News & Views Monday 25th November to Sunday 1st December 2019


270 Million Migrants, Send Home A Staggering $689 Billion

In its latest global report, IOM noted that the overall figure represents just a tiny fraction of the world’s population, although it is a 0.1 per cent increase on the level indicated in its last report, published two years ago. “This figure remains a very small percentage of the world’s population (at 3.5 per cent), meaning that the vast majority of people globally (96.5 per cent) are estimated to be residing in the country in which they were born,” IOM’s Global Migration Report 2020 said. According to the UN agency, more than half of all international migrants (141 million) live in Europe and North America. An estimated 52 per cent are male, and nearly two-thirds of all migrants are looking for work; that’s around 164 million people.

India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants, with 17.5 million living abroad, followed by Mexico (11.8 million) and China (10.7 million). Other findings indicate that the number of migrant workers declined slightly in high income countries - from 112.3 million to 111.2 million - but increased elsewhere. Upper middle-income countries saw the biggest increase, from 17.5 million to 30.5 million. Linked to this, international remittances also increased to $689 billion in 2018, IOM said, the top beneficiaries being India ($78.6 billion), China ($67.4 billion), Mexico ($35.7 billion) and the Philippines ($34 billion). The United States remained the top remittance-issuer, at $68 billion, followed by the United Arab Emirates ($44.4 billion) and Saudi Arabia ($36.1 billion).

Read more: UN News,

Home Office Challenged Over ‘Shameless Profiteering’ Over Registration Fees

The Home Office has been accused of ‘shameless profiteering’ in a legal challenge to the one-off fee of more than a thousand pounds to register a child as a British citizen. The case, which begins a three-day hearing in the high court today, has been brought by two children (known as A and O) and could benefit estimated 120,000 people in the UK.

According to the Project For Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC), the legal charity behind the judicial review, the government is making £640 profit for each child registered – it reckons that the administrative processing cost is only £372 per application.

‘Tens of thousands of children who were born in this country are being charged exorbitant fees to register their citizenship rights,’ commented PRCBC’s director Solange Valdez-Symonds. ‘The futures of these children are slowly and silently being chipped away. Such barefaced profiteering from children by the Home Office is utterly shameful. Children’s rights are not for sale. We hope the High Court challenge will rightly bring an end to this injustice.’

The campaigners are calling on the Home Office to set the registration fee at ‘no more than the administrative cost’,  to introduce a fee waiver for children who cannot afford the fee; and provide a fee exemption for children in local authority care.

Read more Jon Robins, Justice Gap,

EU Children Can Be Lawfully Resident in the UK Without Exercising Treaty Rights

The Upper Tribunal judgment in MS (British citizenship; EEA appeals) Belgium [2019] UKUT 356 (IAC) confirms that certain EU citizen children in the UK can be considered lawfully resident for the purposes of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, even if they (or their EU citizen parents or carers) have not exercised treaty rights and have no official Home Office documentation.

MS appealed against the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse to revoke a deportation order made against him under the EEA Regulations 2016. He was successful at the First-tier Tribunal. The Secretary of State appealed to the Upper Tribunal where four separate hearings followed in which I represented MS, instructed by Duncan Lewis. The Upper Tribunal allowed the Secretary of State’s error of law appeal in MS (appealable decisions; PTA requirements; anonymity) [2019] UKUT 216 (see my previous write-up here). It decided that MS had no in-country right of appeal against the refusal to revoke the deportation order against him on EU law grounds. Any such appeal had to be pursued from abroad. However, because the Secretary of State’s decision letter dealt with Article 8 as well, the First-tier Tribunal had erred by failing to address MS’s human rights claim. The decision of the First-tier Tribunal was set aside with directions for it to be re-made by the Upper Tribunal.

Read more: Freemovement,

Exclusion from Protection for Family Members of Recognized Refugees

Refugees are protected by the principle of non-refoulment, which prevents them from being sent back to the country where they fear persecution. Non-refoulment, however, does not apply in circumstances where a person with refugee status poses a serious threat to society in the host country. Two recent cases give examples of strategies employed by the Home Office to try and revoke the refugee protection of family members of a person with refugee status in the UK, and thereafter to try and deport them on the basis of them constituting a danger to the community.

In the case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v KN (DRC) [2019] EWCA Civ 1665, KN was granted refugee status as a dependent child of his father, who had escaped from DRC under the Mobutu regime. Throughout his adult life, KN had received multiple custodial sentences including a period of imprisonment for conspiracy to rob. The Court of Appeal reviewed the interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Refugee Convention and the UK Immigration Rules and concluded that the Secretary of State was permitted to revoke the refugee status of the family member if the Home Office was able to prove that the individual satisfied a two-limb test. Firstly, the Home Office had to prove that the circumstances which had given rise to the sponsor’s refugee status had ceased to exist. Secondly, (if that was proved), the Home Office had also to demonstrate that there were no other circumstances which would make deportation incompatible with the Refugee Convention.

In the case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v JS (Uganda) [2019] EWCA Civ 1670, JS was granted refugee status as a dependent child of his mother, who had feared persecution in Uganda on account of her imputed political opinions. In 2013 JS was convicted and sentenced for an attempted rape and required to sign the sex offenders’ register for life. The Court of Appeal ruled that someone granted refugee status through the Family Reunion Policy, and therefore not in their own right, was not protected by the Refugee Convention, because they themselves did not satisfy the definition of a refugee under article 1A (2). The Court stated that even if such a person were somehow to be regarded as protected by the Refugee Convention, the Secretary of State was entitled to decide that their status as a refugee “could and should” be treated as having ceased, because the circumstances which had given rise to the sponsor’s refugee status had ceased to exist. In this case, JS’ mother could no longer claim a well-founded fear of prosecution in Uganda.

These cases show that there are provisions in place for the Home Office to seek to take away refugee status and to deport family members of recognized refugees in circumstances of serious criminal conduct.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration,

Unlawful: Imposition of Study Restriction On Individuals Who Are ‘Appeals Rights Exhausted’

On 20 November 2019, the Home Office conceded in the settlement of two claims for judicial review that it had acted unlawfully in imposing a study restriction as a condition of bail on two individuals simply because they had failed in their initial asylum claims and exhausted their appeal rights. The concession has come less than a week before the substantive hearing due to be held on 26 November 2019.

In settling the claims, the Home Office has agreed to review and revise its Immigration Bail Guidance, conceding that:
There is no requirement to impose a study restriction in all cases where a person is ‘appeal rights exhausted’ (ARE); A decision to impose any bail conditions, including a study restriction, must be made on the basis of the person’s individual circumstances, conduct and compliance; and That the ‘Quick Guide on Usage’ in the Immigration Bail Guidance is not intended to direct the imposition of a study restriction in all cases falling with a particular category – for example, individuals who are ‘appeals rights exhausted’.

Solicitor Hannah Baynes comments: “We have seen first-hand from our clients the positive impact that being able to study has had on them, not only in terms of gaining important knowledge and skills to enable them to pursue their career aspirations, but also the impact on their mental health and emotional well-being. The imposition of study restrictions singles out already vulnerable asylum seeking students from their course-mates, making them feel inferior and of less value on account of their immigration status. We are very pleased that the Home Office has recognised that they were incorrectly applying the law in imposing study restrictions on ‘appeals rights exhausted’ individuals and have agreed to amend the Immigration Bail Policy as soon as possible to reflect this. We hope that this will prevent more students having to stop or delay commencing their university courses, missing exams and important lectures as a result”.

Read more: Gherson Immigration,

Home Office Unlawfully Imprisoned Asylum Seekers, Supreme Court Rules

The Home Office “falsely imprisoned” many asylum seekers who are now entitled to damages for their loss of liberty at the hands of the government, five supreme court judges have ruled. Thousands of asylum seekers are likely to be affected, many survivors of torture, trafficking and other forms of persecution. Their compensation could run into millions of pounds. The people implicated in the ruling were locked up between 1 January 2014, when an EU law known as Dublin III came into force, and 15 March 2017, when UK regulations changed.

Under the Dublin regulations, asylum seekers should claim asylum in the first EU country they reach, with the receiving country checking their fingerprints against a European database. If they are found to have first claimed asylum in another EU country they can be sent back to that country to have their claim processed. Many of those people for whom the Home Office found a fingerprint match in another EU country were locked up in preparation for removal to that country. However, under the Dublin III rules only those deemed to be at “significant risk of absconding” should be incarcerated before removal.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

NHS Surcharge Hike For Foreign Healthcare Staff: A Step Too Far?

It has been reported that the government plans to charge foreign NHS staff £625 a year to use the NHS, as well as increasing the Immigration Health Surcharge from £400 to £625 for all non-EU migrant workers. In addition, the government intends to extend the same surcharge to all EU citizens coming to the UK after Brexit.

The Immigration Health Surcharge, or “IHS”, is an annual charge payable by each member of a migrant’s family to enable them to use the NHS. The announced increase in this charge has raised concerns for the total bill a foreign nurse wanting to work in the NHS and migrating to the UK with their family will have to pay. Under the above proposals, a family consisting of the nurse in question and their spouse and two children will have to pay some £2,500 per year. (Note that the average annual salary for nurses is £23,137 and junior doctors from £27,000 to £46,000).

Organisations representing doctors and nurses have warned this policy risks worsening the staffing crisis within the NHS and discouraging foreign health professionals from coming to the UK even further. All this at a time when the NHS is suffering from the effects of widespread and long-term staff shortages and preparing for a winter many have said will put NHS resources under incredible strain.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration,

Gay Nigerian Refugee Wins Appeal Against Conviction

A gay Nigerian refugee who was jailed after trying to seek asylum in Canada by travelling using another person’s passport has won an appeal against his conviction. The Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday (14 November) that Richard Idahosa had not been properly informed about his rights as a “refugee in transit” when he pleaded guilty to possessing an identity document with improper intent in 2013. People who arrive in the UK directly from a country where their life or freedom is threatened have a defence against this offence under section 31 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. The 54-year-old, who was granted refugee status by the Home Office in 2015, was sentenced to 15 months in prison which he has now long since served.

However, his criminal record has continued to cause him difficulties in obtaining suitable employment in the UK. The court heard how Idahosa, originally from Benin City, lawfully travelled to the UK on a tourist visa in April 2013 after his sexuality had been revealed and he no longer found it safe to remain in Nigeria – where same-sex conduct is banned.

wo months later he attempted to travel to Canada to be reunited with his partner, Abu, where he intended to seek asylum. He was stopped at Gatwick Airport having been caught using a British passport belonging to a person named Sunday Egbefe Afigod. Idahosa could not travel to Canada using his own passport because, unlike British nationals, Nigerians must apply for a visa while still in their home country.
Read more:  Human Rights Info,

BB (Albania) v Home Secretary

1. The Appellant is a citizen of Albania whose date of birth is recorded as 25 the September 1994. She made application for international protection on the basis of her being a victim of domestic violence in her home country.

2. The factual matrix in this case is not in dispute. She was in an abusive relationship. She did not marry the man chosen for her by her father but rather became pregnant consequent upon her relationship with another man.

3. Her application for international protection was refused and she appealed. Her appeal was heard by Judge of the First-tier Tribunal Cope. He dismissed the appeal. Not content with that decision, by Notice dated 5th March 2019 the Appellant made application for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal and on 26th March 2019 Judge Loke granted it.

4. The grounds in short submitted that the judge placed too much weight on the case of DM (sufficiency of protection - PSG - women - domestic violence) Albania CG [2004] UKIAT 00059, that case being some fifteen years old, and more particularly by giving weight to a country report which had not been included in the bundles of either party in circumstances in which in particular the Appellant's representative had not been able to make submissions.

22. Apart from the level of education of the Appellant herself which is at university level, those factors all weigh in the Appellant's favour insofar as she seeks to succeed in this appeal.

23. The country guidance cases also, contrary to the submission made on behalf of the Secretary of State, do suggest that there is a real risk that where someone relocates still they may be found, and even if it is the case that there is no sufficient evidence that the Appellant's family are actively pursuing her, there is the real risk (supported by the country guidance) that she would be seen and her presence in the country would come to the attention of her family who, as I have already observed, are from a conservative area and take the view that her conduct has dishonored them with the risk that she might then be pursued.

24.  So it is that she would, I find, be living in fear of harm not only to herself but also to her child in circumstances in which she would be disadvantaged in obtaining work, not least because she has a young child to look after and no family network to look to for support, which is an important component of survival in Albania. The issue of a support network appears to be of particular significance and was a matter which concerned the Upper Tribunal, particularly in the case of TD and AD.

25. As the Courts have observed, resolving the issue as to whether or not it would be unduly harsh is not an easy task. Ultimately it is a finding of fact, but having regard to the submissions, the country guidance cases and the background material to which I have been referred, and noting the very tender years of the baby, noting that the Appellant would return with little if any support, I find that it would, even having regard to the norms of Albania, be unduly harsh to expect this Appellant internally to relocate.

26. As that was the sole issue in this case, it follows that the Appellant is to be recognised as a refugee. The question of humanitarian protection does not arise in this case and necessarily the Appellant succeeds under Articles 3 and 8 of the ECHR.

Notice of Decision: The decision of Judge Cope is set aside having contained a material error of law. The decision of the First-tier Tribunal is remade such that the Appellant succeeds on refugee and human rights grounds.

Read the full document,

CoA Restores Decision of First-Tier Tribunal in Deportation Case Involving EU National

The Court of Appeal in Terzaghi v SSHD restored the decision of the First-Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) who had allowed an Italian national’s appeal against an order to deport him from the UK. The appeal concerned the protection from deportation regime for EU nationals in Directive 2004/38/EC (the so-called Citizens Directive).

Mr Terzaghi had come to the UK at the age of 9 and had lived here for more than 10 years prior to the deportation decision. His appeal against that decision involved the question of whether he was entitled to the highest level of protection (“enhanced protection”) against deportation. The Court of Appeal considered whether the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) had properly concluded that his integrative links with the UK had not been broken despite periods of imprisonment. The FTT judge had found that he continued to be integrated because he had come to the UK as a child, been educated here, spoke fluent English, had gained qualifications after leaving school and had strong family links in the UK.

The Court of Appeal rejected the Secretary of State’s argument that it had no jurisdiction to consider whether the Upper Tribunal had wrongly set aside the FTT’s determination in its ‘error of law’ determination (as opposed to a second substantive ‘continuation’ determination). The Court found that, once the Upper Tribunal conclusively disposes of an appeal, all aspects of its decision can be challenged on appeal, including errors in purporting to identify an error of law in the FTT’s decision and procedural failures such as a failure to allow a party to address relevant points.

Looking at the substance of the challenge, the Court found that the FTT decision disclosed no error of law and the FTT Judge had properly analyzed the principles relevant to integration in EU law deportation cases. The Court found that it was not sufficient for the Upper Tribunal to disagree with the FTT Judge’s assessment of the evidence without identifying an error in the FTTJ’s approach. It set aside the decision of the Upper Tribunal and restored the decision of the FTT.

Read more: Doughty Street Chambers,