News & Views Monday 5th August to Sunday 11th August 2019


Prime Minister’s Turn on UK Immigration Policy

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who took up office on 24 July, has stated in the House of Commons that he plans to reverse his predecessor’s infamous pledge to reduce the number of migrants coming to the UK to the “tens of thousands”. Mr Johnson’s official spokesman clarified that the new PM “wasn’t interested in a numbers game” about annual targets in net migration.

The Prime Minister also pressed on wanting the UK to adopt a Points Based System similar to the one in operation in Australia. Mr Johnson’s statement last week continued: “…and today I will actually deliver on those promises - I will ask the Migration Advisory Committee to conduct a review of that system as the first step in a radical rewriting of our immigration system. I am convinced that we can produce a system that the British public can have confidence in.”

The Prime Minister was alluding to a less stringent immigration policy as he detaches himself from his predecessor’s legacy. He may now effectively take the initiative on changes to immigration policies which he did not have the power to do as Mayor of London. In particular, the possibility of granting an amnesty to “perhaps half a million people”.

Read more: Gherson Immigration:

Government Relaxes Shortage Occupation List Requirements

The Shortage Occupation List (“SOL”) is a list which details roles where there are not enough resident workers to fill vacancies in the UK. Currently, employers recruiting for these roles do not have to carry out the Resident Labour Market Test (“RLMT”) before they offer the role to a non-EU national. The Migration Advisory Committee (“MAC”) are currently reviewing the SOL, which was last reviewed in 2013. The MAC have confirmed that the current SOL may be extended to include Health occupations as well as engineering, science, digital and IT, Education, Artistic and creative, skilled chefs and architects.

The expansion of this list suggests that total employment will increase from 1% to around 9%. These changes will impact numerous employers, given that Brexit is creeping up on us all, and the end of EU free movement will therefore restrict the supply of EU workers. In light of this, companies are currently seeking to recruit international workers under the Points Based System. Hiring under the Shortage Occupation List allows employers not only to be exempt from the RLMT but also to be exempt from the minimum salary threshold that the migrant is expected to meet if they were to eventually settle in the UK. In addition, visa fees are lower and SOL roles are given priority allocation in the event that the cap limit is reached.

Currently, no official date has been provided for when this new SOL will take effect, although this is most likely to be confirmed in the next Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules to be issued by the Home Office.
Watch this space for more information! There will be many changes due to the new immigration processes that the newly appointed Prime Minister, Boris Johnson intends to implement after Brexit.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration,

Home Secretary v Ahmed [H]

?1. In this decision the Appellant is referred to as the Secretary of State and the Respondent is referred to as the Claimant.

2. The Claimant a national of Iraq date of birth 10 November 1985 was subject to a deportation order made on 13 March 2014 and appealed against that decision. The Secretary of State's decision to refuse a human rights based claim was made on 8 August 2017.His appeal against that decision was dismissed by First-tier Tribunal Judge Aziz, (the Judge) on 25 April 2018.Permission to appeal was given on 16 May 2018.

3. The Claimant had entered the United Kingdom clandestinely on 11 September 2002 and claimed asylum about one week later. His asylum claim was refused and he was served with removal directions which lead to an appeal which was dismissed and he became appeal rights exhausted. He was convicted at Worcester Crown Court on 23 March 2005 and sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment in a youth offender's institution. There was no appeal against either conviction or sentence.

4. The Claimant applied for indefinite leave to remain in January 2007 which was refused in 2007 and he became an absconder. Deportation documentation was sent and on 11 November 2011 the Claimant responded. Ultimately the decision was made after appeals and the deportation order was signed on 13 March 2014. The Claimant sought Assisted Voluntary Return in May 2014 but that was rejected. The Claimant applied for voluntary return and the application was similarly rejected in 2015. Further representations were made during 2016 and 2017 but the Claimant has at all material times remained in the United Kingdom.

5. The basis of his human rights based application was his claim to family life with children and a stepchild in the United Kingdom. His circumstances were extensively reviewed in the decision of the Judge his appeal and allowed it on Article 8 ECHR grounds on the basis that it would be disproportionate for the Claimant to be separated from his family particularly the two British national children (RA and RI) with whom he and his British national partner/wife, Ms [M], lived. It was not argued that it would be reasonable for the family to relocate to Iraq. The judge had concluded that it would be unduly harsh to do so. There was a third child X who did not feature significantly in the appeal or its outcome.

6. Essentially the Secretary of State's complaint was that the Judge had failed to carry out the assessment of the Claimant's claim by reference to the Claimant's conduct in the United Kingdom and its relevance to the assessment of the circumstances which might be characterised or were characterised as unduly harsh consequences. Mr Jarvis argued that quite simply the Judge had failed to set the Claimant's history properly as the context bearing in mind the deportation decision. Mr Vokes argued that in fact by reference to the Judge's decision he had done as much as needed to be done to properly assess the Claimant's claim and had properly applied the law in relation to the decision.

7. I reached the view that the Judge had failed to properly set in context the public interest in the Claimant's removal. In particular the Judge seems to have become fixed on the point that following those earlier decisions set out in the immigration history when the Claimant was appeal rights exhausted that the Secretary of State should have removed him and that the failure to remove him enabled the Claimant to diminish the significance of the public interest.

8. Mr Vokes argued that the impact of the Claimant being required to leave in terms of its impact on the Claimant's partner a UK national and the two UK national children was so significant that it showed the Judge was right in concluding that separation and its consequences would have unduly harsh impacts on the Claimant's partner and all his children. It was accepted by the Secretary of State that it would not be reasonable and it would be unduly harsh for the Claimant's partner and children, RA and RI, to move to Iraq. Mr Vokes argued, by reference to the decision, as much as needed to be done was done in terms of assessing the impact of the interference in family life and its effects upon the best interests of RA and RI. The child X also a British national fathered by the Claimant from a previous relationship did not feature largely because of the limited contact that was being exercised between the Claimant and X. The Judge concluded that insofar as X was concerned the Judge did not find that the unduly harsh considerations were met.

9. It seemed to me that read as a whole, on the evidence that was advanced, that there were deficiencies in the Judge's decision and in his analysis but that on the evidence the Claimant's position were the matter to be looked at by another Tribunal would essentially be the same and the outcome was reasonably likely to be the same. I agree with Mr Jarvis that the Judge understated whilst addressing it, the public interest and in the light of the case of RLP [2017] UKUT 330 (IAC) the Tribunal President Mr Justice McCloskey in the head note summarised the position as follows: "In all cases where the public interest favouring deportation of an immigrant is potent and pressing, even egregious and unjustified delay on the part of the Secretary of State in the underlying decision making processes in unlikely to tip the balance in the immigrant's favour in the proportionality exercise under Article 8(2) ECHR."

10. I concluded that it remains a fact sensitive and specific matter and the decision also relied upon of Shou Lin Xu, an unreported Upper Tribunal decision from 2014, is of some interest because Upper Tribunal Judge Gill said "It also follows that, in the event that consideration of the relevant Immigration Rule and guidance produced a negative answer, the rationale of the Supreme Court ... in Patel v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] UKSC 72 applies, that is, the Secretary of State is entitled to proceed on the basis that those unlawfully in the UK will leave of their own accord; she is not obliged to remove an individual or issue a removal direction."

11. It seems to me that was entirely correct and that diminished to a degree the consequences for the Claimant of his overstaying by choice and his continued flouting of UK immigration controls. This was plainly applicable to himself but it does not diminish the impact that his removal may have in terms of its effect upon his children. To what extent his partner was in knowledge of his immigration status and circumstances perhaps to that point matters not but plainly once again it is not an absolute position.

12. I conclude therefore that the Judge's decision had contained errors of law but that I do not find them material and that any other Tribunal properly considering the same findings of fact, which were not substantively disputed, would in all likelihood come to the same conclusion.

Notice Of Decision: The Original Tribunal's decision stands. The appeal of the Secretary of State is dismissed.

SSHD Fails to Consider Mitigating Factors Give Sufficient Reasons for Making Negative Decision

The client is a Brazilian national who was referred to Duncan Lewis Solicitors by Medical Justice on the eve of her first proposed removal on 26th December 2019. She had a history of self-harm and suicidal ideation during her lengthy detention at IRC Yarl’s Wood. Whilst detained she raised allegations of human trafficking, stating that after sustained and serious domestic violence in her home country, she was coerced and transported to the United Kingdom for the purpose of exploitation. She alleged that she was subsequently threatened and sexually exploited by this individual, who she discovered on her arrival was a serving prisoner at HMP Wormwood Scrubs.

Whilst still detained, she was interviewed in relation to her trafficking claim and a negative reasonable grounds decision was subsequently made by the NRM. She was due to be removed on 26th December 2018 before she was referred to Duncan Lewis Solicitors at the last minute by Medical Justice, who were concerned about her ongoing suicide risk should a removal attempt take place. After this last-minute intervention, her removal directions were deferred and a judicial review was issued challenging - amongst other grounds - the negative reasonable grounds decision.

After permission was granted by Karen Steyn QC, the case went for a full hearing in front of Ms Margaret Obi (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) in which the judge made the decision that the reasonable grounds decision should be quashed and remitted to the SSHD for reconsideration.

Read more: Gherson Immigration:

Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - August 2019

Deteriorated Situations: Somalia, Malawi, Nigeria, Kosovo, Libya

Conflict Risk Alerts: Iran

Improved Situations: None

Global Overview: In July, Libya’s war spread beyond Tripoli, and Iran and the U.S. continued to teeter on the precipice of military confrontation. Nigeria’s woes deepened as Boko Haram stepped up attacks in the north east, tensions rose between herders and farmers, and the government cracked down on Shiite Muslim protesters in the capital Abuja. In Somalia, Al-Shabaab ramped up attacks in the capital Mogadishu and across the south, and thousands took to the streets in Malawi to protest President Mutharika’s re-election and alleged electoral fraud. In Europe, tensions rose between Kosovo and Serbia with a senior Serbian official claiming Kosovo had denied him entry. On a positive note, the peace process in Afghanistan saw signs of progress, which could lead to the finalisation of a U.S.-Taliban agreement in August.

Read more: International Crisis Group,

New “Public Good” Requirement Introduced by Home Office for Sponsor Licences

According to the addendum to the Home Office’s guidance for sponsors published on 19 July 2019, the Home Office will now require all Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsors to not only act in accordance with the Immigration Rules and all relevant guidance provisions, but also to behave in a manner which is not detrimental to the wider public good.

The Home Office have confirmed that a sponsor license application made by an organisation whose actions and behaviour are ‘non-conductive to the public good’ will be refused. Reasons for a refusal could include fostering hatred or inter-community division, fomenting, justifying or glorifying terrorism, or rejecting the rights of, or discriminating against, other groups or individuals on the basis of their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, race, religious belief (including lack of belief) or any other protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. If an existing sponsor licence holder engages or has ever engaged in the above actions or behaviour, the Home Office will also take the appropriate compliance actions, which could include the revocation of a sponsor licence, depending on the severity of the actions and behaviour.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration:

FQ v Home Secretary

Decision and Reasons

1.In a decision sent on 18 March 2019 I found that the decision of the First-tier Tribunal ('FTT') dated 11 October 2018 dismissing the appellant's appeal on asylum grounds contains an error of law. I now remake the decision.


2.The appellant, a citizen of Iran of Kurdish ethnic origin, is 27 years old. He claims that he would be persecuted if returned to Iran because he left illegally and has participated in sur place pro-Kurdish rights activities whilst in the United Kingdom ('UK').

3.The appellant initially claimed asylum in the UK in 2010. This was based upon his and his family's claimed connections to pro-Kurdish political activities in Iran. In a decision dated 3 December 2010, FTT Judge Gordon dismissed the appellant's appeal on asylum grounds, having found the entirety of the appellant's account to be a fabrication.

4. In response to fresh claim submissions focussing upon the appellant's sur place activities in the UK after 2010, the respondent refused a further asylum claim in a decision dated 7 August 2018. In his decision dated 11 October 2018, FTT Judge M Davies accepted that the appellant had been involved in pro-Kurdish political activities in the UK, including attending demonstrations and Facebook entries but concluded that these activities were not motivated by any genuine commitment to Kurdish activism. Judge Davies found that the appellant participated in these activities in bad faith and solely to substantiate an asylum claim and did not accept the appellant's claim to have departed Iran illegally and dismissed his appeal on asylum and human rights grounds.

5. Having already identified an error of law in Judge Davies' decision, the matter now comes before me to remake the decision.

Remaking the decision

13. Having applied the lower standard of proof to the undisputed factual matrix, in the light of the relevant country guidance referred to above, I make the following findings:

(i) As an illegal departee from Iran, the appellant shall be questioned at the point of return in Iran - he will be returned without a passport, having never had any - see [97] of HB.

(ii) The initial questioning would be for a "fairly brief period" (at [12] of SSH the Internal Organisation for Migration considered that in the context of voluntary returnees, questioning might take a few hours).

(iii) If "particular concerns" arise from activities in the UK, then there is a real risk that there would be the risk of further questioning accompanied by ill-treatment. The assessment of whether "particular concerns" are likely to arise turns upon all the individual factors, considered cumulatively. However, as set out in HB, since 2016 the Iranian authorities have become increasingly suspicious of, and sensitive to, Kurdish political activity. Those of Kurdish ethnicity are thus regarded with even greater suspicion than hitherto and are reasonably likely to be subjected to heightened scrutiny on return to Iran. I n addition, the Iranian authorities demonstrate a "hair-trigger" approach to those suspected to be involved in Kurdish political activities i.e. the threshold for suspicion is low and the likely reaction extreme.

(iv) The appellant would be expected to tell "the truth" when questioned. This includes, inter alia: (i) the appellant's Kurdish identity; (ii) the respondent's acceptance that he left Iran unlawfully and (iii) the appellant has participated in pro-Kurdish / anti-Iranian regime sur place activities in the UK since 2014. It is clear from the country guidance case-law that (i) and (ii) are insufficient to support prospective risk or a reasonable degree of likelihood of "particular concerns" without more, and it is therefore necessary to carefully assess the nature and extent of the appellant's sur place activities.

(v) The appellant's sur place activities include the following: He has been an extensive poster of pro-Kurdish posts on Facebook from January 2017. At the time of the FTT hearing he had 1052 followers. He now has 2360 followers. I accept that this internet activity at the more active end of the spectrum. He has attended numerous pro-Kurdish demonstrations in cities throughout the UK from 2014.

(vi) I accept the appellant's evidence that he is genuinely committed to these political activities. He has been disbelieved by two Tribunals. However, they did not have the extensive evidence available to me including the supporting evidence from two apparently credible witnesses, both of whom now have refugee status. As I have set out above Mr Diwnycz did not cross-examine any of the witnesses and accepted that this signalled that their evidence was accepted by the respondent. Even if I am wrong, and the appellant's activities were undertaken in bad faith, it is reasonably likely that the Iranian authorities will be less interested in the reasons or motivation for undertaking the activities. The mere fact of having undertaken the sur place activities would be sufficient, when combined with the other risk factors to prompt a "hair trigger" approach.

(vii) For these reasons, the authorities are reasonably likely to have "particular concerns" regarding this appellant.

14. There is a real risk that the Iranian authorities' will have "particular concerns" about the appellant, by reason of the factors set out above. The appellant faces a real risk of persecution because the authorities will impute an anti-regime political opinion to him as a result of a combination of his Kurdish ethnic origin, illegal departure and sur place activities (whether undertaken in good faith or not and whether his Facebook account is deleted or not).


15. I remake the decision by allowing the appeal on Refugee Convention grounds.