News & Views Monday 18th February to Sunday 24th February 2019


Settlement in the UK After 10 Years: An Overview

A person who has been residing legally in the UK for 10 years can apply to the Home Office for Indefinite Leave to Remain (also known as permanent residency or settlement). This is also known as an application under the Long Residence provisions. To qualify, the applicant must have been “continuously resident” for 10 years in the UK, in any immigration category, or a combination of different immigration categories. “Continuous residence” means residence in the United Kingdom for an “unbroken period”. For the purposes of this category, a period shall not be considered to have been broken where an applicant is absent from the United Kingdom for a period of 6 months or less at any one time, provided that the applicant in question has existing limited leave to enter or remain upon their departure and return.

Continuous residence will have been broken, however, not only if the applicant has exceeded the 6 month rule referred to above, but also if they have spent more than 540 days in total outside the UK throughout the full 10-year period. It will also be deemed to have been broken in a number of other situations, for example if the applicant has been convicted of an offence and received a prison sentence, or has left the United Kingdom and shown a clear intention not to return (the full list of situations in which continuous residence will be broken is set out in Part 7 of the Immigration Rules).

As with Indefinite Leave to Remain under other routes, the applicant will have to pass the Life in the UK test and provide evidence of sufficient English language skills. Family members cannot be included in an application, however they can apply to remain in the UK as the partner or child of a settled person if the application is successful.

This route is most relevant to individuals who have been in the UK on visa routes that do not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years, such as the Tier 4 categories, or to individuals who have been in the UK for 10 years in different visa categories.

An applicant granted Indefinite Leave to Remain under the Long Residence provisions is free from immigration time restrictions. They will not lose their Indefinite Leave to Remain status unless they are absent from the UK for more than two years or commit a serious offence.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration:

Cost of Care for Asylum-Seeking Children ‘Doubles in Four Years

Spending on care and support for unaccompanied children seeking asylum has almost doubled in four years, according to analysis by local authorities. The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils, said latest figures show the number of asylum-seeking children in care in England has gone up from 2,760 in 2014-15 to 4,480 in 2017-18. As a result council spending has risen from £77m to £152m over the same period, putting additional pressure on children’s services which, according to the LGA, face a £3.1bn funding gap by 2025 in order to maintain the current level of services.

The LGA says there has also been a 50% increase in two years in unaccompanied children leaving care when they turn 18, who remain the responsibility of the local authority and in need of support. In 2016, 4,660 unaccompanied children left care, which went up to 7,130 last year. David Simmonds, who chairs the LGA’s asylum, migration and refugee task group, said: “Councils have a strong track record supporting those resettling in the UK and are committed to providing the best support possible. “However, given the significant financial pressures councils are under as they set local budgets and council tax in the coming weeks, achieving the level of support new arrivals are legally entitled to is becoming more and more challenging.”

Read more: Sally Weale, Guardian,

How Can Britons Serving Sentences Overseas Transfer to a UK Prison?

The Ministry of Justice recently updated its guidance for UK nationals who are serving sentences in prisons overseas, and who may wish to serve the remainder of their sentences in the UK. But what are the conditions which must be met, and what are the practical steps which might be taken to help a UK national serve the remainder of their sentence in their own country?

In 2015 some 2,205 Britons were in jail overseas (according to the FCO). The pressing question for many of them is how to serve their sentence closer to home. In January 2019 the Ministry of Justice published guidance for prisoners seeking to transfer to a UK prison.

The prisoner must first meet some basic conditions: they must be a British citizen whose trial has ended; they must no longer be pursuing appeals against conviction or sentence; there must be at least six months of their sentence left to serve; and they must have no outstanding fines or non-custodial penalties.

Read more: Doughty Street Chambers,

Swedish Student Fined For Anti-Deportation Protest That Went Viral

A Swedish student who livestreamed her protest against the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker last year has been found guilty of violating Sweden’s aviation laws and fined £250. Elin Ersson, 22, avoided a prison sentence at the Gothenburg district court, where she was sentenced to a fine of 3,000 Swedish krona. Last July, she broadcast her attempt to prevent a Turkish Airlines flight from leaving Göteborg Landvetter airport on Facebook. A 50-year-old Afghan asylum seeker and convicted criminal, who was being deported from the country, was onboard. After Ersson refused to take her seat, several other passengers – including members of a football team – joined her protest and the asylum seeker was removed from the plane, to applause from passengers. The video went viral has been viewed millions of times around the world.

Read more: David Crouch,

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 188

?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 6 February and 18 February 2019.

Download the full report:

Jamaican High Commissioner Calls for Halt to Deportations From UK

The Jamaican high commissioner has called for a suspension of deportations to Jamaica until the Home Office has published its investigation into the Windrush scandal.

At an emotional meeting of relatives of people who were deported to Jamaica earlier this month, held at the Jamaican high commission in London, the high commissioner, Seth George Ramocan, said he was particularly concerned about the deportation of people who had lived in the UK since they were children, and also the removal of parents who had young children living in Britain.

Listening to stories he described as “heart-rending” from families of those deported, the high commissioner said he was concerned about the “dignity and the human rights of the individuals earmarked for deportation”.

“If these are people who have lived here since they were children, they have no connection, no relatives, no one to take care of them in Jamaica, then this for me is a human rights matter,” Ramocan said. “It is not just the people who are being deported, it is their children, it is their families. Are we acting intelligently, are we creating another set of problems when we do that?”

Read more: Amelia Gentleman, Guardian,

Asylum Seekers - Permission to Work

Under the current rules, asylum seekers are able to apply for the right to work only after they have been waiting for a decision on their claim for over a year. Even then, the few people who are granted such permission are rarely able to work in practice because their employment is restricted to the narrow list of highly skilled professions included on the Government’s shortage occupation list. We have an effective ban on asylum seekers working. I am sure that all hon. Members present today will have their own experiences of people attending their advice surgeries to express their deep frustration at this reality. ?Just before Christmas, an old gentleman attended my surgery who had been waiting for a decision on his asylum application for over 12 years. He is desperate to work, but he has now been referred to mental health services to be treated for depression. He is in utter despair at a system that has forced him out of employment and into poverty for so many years.

Comparatively, the UK receives far fewer asylum applications than our European neighbours. We know that the total number of UK applicants represents a very small fraction of our national population—just 0.03% of the current UK labour force. In lieu of the right to work, asylum seekers can access a support payment of £5.39 per day. That allowance needs to cover clothing, transport, food, personal hygiene and often the cost of their asylum application. It is inhumane to force people who are seeking safety from persecution into poverty. It also reduces the chances of smooth economic and social integration and, in doing so, causes longer-term problems.

The OECD has found that legal barriers to employment create the risk of people resorting to informal and sometimes illegal work, which can manifest itself in the form of modern slavery. A change in the law would help to strengthen the Government’s strategy on tackling modern slavery. It is our duty to ensure that our asylum system is morally sound. Whether an asylum application is successful or whether it is ultimately rejected, we must remember throughout the process that the applicants are human beings with needs. There is strong public support for a change that provides refugees with the human dignity of being able to provide for themselves and their families.

Read more: Catherine West MP,

Born in the UK or a Qualifying Territory Before 1983? You Could be British

British nationality law was completely overhauled by the British Nationality Act 1948, to bring British nationality law in line with the fact that the British Empire had evolved into a Commonwealth of equal nations: the UK (including its remaining colonies), Canada, Australia, etc.  Under the 1948 Act, a new British nationality was created for the UK and its remaining colonies.  It was called ‘citizenship of the UK & Colonies” and we refer to those who had this citizenship as “CUKCs”.

British nationality law was then further overhauled by the British Nationality Act 1981 (“the Act”) which came into force on 1 January 1983, creating three British nationalities in place of “citizenship of the UK & Colonies”: British citizenship, for the CUKCs most closely connected to the UK; British Dependent Territories citizenship (later renamed British overseas territories citizenship) for the CUKCs most closely connected to a remaining British colony; and British Overseas citizenship, for any remaining CUKCs.

In 2002, the UK finally gave up on the idea of a second class British nationality for people from the remaining British colonies (renamed ‘overseas territories’).  This was achieved by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002 which effectively extended British citizenship to all the remaining British colonies, save for the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus (British military bases in Cyprus, which constitute a British colony because they stands on land that the British retained when the island of Cyprus ceased to be a British colony and was granted independence).  Instead of referring to “all the remaining British overseas territories except for the SBAs of Cyprus”, the 2002 Act simply defined these places as “the qualifying territories”.  The 2002 Act amended the 1981 Act by inserting this definition of “qualifying territories” and by amending references to “the UK” to read “the UK and qualifying territories”.  So a person born in particular circumstances in “the UK or a qualifying territory” now becomes a British citizen at birth.  

Read more: Gherson Immigration,