News & Views Monday 21st January to Sunday 27th January 2019  

Dubs Amendment: Home Office Unlawfully Failed to Publish Policy and Breached its Duty of Candour 

The High Court has today 22/01/2019, handed down judgment in the case of R (ZS) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 75 (Admin). This claim challenged the Home Office’s failure to implement the so-called ‘Dubs Amendment’, s. 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, which required the Secretary of State to make arrangements to transfer asylum-seeking children from Europe. This power was used to transfer a number of children from the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp in late 2016. ZS was one of the children considered for transfer at that time but he was refused for failing to meet the criteria set by the Home Office, despite significant vulnerabilities.

This claim mounted a wide-ranging challenge to the Home Office’s implementation of the Dubs Amendment, under which fewer than 250 children have been transferred to the UK, despite ministers controversially allocating merely 480 places for children transferred from Europe. ZS is one of the many children still resident in France hoping for transfer to the UK. ZS has not been able to arrange a referral for transfer to the UK, in part because the relevant guidance governing transfer was not published. The Government eventually published this guidance on the first day of the High Court hearing of ZS’s claim. When giving the judgment, Mr Justice Ouseley agreed that, as a result of the failure to publish this policy, “at least some French social workers were not aware of their role in making referrals”. He held that the policy should have been published in the UK and that it was not fair to leave the representatives of potential transferees in the UK unaware of the rules, criteria or processes necessary for transfer.

The High Court therefore granted ZS a declaration that the failure by the Home Office to publish its guidance on referrals was unlawful. In its judgment, the High Court also agreed with previous decisions by the Court of Appeal in concluding that the Home Office was in breach of its duty of candour when it failed to give ZS reasons for its refusal to transfer him to the UK.

More than two years after the passage of the Dubs Amendment, which called on the government to act ‘as soon as possible’, a significant proportion of the already very small number [480] of places available for such vulnerable children – like ZS - to be transferred remains unfilled. Today’s judgment is another reminder of the Home Office’s unwillingness to give proper effect to the Dubs Amendment. The Government’s failure to publish the policy which would help children like ZS to come to the UK until the eleventh hour in the course of this litigation placed yet another obstacle in the way of vulnerable children seeking referral to the UK.

Source: Duncan Lewis,

Plan to Simplify UK's 1,100 Pages of Immigration Rules

Since their introduction in 1973, the rules have grown from 40 pages to 1,100, and in the last 10 years have almost quadrupled in length.

People would be able to more easily understand the UK’s immigration rules under a proposed shakeup of the regulations by the government’s law advisers that would simplify the current 1,100 pages of regulations. The Law Commission, which reviews and recommends changes to legislation, is to consult on a range of proposals on the immigration rules, which set out the policy and practice of the home secretary in regulating the entry and stay of people in the UK.

The proposals include an audit of overlapping rules and a limit to the number of times a year the rules  are changed. The Home Office has sponsored the independent body to complete the project, which will not consider any issue of substantive immigration policy. The commission believes simpler rules would increase transparency for applicants and lead to quicker decision-making by Home Office caseworkers. Critics, including senior judges and lawyers, frequently criticise the labyrinthine rules for being repetitive, archaic and hard to navigate for people looking to move, work, study, visit or seek asylum in the UK.

Read more: Jamie Grierson, Guardian,

Anti-Deportation Campaign: Home Office Refuses to Let Great-Grandparents Remain In UK

The Home Office is trying to separate a couple from their four British children, 11 grandchildren and a great-grandchild by forcing them to return to Iran.

The 83-year-old great-grandfather and 73-year-old great-grandmother, who bought their flat in Edinburgh in 1978, live near their close-knit family and depend heavily on their daily support. But they also act as co-parents to one of their grandchildren, a teenager with severe autism who requires constant supervision. Their help enables the boy’s mother – a single parent – to continue her work as an NHS nurse.

The family have set up an Online Petition; This is our family. We depend on them and they depend on us. If they are deported, we will never see them again. Above all, they will be alone and it will greatly affect the psychological well-being of a child who is emotionally dependent on them. We are asking for your signatures to hopefully help the Home Office see how important an issue this is for us and potentially lots of other families. We need your help.

You can add your signature here:

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.2 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.

The 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:

Campaign Groups Granted Permission for Judicial Review of Immigration Exemption

The immigration exemption affects the three million EU citizens who will have to submit their applications for a new immigration status after Brexit. It affects anyone who has dealings with the Home Office, some other state bodies and several companies who are concerned with “immigration control” such as those seeking refuge in the UK and those impacted by the Windrush scandal.

The Open Rights Group and the3million wrote to the Home Secretary earlier in early 2018 to urge the government to reconsider the exemption before it was passed into law. The government refused and the groups issued judicial review proceedings in the High Court.

Both organisations argue that the exemption is unlawful because it amounts to an unlawful, unnecessary and disproportionate interference with fundamental data protection rights. They argue that the exemption has removed people’s right to access their personal data, which is of particular concern given that the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has acknowledged the Home Office has a ten percent error rate in immigration status checks.

The campaigners argue that by denying people the right to access their data people will not be able to properly challenge errors made by the Home Office. This could lead to applications relating to immigration statuses being wrongly refused or wrongful deportations taking place.

Read more: Leigh Day Solicitors,

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 186

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 8 January and 21 January 2019.

Entrenching Hierarchies: The New Immigration White Paper

The white paper’s differential treatment of ‘low risk’ and ‘high risk’ nationalities, ‘high skilled’ and ‘low skilled’ people, will create new hierarchies of race and class – and intolerable hardship.

The UK’s future skills-based immigration system, seeks to justify the removal of free movement rights of citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) (1) by principles of fairness which dictate that all nationalities should be treated consistently. It would be a fine thing if such a fundamental principle of fairness were adhered to, and race, ethnicity and nationality were finally to become irrelevant in immigration policy. It is however a retrograde step to achieve equality by removing rights from those who have them, and subjecting all to the same dismal state of abject rightlessness.

In fact, though, the proposals set out in the white paper do not achieve equality, or even seek it. They seek instead to entrench existing divisions based on nationality and class. The only change is that the dividing line is no longer ‘EU’ or ‘EEA’ vs ‘non-EEA’ or ‘third country national’, but instead, ‘low-risk’ vs ‘high-risk’ nationalities, who are to be treated differently in terms of ease of entry for visits, study and work in the UK, and ‘high-skilled’ vs ’low-skilled’ migrants, the former welcome, the latter not.

Read more: Frances Webber, IRR News,

A New Billionaire  Created Every Two Days In 2018, as 59% of the World's Population Saw Their Wealth Decline By 11 Percent

Tax systems that put a high burden on the poor mean public services are underfunded, stretching the gap between rich and poor and fuelling global public anger, Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, said on Monday.

The Nairobi-head-quarted charity said in a report that a new billionaire was created every two days last year, just as the poorest half of the world's population saw their wealth decline by 11 percent.

The report, released on Monday as political and business leaders gather for the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said governments are increasingly underfunding public services and failing to clamp down on tax dodging.

"Poor people suffer twice from being deprived of basic services and also paying a higher burden of taxation," Byanyima said in an interview.

Billionaire fortunes increased by 12 percent last year, or $2.5 billion a day, while the 3.8 billion poorest people saw their wealth drop $500 million every day, Byanyima added.

Read more: Thomson Reuters Foundation,

Information Commissioner Orders Home Office to Release Immigration Data to ‘No-Deportations’

‘Thank you for your correspondence of 3 December 2018 in which you complain about the Home Office’s failure to respond to your request for information.
When considering complaints about delayed or failed responses to information requests our priority is to ensure requesters receive a response as quickly as possible where one has not been provided, and to monitor any persistent trends which might indicate that a public authority is routinely failing to respond within the statutory timeframe.
I have written to the Home Office and instructed them to respond to you within 10 working days from the date of receipt of our letter, that is, by close of business on 30 January 2019.’

Carl Parmenter, Case Officer, Information Commissioner’s Office, 16 January 2019

‘No-Deportations’ received a message from the Home Office on the morning morning 18 January 2019 releasing the requested data.

Information on detainees on ‘Hunger Strike’, detainees who had ‘Attempted Suicide’ and ‘Detainees managed as being at risk of self-harm, q3 July/August September 2018.

There were 48 hunger strikes, in Q3, the lowest number on record.

Attempted Suicides 45, were also well down in Q3.

Number of detainees at risk of self-harm 289, also well down.

Hunger Strikes Q3 2018
Q3 2018 July August September
    Brook House 1 0 1 2
Campsfield 0 1 0 1
Colnbrook 2 4 4 10
Dungavel 0 0 0 0
Harmondsworth 6 12 8 26
Morton Hall 3 4 2 9
The Verne 0 0 0 0
Tinsley House 0 0 0 0
Yarl's Wood 0 0 0 0
12 21 15 48

Suicides Attemps in Immigration Detentin Q3 2018
Q3 2018 July August September
    Brook House   5 11 4
Campsfield   1 1 2
Colnbrook   0 0 1
Dungavel   3 0 0
Harmondsworth   4 3 2
Morton Hall   3 0 0
Tinsley House   0 1 2
Yarl's Wood   0 1 1
  16 17 12

Individuals on Formal suicide Risk Q3 2018
Q3 2018 July August September
    Brook House   28 25 25
Campsfield   5 10 9
Colnbrook   5 5
Dungavel   8 4 2
Harmondsworth   10 9 5
Morton Hall   36 25 21
The Verne   1 9 5
Tinsley House   12 10 16
Yarl's Wood   0 1 3
  105 98 86