News & Views Monday 15th March to Sunday 21st  March 2021


Outcry as Uk Asylum-Seekers Camp Remains Open As Sister Site Shuts

The Home Office is refusing to shut a controversial camp for asylum-seekers set up within a former military barracks despite closing a sister site in Wales after months of pressure over appalling living conditions. Napier Barracks near Folkestone in Kent will “remain in operation in accordance with current needs”, the department said, after announcing Penally camp in Pembrokeshire would be handed back to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Sunday.

Humanitarian charities and opposition politicians welcomed the closure of Penally but said the Home Office must follow by shutting down Napier. Both sites have housed hundreds of asylum seekers since being handed over to the Home Office in September and have been dogged by allegations of cover-ups, poor access to healthcare and legal advice, and crowded conditions. Napier was witness to a significant Covid-19 outbreak in January, which saw at least 197 confirmed cases, equal to more than half of its resident population at its peak of 380.

The high court previously heard that the Home Office ignored Public Health England advice that the dormitory-style accommodation at Napier barracks, which holds up to 28 men in a single block, was not suitable during the pandemic. And last week, HM Inspectorate of Prisons and the independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration published a damning report following inspections of Penally and Napier, branding both sites “filthy” and “impoverished”

Read more: Jamie Grierson and Diane Taylor, Guardian,

Inspection Finds - Home Office Can’t Catch Human Traffickers

The immigration authorities’ work on human trafficking and modern slavery produced just ten arrests and five prosecutions in two years, the immigration inspector has found. David Bolt’s report on the Home Office’s efforts in this area, published on 4 March, found that the department’s immigration directorates are “not doing enough to combat the criminals who perpetrate, enable and exploit” trafficking and slavery, and that “opportunities to do so are being missed”.

The inspection took place over the first half of 2020 and the report was sent to the Home Office in September 2020, publication being unduly delayed as per departmental tradition. The performance data is therefore a little stale, but nonetheless revealing. Between April 2018 and March 2020, according to the Home Office’s internal numbers, ten people were arrested under the modern slavery legislation off the back of investigations by the Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigations team. Five were charged with an offence.

To put those five prosecutions in context, the inspector points to the over 5,000 modern slavery offences recorded by police in 2018/19 alone. The state as a whole sent over 200 cases to the Crown Prosecution Service that year, of which two thirds resulted in a conviction.

Read more: Freemovement,

Indefinite Leave to Remain - Status Now 4 All Summit

No one knows how many undocumented people there are in the UK and Ireland, but estimates go up to 1.5 million. These people do not have equal access to food, housing, healthcare and now, vaccines. If we leave the most vulnerable members of our society behind we will never overcome covid-19. At our summit, we will explore why we are calling for Indefinite Leave to Remain. People who are undocumented and going through the most challenging experiences, alongside people in legal process, and Faith leaders, Politicians, Public Health leads and Trades Unionists will share thinking about how and why they support the Status Now 4 All call for Indefinite Leave to Remain, how and why covid-19 has made it worse to be living with anything less than Indefinite to Remain, what challenges are on the road to our goal, and what our next steps should be.

On 27th March 2021 between 2 and 4 pm we will mark one year since the campaign began. Please join us at the Status Now 4 All Summit: One Year On.

Click here to be part of the summit:

Book your place here:

UK Government to Attempt to Limit Judicial Review For ‘Hopeless’ Asylum Cases

Four out of five last-minute legal claims brought by illegal immigrants in an attempt to avoid deportation are eventually rejected, according to the Home Office. An analysis of people detained since 2017 has found more than 70 per cent made new claims or legal appeals days before they were due to be removed. Ministers said the research reveals the extent to which the courts are used by immigration offenders and their lawyers to frustrate attempts to remove them. They noted the figures show how “meritless” cases slow down the courts and asylum system and delay legitimate applications.

The study is to be used to support the UK government's case for revising the UK's asylum regime later this month. Home Secretary Priti Patel will announce a new Sovereign Borders plan to make the system “firm but fair”. The plan will include measures to stop lawyers using judicial review for "hopeless cases". Justice Secretary Robert Buckland QC will announce proposals to stop judicial review cases being automatically referred to senior judges. It follows a review that found only 0.2 per cent of 5,500 cases since 2012 were successful. The majority of these were immigration and asylum cases.

Source: Scottish Legal News,

Refugees Resettlement in the UK - Allocated Funding for 2021-22

Anne McLaughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much funding she has allocated to refugee resettlement for 2021-22.

Chris Philp:The first 12 months of a refugee's resettlement costs are funded by central government using the Official Development Assistance budget which amounts to £8,520 per person. For years 2-5 local authorities receive £12,000 per person overall; tapering from £5,000 in year 2, to £3,700 in year 3, to £2,300 in year 4 and £1,000 in year 5. Funding is also made available for healthcare, education, and to help local authorities withexceptional costs such as social care and housing adaptations.This tariff funding will be made available to all local authorities who resettle refugees during 2021-22. The number of refugees resettled next year will be dependent on local authority capacity as we recover from the pandemic.

Government Plans to Abolish Cart Judicial Review

The report of the Independent Review of Administrative Law will be published this week and the Justice Secretary will on Thursday set out plans for reducing the use of judicial review in immigration cases, the Telegraph reports. The paper says that those plans include an end to Cart/Eba judicial reviews of the Upper Tribunal’s refusal to grant permission for an appeal to itself: One plan would see lawyers prevented from launching judicial reviews of Upper Tribunal immigration decisions, bringing the system back in line with previous years.

A new law will be passed to overturn a 2012 Supreme Court ruling which allowed these cases to be subject to judicial review. This would be only “the first salvo from the Government in a major crackdown on so-called ‘meritless’ immigration and asylum claims expected in coming weeks”. Previous reports have suggested that the government also wants to restrict migrants’ rights under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Telegraph story includes a bizarre claim (repeated in the Times) that just 12 judicial review applications have succeeded since 2012. Ministry of Justice data shows that over 100 judicial review cases won outright in the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) alone last year. Many more will have been settled to the satisfaction of the applicant, and of course judicial review is not confined to immigration cases. Judicial review applications to the UTIAC have fallen every year since 2015/16, from 15,800 then to 5,700 last year.

Read more: Freemovement,




The Problem With “Credibility” as a Concept in Asylum Cases

Whether or not a person is telling the truth about past events often becomes the central issue in many asylum claims. Sometimes this is appropriate. The question of whether an asylum seeker will face a real risk of being persecuted in future does in some cases turn on the truth or otherwise of key elements of the asylum seeker’s account of past events. If an asylum seeker is lying about being a political activist, for example, but claims future risk of being persecuted because of their past and perhaps future political activities, it will usually (but not always) be necessary to consider whether the asylum seeker is telling the truth about their past history.

All too often, though, the refugee status determination process degenerates into unfocussed consideration of the general “credibility” of the asylum seeker. As the Court of Appeal recently noted, some asylum examiners show signs of evolving their own distinct subculture around the meaning and interpretation of this word: The term “credibility” is used a good deal in the context both of asylum appeals and of decisions whether a person is a victim of trafficking, and we have detected a tendency to treat it as having some special technical meaning. But in truth it connotes no more than whether the applicant’s account is to be believed. Decision-makers tend to compare the account given in an asylum claim against a stock narrative delivered by a notional and unconsciously idealised model refugee.

Read more: Freemovement,

Does the UK/Europeon Union Owe Asylum Seekers/Migrants a Living?

France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. Ruthlessly, economically raped Africa, Asia, South America, etc, throughout the 16th to 20th centuries. And though they have long since given up physical control of these territories the banks, big business of Europe, still have massive financial interference in their former colonies.

Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Zimbabwe, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Central African Rep, Guinea, Pakistan are the worlds worst 10 'Failed States', unable/unwilling to protect their citizens from themselves or others, unable/unwilling to provide them with a duty of care, massive internal conflict, forced internal/external displacement. All of these countries were at one time or the other colonies of countries of the Europe.

What moves the world to move, whether internally or to other lands, is not the central political oppression and ethnic/religious violence, though there is plenty of that. But economic need and, therefore, those seeking Economic Asylum should not be treated as undesirables to be repelled from every border in the affluent West, mainly Europe, and if managing to cross those borders, hunted down and expelled.

Read more: No-Deportations,

Asylum Seekers Threatened With Homelessness For Not Complying With ‘Unlawful’ 23-Hour Curfew

Asylum seekers housed in hotels have been threatened with homelessness and police action if they do not comply with an “unlawful” 23-hour curfew, the High Court has heard. Lawyers representing four vulnerable people said a “climate of fear” had developed among those living in hotels being used as asylum accommodation due to “threats” made by Home Office contractors imposing limits as to how long they can spend outside the facility. Thousands of asylum seekers have been housed in hotels across the UK over the past year as the Home Office has been unable to move people on once their claims have been decided due to the pandemic. Notices that have been issued to residents in a number of hotels in recent months informing them that they are prohibited from leaving the hotel for more than one hour a day, and threatening them with police enforcement or a termination of their accommodation if they do not comply.

One claimant, a mentally unwell woman from Georgia, has been to confined to her hotel - and in effect to her hotel room - with a young baby for some 23 hours out of every 24 since 18 January, the court heard. A notice issued to residents in the hotel states that they “should not” be leaving the hotel other than for a medical appointment, exercise or to buy food. It continues: “If anyone leaves for longer than an hour we need to report them to the police […] Just to be clear once again, if a service user doesn’t show proof of where they are going, they will not be allowed back into the hotel.”

Read more: May Bulman, Independent,

Fee waiver Policy: Who Qualifies and What Does the Home Office Guidance Say?

Fees for immigration applications have increased sharply in recent years. Most applications for permission to remain in the UK (other than under the Points Based Immigration System) now cost £1,033. In addition, applicants may need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (£624 a year for adults and £470 for children). On average, therefore, migrants will need to spend almost £2,600 to get permission to remain in the UK for the standard period of two and a half years. For human rights applications submitted from abroad, the cost can be north of £3,000.

These sums are, in fact, the very bare minimum. People may also need to pay £150 to pass an English language test. Others will stump up £800 for using the in-country Super Priority Service to get a decision in 24 hours if they simply cannot afford not to travel for months while the Home Office makes a decision on their application. The equivalent for applications outside the UK costs £956. Then there is legal representation, unfortunately no longer a luxury but often a necessity. The Immigration Rules are hard to navigate, and legal aid is limited almost exclusively to asylum claims, domestic abuse or particularly complex cases.

Read more: Freemovement,

Witness to State Murder Gets Second Chance To Argue For Asylum

In CM v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] CSIH 15, the Inner House overturned previous findings that a person who witnessed a state murder in their home country was not in danger because they had not (and would not) report the matter to the authorities there. The background to the case was that CM and his friend had attended a demonstration in Venezuela. CM’s friend was murdered, shot in the face point blank by a member of the Venezuelan National Guard. At all stages, from the initial refusal right until the application for judicial review of the Upper Tribunal’s decision to refuse permission, CM was refused asylum on that basis that he would not put himself at risk by reporting the matter to the authorities, for fear of harm to his family.

Accepting that the Upper Tribunal had erred in law in refusing permission to appeal, the Inner House said: It is arguable that it was unreasonable in the circumstances for the F-tT to conclude that the petitioner is in no danger because he has not made a complaint. He is a witness to a murder by state actors. The murderers know that he witnessed the commission of the crime and they believe that he can identify them as the perpetrators. It may reasonably be inferred from the circumstance of the murder and from their subsequent threats to the petitioner that the perpetrators are ruthless men with scant regard for human life. They run the risk that at some point the petitioner might speak up, with potentially grave consequences for them. In those circumstance it may be reasonable to conclude that they represent a danger to the petitioner. Since it is the killers’ perception of the evidence which the petitioner may be able to give which is critical to his safety, whether that perception is accurate, appears to us to be of secondary importance. However, in our opinion it is arguable that the F-tT (and in their turn the UT and the Lord Ordinary) misunderstood the petitioner’s evidence.

Read more: Freemovement,

High Court Rejects Bid to Extend UK's EU Settlement Scheme

The high court has rejected a legal bid for an extension to the EU settlement scheme (EUSS), dismissing campaigners’ concerns that those EU residents who fail to apply to remain in the UK before July could face “devastating” consequences, similar to those experienced by the Windrush generation. Legal action mounted by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants called for the Home Office to extend the deadline to ensure that those who miss the 30 June cut-off date do not become undocumented and liable to detention and removal. “On 1 July 2021 anyone who has yet to apply, or apply successfully, will be left without immigration status and exposed to the consequences of the hostile environment; at risk of losing their jobs, homes, access to benefits, and healthcare, driving licences, detention, criminalisation and removal – a second Windrush, but on a much bigger scale,” Paul Bowen QC for the JCWI told the court.

Read more: Amelia Gentleman, Guardian,