News & Views Monday 3rd December to Sunday 9th December  

Statistical Data: Deportation/Immigration Detention/Asylum Q3 20181)

1) Enforced Returns (Deportations)

The total number of enforced returns from the UK decreased by 18% to 10,190 in the year ending September 2018, compared with 12,380 in the previous year. The fall coincides with changes across the immigration system following Windrush and was driven by falls in:

Enforced returns of people who were in detention prior to their return, which fell by 15% to 8,996, compared with 10,577 in the previous year.

Enforced returns for both EU nationals (down 1,197 to 3,957) and non-EU nationals (down 993 to 6,233); EU nationals accounted for 39% of enforced returns throughout the year and the majority (56%) of these were Romanian and Polish nationals, despite falls compared with the previous year.

Of the enforced returns in the latest period, 24% (2,493) were enforced returns of people who had previously sought asylum.

Voluntary returns for the same period were 15,417

A further 18,213, were refused entry at port and left of their own volition.

Top Destination Countries Forced Returns Q3 July/August/September 2018

Albania         1,687  
Romania        1,320  
Poland           908
Lithuania       543     
Pakistan        542

Charter Flights (Escorts and Removals) Q3 July/August/September 2018

1. Number of males removed

2. Number of females removed

3. Number of escorts

4. Number of flights in total

5. Number flights to each country / number removed to each country

6. Number of children, if any

1. Number of males removed in July, August and September 2018. - 378.

2. Number of females removed in July, August and September 2018. - 16.

3. Number of escorts in July, August and September 2018. - 904.

4. Number of flights in total in July, August and September 2018. - 11.

5. Number flights/ number removed to each country / Q3 July/August/September 2018.

Albania 5 flights 268 Returnees

France/Switzerland 2 flights 28 Returnees

Ghana/Nigeria 2 flights 49 Returnees

Pakistan  2 flights 49 Returnees

6. No children were returned.

Immigration Detention

 At the end of September 2018, there were 2,049 people held in the detention estate, a fall of 41% compared with the same date 12 months earlier to the lowest level since comparable records began in 2009. The fall coincides with the introduction of the new Immigration Bail in Schedule 10 of the Immigration Bill 2016 (15 January 2018), and changes across the immigration system following Windrush.

In the year ending September 2018, 25,061 individuals entered the detention estate, down 9% compared with the previous year, to the lowest level since comparable record began in 2009.

Over the same period, 26,440 left the detention estate (down 5%). Two-thirds of these were detained for less than 29 days, and 4% were detained for more than 6 months. The Home Office would usually only detain someone for more than 6 months if they are a foreign national offender (FNO) or if they claim asylum while in detention.

Of those leaving detention, 44% were returned from the UK to another country (compared with 48% in the previous year) and a further 38% received Secretary of State (SoS) bail.

For the first time, this release includes data on the number of deaths in detention and absconds from the detention estate. These data will be reported on an annual basis.

In 2017, 4 people died in the detention estate while being held solely under immigration powers. This does not include those who died while being detained solely under immigration powers in prison, or after leaving detention.

In 2017, 3 people absconded while being detained solely under immigration powers in detention. This does not include those who absconded from prisons.

3) Support Provided to Asylum Seekers

As at the end of September 2018, 43,383 asylum seekers in the UK were in receipt of support under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, up 10% from the previous year.

Of these, 40,481 (93%) were in receipt of both accommodation and subsistence, and 2,902 (7%) in receipt of subsistence only. The majority (82%) were located in England, with smaller supported populations in Scotland (9%), Wales (6%) and Northern Ireland (2%).

A further 4,064 individuals were in receipt of support under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, up 4% from the previous year.

4) Grants of Asylum Year Ending September 2018 There were 27,966 asylum applications in the UK from main applicants in the year ending 2018, 4% higher than the previous year. However, this remains lower than levels seen in 2015 and 2016 during the European migration crisis. Over the same period, applications to the EU fell by 16%.

In the year ending September 2018, the UK issued 15,170 grants of asylum, alternative forms of protection and resettlement (42%, or 6,394, of which were children). This was a fall of 3% compared with the previous year. This comprised:

6,904 grants of asylum (down 1,250, or 15%), driven predominantly by falls in grants to Eritrean (down 988), Iranian (down 560) and Sudanese (down 458) nationals

2,272 grants of an alternative form of protection (more than doubled), driven predominantly by an increase in grants of humanitarian protection to Libyan nationals (up 742)

5,994 people provided protection under resettlement schemes (down 6%)

The Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) accounted for three-quarters (4,567) of those resettled in the UK in the year ending September 2018. Since it began in 2014, 13,961 people have now been resettled under the scheme. A further 663 were resettled under the Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme (VCRS) over the last year.

Additionally, 6,007 Family reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK (up 18%).

5) Extension of Temporary Stay in the UK

There were 268,004 decisions on applications for extension of temporary stay (including dependants) in the year ending September 2018, 22% more than in the previous year. This was primarily due to increases in those granted extensions for family reasons, which likely reflect the change to the family Immigration Rules requiring individuals to obtain extensions every 2.5 years.

Of these, 242,698 were grants of extensions of temporary stay, 21% more than the previous year, representing a grant rate of 91%.

6) Settlement There were 91,209 decisions on applications for settlement in the UK in the year ending September 2018, 41% more than in the previous year. Of these decisions, 95% resulted in a grant and the number granted settlement was 42% more than in the previous year.

7) EEA Nationals and Their Family Members

In the year ending September 2018, there were 86,384 registration certificates and registration cards issued, 29% less than the previous year. This fall followed the sharp increases seen in the period immediately following the referendum on membership of the EU in June 2016. There was a 46% reduction in registration certificates issued to EU nationals (down 38,085 to 44,403) and a smaller 6% fall in registration documents issued to non-EU nationals (down 2,389 to 41,981).

There were 102,012 documents certifying permanent residence and permanent residence cards issued in the year ending September 2018, 39% less than the previous year.

Following the EU referendum, the number of documents issued to EU nationals increased significantly to a peak of 168,413 in the year ending December 2017. The fall in the most recent period continues a downward trend, but still remains higher than levels seen before the EU referendum.

8) Citizenship

There were 148,737 applications for British citizenship in the year ending September 2018, 8% more than in the previous year.

In the year ending September 2018, applications for citizenship made by EU nationals increased by 32% to 43,545. EU nationals now account for 29% of all citizenship applications, compared with 11% in the year ending September 2016.

Applications made by non-EU nationals were broadly stable in the most recent year at 105,192, following falls in the previous 2 years.


The Seven Year Rule

Many clients with children in the UK will have heard of the seven year rule. They will have been told that they need to wait until their child has been in the UK for seven years. What they often don’t know is why this is and what happens once the child reaches seven years residence.

The reason the seven year threshold is important is because the Home Office and the courts have recognised:

“that over time children start to put down roots and to integrate into life in the UK, to the extent that it may be unreasonable to require the child to leave the UK. Significant weight must be given to such a period of continuous residence.” (Home Office Guidance entitled, Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.0b, dated 22 February 2018, page 75)

UK immigration law therefore allows for a child and their parents to remain in the UK after a period of 7 years’ residence. However, importantly, this is not automatic. There is a further requirement: it must be unreasonable to expect the child to leave the UK. This is an open ended assessment and can be difficult to evidence.

For many parents it will be self-evident that it would not be reasonable to expect their child to leave the UK, to live in a country they have not visited since they were very young or, when the child was born in the UK, which they have never been to. However the Home Office (and the Tribunal) will not simply assume this is the case. Applicants need to provide evidence of their child’s life in the UK - their education, their social life, their integration – and demonstrated their lack of connection to the country they would be returned to if required to leave the UK and the difficulties they would face if returned – language barriers, cultural differences, safety concerns etc.  

Read more: McGill & Co,

Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - December 2018

Deteriorated Situations: Burkina Faso. Niger, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Somaliland, Mozambique, Guinea, Nigeria, Kosovo, Ukraine, Haiti

Conflict Risk Alerts: Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Yemen.

Improved Situations: None

In November, Yemen’s brutal war continued to threaten its people with famine, while talks planned for early December offer a glimmer of hope for reprieve. Boko Haram’s insurgency in north east Nigeria gained intensity, as suspected jihadist groups stepped up attacks in Burkina Faso’s north and east and across the border in south west Niger, and in Mozambique’s far north. In Somalia, Al-Shabaab upped its campaign of violence, while territorial clashes flared between the country’s semi-autonomous Puntland region and Somaliland. In the Central African Republic, fighting between armed groups and violence targeting civilians and peacekeepers surged, and clashes erupted in northern Chad. Fears grew over possible violence around upcoming elections in DR Congo, and troops from neighbouring Burundi attacked a Congo-based Burundian rebel group. Protests turned violent in Haiti and Guinea, while in Bangladesh, election-related violence could increase in coming weeks. In Europe, relations deteriorated between Kosovo and Serbia, while further east tensions spiked following an incident involving Russian and Ukrainian naval vessels in the Azov Sea.

Source: International Crisis Group,

Children’s Rights to British Citizenship Blocked by Good Character Requirement

 This briefing concerns the good character requirement that is applied to people from the age of 10 years for the registration of statutory rights to British citizenship. The requirement has wrongly blocked hundreds of British children from affirming their rights to British citizenship, and the security and sense of belonging that comes with it.1 Black and minority ethnic children and children in care are significantly more likely to be denied their British citizenship rights by this requirement, which was introduced into British nationality law by the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 without examination of the impact it would have on children or the imperative reasons why it was not included when Parliament passed the British Nationality Act 1981.

The good character requirement for registration should be removed from the legislation. British children should not be denied their citizenship by this provision. Parliament’s original intentions in 1981 should be fulfilled.

What is the issue?  
Children as young as 10, born in the UK or brought to the UK at a young age, are blocked from affirming their rights to British citizenship because the Home Office considers them not to be of good character.

Children affected are:

Born and grown up in the UK, but who did not acquire British citizenship at the time of their birth because neither of their parents was British or settled in the UK (i.e. had indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence); or brought to the UK at a young age and grown up here.

 Read more:

Asylum Seekers 'Too Afraid' to Seek NHS Care

Asylum seekers who need NHS care have been left in “considerable fear” because of the government’s “hostile environment” policies, according to the human rights watchdog. In a highly critical report the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) says people have gone without medical help since ministers forced the NHS in England to impose upfront charges to access care last year. That has had a “chilling effect” on the readiness of asylum seekers in Scotland and Wales to seek the NHS’s help, even though neither country imposes charges, the EHRC said. Pregnant and disabled asylum seekers in particular have been unable to get treatment, or have been too scared to seek it, as a direct consequence of both the charges and also fears that their data would be shared with the Home Office.

The commission has also urged ministers to ditch their insistence on charging refused asylum seekers in England for healthcare, in order to ensure that no one’s health suffers. Labour, the Liberal Democrats and a number of health charities have already called for the policy to be suspended. “Everyone should have access to good-quality healthcare, regardless of who they are and where they come from,” said Rebecca Hilsenrath, the watchdog’s chief executive. “People seeking and refused asylum are likely to have particular health needs because of past distressing experiences and the traumatic effects of fleeing to a different country. “It’s therefore crucial that they are able to fully and easily access healthcare and that their rights are protected by keeping healthcare separate from immigration enforcement. This is just about common humanity,” she added.

Read more: Denis Campbell, Guardian,

Support for Absconders and Others Who Have Withdrawn Their Asylum Claims

Occasionally a person will either ask the Home Office (HO) to withdraw their asylum claim (an express withdrawal) or, through their conduct, indicate they no longer want the HO to consider their asylum claim (an implicit withdrawal). Whichever applies, the consequences to their asylum support entitlement are severe. Withdrawing an asylum claim will generally mean that the person is no longer an asylum-seeker or a refused asylum-seeker so the only form of support they can obtain is Schedule 10 (sch10) support1.

This briefing explains:-
Under what circumstances a person’s asylum claim is considered withdrawn,
Why, as a general rule, for support purposes, they are not asylum-seekers or refused asylum-seekers, and
When a person might be able to make applications for s95 or s4 support anyway2.

The briefing also looks briefly at sch10 support and our longer sch10 briefing should be consulted for more information3.

Read more:  Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP),

Civil Rights 'Under Serious Attack' Across The Globe

Nearly six in 10 countries are seriously restricting people’s freedoms, according to a new report that warns of a growing repression around the world. According to the study, there is little or no space for activism in countries such as Eritrea and Syria, and also worrying signs in countries where democracy is considered well established, such as France, the US, Hungary and India. The report by Civicus Monitor, an alliance of civil society groups, found that fundamental rights – such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly – were under attack in 111 of 196 countries. Countries were also found to be passing repressive laws and using new technologies to control public debate. In China, censorship using new technologies had reached unprecedented levels since President Xi Jinping took power, the report warned.

Read more: Rebecca Ratcliffe, Guardian,

Immigration Detainee Killed Himself After Self-Harming

A Slovenian waiter killed himself while being held in an immigration detention centre, an inquest jury has found. Branko Zdravkovic, 43, had self-harmed while in detention and had problems with alcohol, Bournemouth coroner’s court was told. The jury returned a verdict of suicide. Although detention centre staff recognised his vulnerability and put him on self-harm watch, no report was sent to the Home Office flagging up suicidal intentions, as required under guidance known as rule 35 (2) . The assistant coroner, Stephen Nicholls, gave the Home Office 14 days to provide further evidence relating to concerns identified about non-compliance with rule 35 practices and other procedures around self-harm among immigration detainees.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,