers has resulted in “profound” human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people and may have lasting impact on the country’s socio-economic fabric.

The United Nations on Tuesday called on Turkey to end its 18-month-old state of emergency, saying that the routine extension of emergency powers has resulted in “profound” human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people and may have lasting impact on the country’s socio-economic fabric.

“One of the most alarming findings of the report […] is how Turkish authorities reportedly detained some 100 women who were pregnant or had just given birth, mostly on the grounds that they were ‘associates’ of their husbands, who are suspected of being connected to terrorist organizations,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a news release announcing the findings. “Some were detained with their children and others violently separated from them. This is simply outrageous, utterly cruel, and surely cannot have anything whatsoever to do with making the country safer,” he added.
Read more: United Nations,

New Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC895)

On 15 March 2018 the Home Office presented a brief new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC895) to Parliament. The changes, accompanied by a short explanatory note, will come into force on 06 April 2018. This article will examine the most notable of these changes, and their effects on certain routes to entry clearance and settlement.

As outlined in the explanatory note, the purposes of the new changes to the Immigration Rules are to:

Ensure that an asylum claim can be deemed inadmissible, and not be substantively considered by the UK, if another EU Member tate has already granted the claimant international protection.

    Make changes and clarification to Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules relating to family life

On the asylum change, paragraph 345(A)(i) of the rules has been changed from:

‘An asylum claim will be declared inadmissible and will not be substantively considered if the Secretary of State determines that one of the following conditions are met:

    i) Another Member state has granted refugee status.'


‘An asylum claim will be declared inadmissible and will not be substantively considered if the Secretary of State determines that one of the following conditions are met

i) Another Member state has granted refugee status or subsidiary protection.’

The explanatory memorandum says the change is in line with both the UK’s established policy on safe third countries, and the EU’s objective in reducing the secondary movements of those granted international protection.

Family Life (Appendix FM)
Section R-ILRP.1.1.(d) of Appendix FM has been slightly amended. The changes made to Appendix FM are to clarify that those on a 5-year route to settlement must meet all eligibility requirements, including the immigration status, financial and English language requirements, at every application stage including where indefinite leave to remain is sought after five years, in order to be granted leave.

Source McGill & cCo,

Grim Milestones, Forgotten Disasters, and Paying for Peace

Syria entered its eighth year of war this week, a grim anniversary marked by a rising civilian death toll and the complete failure of a UN-demanded ceasefire. Besieged Eastern Ghouta has made the headlines of late. As thousands flee their homes in that Damascus enclave, though, it’s worth remembering that the UN puts the total number of displaced inside the country at a staggering 6.1 million. Most of them don't sleep in the neat, tented camps you might see in pictures; their ‘homes’ are unfinished buildings, schools, and mosques.

Another day not worth celebrating for most in the Middle East arrives later this month: On 26 March 2015, a Saudi Arabian-led coalition began bombing Yemen in an attempt to oust Houthi rebels from the capital. While Yemen’s war has never interested the world like Syria’s (check out this oldie-but-goodie for some musings on why), the country in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe so severe – more than 22 million people need food, medicine, and other aid – that someone really ought to take notice.   

Is the strongest earthquake to strike Papua New Guinea in almost a century slipping under the humanitarian radar? Authorities and aid group still don’t know the full scale of the damage, more than two weeks after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake jolted the country’s remote highlands. The quake and a series of aftershocks triggered landslides that blocked main access roads, wiped out mountainside villages, and wrecked health clinics, hospitals, and water supplies. Emergency responders fear food shortages and the spread of disease will soon magnify the disaster, while the volatility adds new risks for women in a country that already had dangerously high rates of sexual violence against women.

Can peace be bought in South Sudan?

Once again mediators are trying to convince South Sudan’s warring parties, of which there are many, to return to the negotiating table to end a devastating conflict that began in late 2013 and that could well return famine to the country this year. Once again, enticements are being proffered in the form of senior administrative posts, but for some observers, including think this is a recipe for continued disaster. “Buying off violent elites with government posts simply ignores the root causes of the conflict as well as the concerns of ordinary people,” he warned, adding that the strategy tends to preclude tackling justice and accountability, without which sustainable peace is impossible. Such short-termism is “doomed to fail… anathema to democracy and allows dictatorship,” he wrote. A more effective way forward, he suggests, would be to remove the rewards of war by cutting off the financial channels that fund it and by more vigorously enforcing a range of sanctions.

Read more: IRIN,