Prohibition on Making Asylum Claims in UK Territorial Waters
The Devil is in the detail, hiding in plain sight. Clause 12 of the Nationality and Borders Bill requires an asylum claim to be made at a designated place. Although some places may be designated later by regulations, all the places designated on the face of the Bill are on the territory or landmass of the United Kingdom. However, the UK territorial sea is excluded from being a place where a Home Office Immigration Officer is authorised to accept an asylum claim. Why prohibit asylum claims being made in UK territorial waters?
The answer is that the Home Office expects Immigration Officers to be in UK territorial waters (in reality the English Channel) in boats, exercising maritime enforcement powers to board, intercept and drive away insecure vessels of asylum seekers crossing the Channel, before those people arrive on UK territory to claim asylum. Such exercises would be hampered, if not frustrated, were Immigration Officers to board a vessel, or maybe even rescue people in distress from a vessel on to their own Home Office boat, only to have those people make claims for asylum in the UK. Does the exclusion the UK territorial sea from being a place to make an asylum frustrate the operation of the Refugee Convention? Is it really performing Refugee Convention obligations in good faith to make policy in this way?
Read more: Adrian Berry, Cosmopolis, https://is.gd/cbrMHw
Home Office Admits That Their Immigration Plan Might Not Work
The Home Office has admitted that there is “limited evidence” to suggest that its new plans for the immigration system will reduce the number of migrant Channel crossings. The Home Secretary has made promises to reduce the number of immigrants crossing the English Channel as part of the New Plan for Immigration which she hopes to introduce under the Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently under review in parliament. But in an impact equality assessment recently released by the Home Office stated that the reforms to the immigration and asylum system carry “significant scope for indirect discrimination” and “potential for direct discrimination on the basis of race”.
Home Office’s Justification: As part of the impact assessment the Home Office responded to the concerns of human rights organisations and admitted that there “may be circumstances where someone faces immediate danger in their country of origin but is not eligible for our refugee resettlement programmes”. In these circumstances the department said that the Home Secretary “may consider such cases, by virtue of their challenging circumstances, to merit the use of discretion to allow individuals to come to the UK”, however it did not make it clear how this would be done.
Read more: Immigratin Advisory Service, https://is.gd/hXmE5X
Rough Sleeping Support Service - Aiding Deportation
The Rough Sleeping Support Service leads to the deportation of some of the people it ought to help. It does so by entrapping homeless immigrants on the basis of questionably informed consent. Yasmin Al-Najar explores further. In 2018, the Home Office announced a new Rough Sleeping Strategy. A year later, The Observer revealed that the government breached privacy laws by collecting rough sleepers’ sensitive personal data without their consent and was using it to deport them. Then, in March 2021, The Guardian, The Observer and Liberty Investigates revealed that the Home Office had quietly relaunched a controversial scheme called the Rough Sleeping Support Service (RSSS).
According to the government’s website, “The RSSS provides an additional and enhanced service to quickly provide immigration status information which may help rough sleepers”. Registered charities and local authorities can use the RSSS to help non-UK rough sleepers access any public funding to which they may be entitled. The government states: “The RSSS can identify non-UK rough sleepers who, on the basis of their immigration status, qualify for public funding but are unable to prove it.” But the government can also use data on homeless foreign nationals to deport them.
The threat of deportation can deter people from asking for support and accommodation by creating an additional barrier to securing their basic human rights. Homelessness threatens several rights under the Human Rights Act, including the right to life in Article 2, the right to protection of property in Article 1 of the first protocol and the right to a private life in Article 8.
Read more: Each Other, https://is.gd/pVG94l
UNHCR Priti Patel’s Asylum Plan Will Break International Law
Priti Patel’s new asylum plan stigmatises those seeking asylum in the UK as “unworthy and unwelcome” and creates a two-tier system that would be in violation of international law, the UN Refugee Agency has said. The UK Nationality and Borders Bill, which the government has introduced in order to deter people from attempting “illegal” entry into the UK, will create a “lower class of status” for the majority of refugeesPriti Patel’s new asylum plan stigmatises those seeking asylum in the UK as “unworthy and unwelcome” and creates a two-tier system that would be in violation of international law, the UN Refugee Agency has said.
The UK Nationality and Borders Bill, which the government has introduced in order to deter people from attempting “illegal” entry into the UK, will create a “lower class of status” for the majority of refugees who arrive in the country spontaneously, the UNHCR said. The bill, which was published in July and is currently going through parliament, would make it a criminal offence for an asylum-seeker to arrive in the UK without permission. Asylum seekers would face up to four years in prison if convicted. It also seeks to “rapidly remove” asylum seekers who arrive in the UK via unauthorised routes, and grant them only temporary protection, with limited rights if it cannot immediately do so.
Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, UNHCR’s UK representative, said there was no evidence the bill would achieve its aim of deterring asylum-seekers from travelling to the UK without the correct documents. She said: “This bill would undermine, not promote, the government’s stated goal of improving protection for those at risk of persecution. It seems to be aimed at deterring refugees, but there’s no evidence that would be the result.
Read more: Tom Batchelor, Independent, https://is.gd/ReBL71
Court Rules: Young Traumatised Asylum Seeker Must be Reunited With Brothers in the UK
The Upper Tribunal has issued an order requiring the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) to transfer a vulnerable, traumatised young asylum seeker, ‘AA’, from Greece to be reunited with his brothers in the UK as soon as possible. The order follows a successful judicial review of the SSHD’s refusal to accept a take charge request (TCR) made by Greece pursuant to Article 17.2 of EU Regulation 604/2013 of 26 June 2013 (Dublin III Regulation). The application for judicial review was granted on the basis that: The Respondent’s refusal decision of Greece’s request erroneously failed to take account of the SSHD's policy to consult the Sponsor’s file regarding the family link. The continued exclusion of the Applicant from the UK is a disproportionate breach of his right to family life with his brothers in the UK. AA has been stranded on the outskirts of a refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos since December 2019. Having fled to Europe following detention and torture in his home country, AA, has been physically and sexually assaulted on a number of occasions whilst living on Samos.
Read more: Bindmans, https://is.gd/AY1NKL
Some Afghan Refugees to be Housed in UK Hotels for Months
Some of the 7,000 Afghan refugees who are currently being housed in hotels are likely still to be in emergency hotel accommodation by the end of the year, the head civil servant in the Home Office indicated under questioning from MPs. Matthew Rycroft, the permanent secretary at the department, said on Wednesday he hoped to make progress with the process of moving refugees from Afghanistan from hotels into more permanent accommodation within two months, but added that “clearly for some people it will take a lot longer”. The 7,000 Afghan refugees in hotels are in addition to a further 8,000 asylum seekers who were already being housed in hotels before the sudden evacuation of families from Kabul in August.
About 70 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are being housed in hotels, 16 of whom are aged under 16. MPs on the home affairs select committee expressed doubt over whether the hotel accommodation was suitable for children who have travelled to the UK alone. Rycroft said that there had been a shortage of offers of permanent housing from councils around the country.
Read more: Amelia Gentleman, Guardian, https://is.gd/O4Kbut