News & Views Monday 26th April to Sunday 2nd May 2021


Stripping Someone of Refugee Status Doesn’t Mean They Can be Deported

The European Court of Human Rights in K.I. v France (application no. 5560/19) has re-affirmed that refugee status is declaratory and revocation of a person’s refugee status under French and EU law does not prevent that person from continuing to be a refugee under the Refugee Convention. Authorities revoking someone’s refugee status therefore need to assess afresh whether the person would be at risk of a violation of their Article 3 rights if returned to their country of origin.

The French authorities decided that KI represented a threat to public safety, revoked his refugee status and ordered his deportation to Russia in November 2016. He was unsuccessful in appeals at the domestic level but successfully applied for interim measures (i.e. an injunction preventing deportation) at the Strasbourg court. After being released from prison, KI remained under a compulsory residence order and was required to report at the police station three times a day.

The European Court of Human Rights found that the actions of the French government had violated KI’s Article 3 rights because it had simply stripped him of his refugee status and ordered his deportation without assessing whether he would be at risk of harm upon return to Russia. That was contrary to Article 3 because a refugee does not stop being a refugee under the Refugee Convention simply because their formal status has been revoked in domestic law. In the words of the UNCHR handbook:

Read more: Freemovement,

Prosecuting Individual Police Officers Won’t Deliver Racial Justice

The Derek Chauvin verdict is cathartic, but tackling racial inequality requires a radical rethink of criminal justice. At last year’s Conservative party conference, while the largest anti-racism protests in Britain’s history were taking place across the country, the former home secretary, Sajid Javid, declared that Black Lives Matter is “not a force for good”. This week, following the outcome of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, Javid tweeted triumphantly: “Black lives matter”.

Although this about-turn may seem counterintuitive, it’s perfectly consistent with the government’s position on racism. Rather than reflecting on the demands for systemic change made by Black Lives Matter protesters, Britain’s political class has championed the role of the courts in punishing individual perpetrators of racial violence. Similar celebrations took place when the killers of Stephen Lawrence were eventually found guilty of murder, even though the Police Federation remained in denial about the institutional racism that characterised its response to his death. Viewed from the perspective that racism is an issue of a few bad apples rather than a structural or institutional problem, the single guilty verdict of an individual police officer in the US is something to celebrate. But can criminal prosecutions and prisons ever really deliver racial justice?

Read more: Adam Elliott-Cooper, Guardian,

EU Countries Rule Out Bilateral Asylum Deals In Blow To Priti Patel’s Immigration Plans

In a major blow to Priti Patel’s immigration plans, EU countries have said they will not strike bilateral agreements with Britain to facilitate the deportation of refugees to Europe. New measures unveiled by the home secretary last month would see refugees who arrive in Britain via unauthorised routes denied an automatic right to asylum and instead forcibly removed to safe countries they passed through on their way to the UK, which are usually in the EU.

The Home Office has said it intends to replace the Dublin Regulation, which allowed it to return asylum seekers to EU member states while Britain was part of the bloc, with “bilateral returns arrangements”. But The Independent has learnt that France, Belgium and Germany do not intend to make bilateral deals with Britain, warning that the country “cannot continue to count on European solidarity” and that it “remains bound by international law”.

Meanwhile it has emerged that a number of people in Napier Barracks, a military site housing a number of asylum seekers, have been issued letters by the Home Office stating that they may face deportation to Europe and that their protection claims may not be considered by the UK.

Read more: May Bulman, Independent,

Yet Again - Rounding-up Rough Sleeping Migrants

The latest episode of the Home Office’s dispute with rough sleeping migrants is here with the publication of the policy guidance for applying the “the rough sleeping rule”. This article discusses some key points from both a housing and immigration perspective for those involved in either field. The Grounds for refusal – rough sleeping in the UK guidance, published on 15 April 2021, fleshes out the new immigration rules which permit refusing or cancelling permission to stay where: “…the decision maker is satisfied that a person has been rough sleeping in the UK and has repeatedly refused offers of suitable support and has engaged in persistent anti-social behaviour.” [9.21.1 – 9.21.2]. These rules apply to applications made on or after 1 December 2020 or decisions to cancel taken after that date.

The new guidance recognises that “Rough sleepers are one of the most vulnerable groups in society.” Few can argue with that. It then highlights that the new rules are “not intended to criminalise rough sleeping or to penalise those who inadvertently find themselves temporarily without a roof over their head.” However, a quick look at recent history on this issue shows that this is just one in a line of recent Home Office actions specifically aimed at non-British rough sleepers, and there aren’t many greater penalties for those who have been evicted from (or are otherwise without) homes, than evicting them from the country as well.

Read more: Freemovement,



Grant an Urgent Amnesty to Undocumented Migrants Living in the UK

A petition for the regularisation of undocumented migrants in the UK has now reached over 72,500 signatures with just under 3 months to go until signing closes. This petition is powered by a network of grassroots activists and undocumented folks that have worked tirelessly sharing it and reaching out to different communities to support it.

Undocumented Migrants are suffering in silence, with no access to adequate Financial support, or any help. The Government should grant an urgent Amnesty of 5years to those with no criminal record so that they could live their lives as normal human beings and pay tax to help the UK economy. The current pandemic has created a more hostile environment for undocumented migrants. The Government should grant an immediate Amnesty to the Undocumented Migrants with no criminal record, to enable them to live their lives as decent human beings and help the Country economically. Since the migrants are already in the UK, it would not only be cost effective but would make sense to keep them in the UK and grant them citizenship so that they are granted their basic human rights.

You can add your signature here:

Exceptions to Rules Stopping Asylum Seekers Working

The Upper Tribunal has declared the government’s strict policy on asylum seekers working to be unlawful because it doesn’t mention that exceptions can be made. The case is R (C6) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (asylum seekers’ permission to work) [2021] UKUT 94 (IAC). We originally published this article in January when the judgment first emerged, but it has now been officially reported by the tribunal, so we are re-issuing the piece to include the official headnote. It reads:

Insofar as the Secretary of State’s policy Permission to work and volunteering for asylum seekers, version 8.0, 29 May 2019, admits no exceptions, it has not been justified and so is unlawful. The judgment follows a very similar decision by the High Court in December. Despite these two rulings, the permission to work policy has still not been amended. In fact, a further challenge to it is now in the works.

Read more: Freemovement,

Home Office Can’t Just Ignore Human Rights Issues Even If There Is No Asylum Claim

The Home Office’s compartmentalised approach to applications for permission to stay in the UK can sometimes cause problems. Not everyone’s claim fits neatly into pre-defined categories. So what happens when there is overlap between, for instance, an asylum claim and a human rights claim? This is the issue considered by the Upper Tribunal in JA (human rights claim, serious harm) Nigeria [2021] UKUT 97 (IAC).

Asylum or human rights? Often a person will not have a well-founded fear of persecution or serious harm, but still wants to rely on factors commonly arising in asylum claims in a human rights-based application for permission to remain. Such factors include gender-based violence/discrimination, risk of kidnapping, lack of conformity with religious or cultural expectations, interfaith relationships, or general political unrest. They can be relevant to an assessment of whether it would be reasonable for a qualifying child to leave the UK, whether there are insurmountable obstacles to family life continuing outside the UK, or whether there are very significant obstacles to re-integration.

Read more: Freemovement,

Home Office Breaches Own Rules Deporting Vietnamese Migrants

Almost half of the Vietnamese migrants forcibly removed from the UK on a Home Office charter flight are understood to have been put on the plane in breach of the department’s own rules, the Guardian has learned. Twenty-seven Vietnamese nationals were removed on Wednesday 21st April, on the flight, which took off from Birmingham. It is believed to have been booked with the holiday airline Tui, although the company refused to confirm or deny this. Fourteen were enforced returns and 13 were voluntary departures.

According to an email from a government lawyer seen by the Guardian, of the 14 enforced removals, six did not spend five working days in an immigration removal centre (IRC) prior to the flight where they have access to legal advice surgeries and instead were held in prisons or a short-term holding facility for part of that period, where it is more difficult to access legal advice.

Government rules state that everyone should be given five working days with full access to legal advice prior to being removed to give them an opportunity to seek legal advice about whether the planned removal is lawful. As Vietnam is one of the top source countries for trafficking into the UK, there are concerns that some of those deported might be victims of trafficking who are entitled to protection here.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,