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No-Deportations - Residence Papers for All
Monday 28th November to Sunday 4th Decmber 2022

Just four Afghan Refugees Resettled in UK Since Fall of Kabul

Announced last August, the Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme (ACRS) aimed to resettle 5,000 Afghans in the first year, and up to 20,000 over five years. But while 6,314 refugees who are already in the UK have been granted indefinite leave to remain, only 4 people who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover have been resettled.

Charities have condemned ministers for “abandoning the Afghan people” and effectively closing any safe routes to the UK for those at risk abroad. The Independent’s Refugees Welcome campaign has called for the government to do more to make the UK a haven for refugees. It emerged in February that around 6,500 of the places had already been given to Afghans evacuated during Operation Pitting – the UK’s military operation following the Taliban offensive in August 2021.

However, since then, only four people have been resettled under the second pathway – which receives referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. That means that Afghans who are at risk in Afghanistan, or in a third country, effectively have no safe route to the UK.

The Home Office said the situation is “complex and presents us with significant challenges”.

Read more: Holly Bancroft
Andrew Woodcock, Independent, https://rb.gy/xjovta

‘Fundamentally Flawed’ Proposal to Discriminate Against Albanian Migrants

A proposal by Conservative backbench MPs to immediately return Albanian asylum seekers has faced serious criticism.

The backbenchers, led by David Davis, are demanding emergency legislation to allow for the summary return of Albanian asylum seekers, even in cases of trafficking. The proposers state, ‘if they have really been taken against their will, then they could not reasonably object to being returned to their own homes.’

This proposal stems from inflammatory comments inflammatory comments made by both former home secretary Priti Patel and current home secretary Suella Braverman, with Braverman stating ‘Albania is a safe country…. the truth is that many of [Albanian migrants] are not modern slaves and their claims of being trafficked are lies.’

Statistics do not bear this out. 55% of adult asylum claims from Albanians have been successful in the UK, rising to 90% for female claimants. Moreover, the safety of return for many of these claimants is highly doubtful. A report by UNICEF earlier this year noted that 68% of Albanian migrants trafficked to the UK had familial or close social ties to their traffickers. The government’s own statistics accept that children account for approximately half of all trafficking victims from Albania, who have often been abandoned by their parents.

As a result, the proposal has been criticised. Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty UK’s refugee and migrant rights program director, described it as ‘an unlawful and foolish proposal… [trying] to evade responsibilities.’ Similarly, Mark Davies, The Refugee Council’s head of campaigns, said “the approach David Davis is suggesting falls at the first hurdle…. There is something fundamentally flawed in his view that you can only make an asylum claim if there is evidence that it is the act of a state actor that is leading you to claim asylum, which is not correct”.

Read more: Jack Sheard, Justice Gap, https://rb.gy/t8cons

Home Office Research Report on Why Asylum Seekers Come to the UK

Social networks often play an important role in shaping migrant decision-making and movements. Where migrants can exert a degree of agency over their destination choice, social networks often play an important role in shaping their journeys. These networks are usually understood to comprise friends and family members, community organisations and intermediaries.

Economic rights do not act as a pull factor for asylum seekers. A review of the relationship between Right to Work and numbers of asylum applications concluded that no study reported a long-term correlation between labour market access and destination choice. Very few migrants have any experience of a welfare state such as exists in the UK and imagine that they will be able to (if not expected to) work and support themselves upon arrival.

Evidence does not suggest that grant rate has a significant impact on an asylum seeker’s choice of destination, and it is not clear whether migrants have accurate information on grant rates. Social networks, shared languages and diaspora communities more likely motivate asylum seekers to reach certain destinations.

What might explain why some migrants travel from France to the UK to claim asylum?
For those living in these makeshift camps, life is often uncertain and precarious, with camp clearances and forced evictions that can lead to damage and confiscation of personal belongings and reported police brutality and abusive practices. There is often limited access to water and sanitation facilities, while many depend on local associations for food distributions. This may act as a factor driving onward movement out of France, a small portion of which is to the UK.

Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/2yvsdh

Asylum Backlog Hits 150,000 and Net Migration hits 500,000

Applications have continued to rise as the year has gone on. In the year ending September 2022, there were 72,027 asylum applications relating to 85,902 people.

The previous largest peak was a total of 84,132 applications in 2002. Over the last year, there were only 16,400 initial decisions made.

There are now 117,400 applications outstanding, relating to 143,377 people. This is a 74% increase from last year.

Of those individuals, 97,717 have been waiting more than six months for a decision. Of the decisions that have been made so far, 77% were grants of asylum; a historic high.





Home Office Ignored Warnings on Diphtheria Weeks Before Manston Outbreak

The government failed to act on a warning that asylum seekers in reception centres should be vaccinated against diphtheria, weeks before a man held at the overrun Manston site died, The Independent can reveal. A major refugee charity has called for an independent inquiry into the facility, as the home secretary was accused of “putting anti-asylum rhetoric above safety” while Labour slammed a “chaotic” response.

A risk assessment issued by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on 6 October said the illness was spreading among migrants and a “severe outcome” was possible for those living in crowded facilities. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) had issued a briefing note in September warning of an increase in diphtheria cases in Britain and Europe and reminding authorities working with migrants to ensure they were vaccinated. But the mass use of antibiotics and vaccinations at Manston did not start until earlier this month. Previously, migrants were not having their diphtheria immunisation status checked until they were seen by a GP after being moved to hotels. By that point, many had been detained in crowded tents at the former military base for weeks because of a shortage of Home Office accommodation.

Reasd more: Lizzie Dearden, Independent, https://rb.gy/oorsky

Should the Home Office be Abolished?

Back in the heady days of 2019, journalist Jon Stone started what turned out to be a very long thread on Twitter. Over and over and over again, he wrote “Abolish the Home Office”. Every tweet linked to example after example after example of appalling conduct by officials at the Home Office or the Home Office as an institution. I can’t even count how many stories Jon cited.

Many of who have contact with the Home Office and know the terrible impact Home Office decisions can have on people’s lives would instinctively agree with Jon. Or, at least, we’d agree that something radical needs to change about the way that immigration, asylum and nationality law is handled. But would taking these functions away from the Home Office really lead to improvements? Surely the same officials, policies, laws and, ultimately, pressures would simply be transferred elsewhere. Big institutional changes within government rarely seem to have the impact hoped for, and can have unexpected side effects.

A new report by long term Lib Dem adviser Polly Mackenzie, published by think tank Demos, suggests removing asylum functions from the Home Office to create a new agency called Sanctuary UK. There is a lot that appealing about Mackenzie’s proposals. She gets a lot right. She also, I think, gets a few things wrong.

Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/ecijjg

Appeal From the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Must be Heard in England

It seems that the UK’s three separate legal jurisdictions are continuing to cause problems in immigration cases. Back in 2019 there was the Scottish immigration appeal incorrectly lodged in England, which nobody noticed for four years. A couple of years later it was re-iterated in another case that English courts can’t hear immigration appeals from Scotland. And earlier this year the Upper Tribunal had to address the difficult question of whether a lawyer can appear remotely at a hearing in a different part of the UK to the one they’re qualified in: English barristers CAN argue immigration cases in Scotland… so long as they don’t set foot there.

A similar issue has arisen again, this time with the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) and Northern Ireland. SIAC only sits in London. What happens when a hearing is held in relation to exclusion of an Irish citizen from the UK for travelling to Syria and aligning with ISIS? Her representatives appeared remotely from Belfast and were only qualified in Northern Ireland.

Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/rgrwer

Procedural Errors Should be Remitted Back to the Same Court!

The Court of Appeal has found that the Upper Tribunal should not have continued to decide an appeal itself when it set aside a decision of the First-tier Tribunal. The case is AEB v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 1512. AEB was convicted of offences for dishonesty and was sentenced to 4 years in prison. That conviction triggered his automatic deportation under section 32 of the UK Borders Act 2007. He made an Article 8 claim in response, relying on his family and private life. AEB has three children, all of whom have significant health issues, and he had been living in the UK continuously since 2005.

When the case came to the First-tier Tribunal, AEB request an adjournment so that he could get an expert social work report. His request was refused and the case was decided without this evidence. The Upper Tribunal took the view that this was procedurally unfair since the case focused on the consequences of the separation between AEB and his children and whether there were “very compelling circumstances” for him to remain in the UK. Once the Upper Tribunal set aside the First-tier Tribunal’s decision in this respect, it continued to decide the appeal itself rather than remitting it to a fresh hearing in front of the lower court. It did not provide reasons for doing so.

Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/rulegy

Strategic Litigation: More Harm Than Good?

Strategic litigation is a hot topic. Jolyon Maugham’s controversial Good Law Project provokes a visceral marmite effect. Some people absolute love it. Some, not so much. Sometimes referred to as ‘impact’, ‘test case’ or ‘public interest’ litigation, the idea that legal cases can be brought in order to achieve a wider result or impact than simply resolving a legal dispute for a particular individual is not new, though. Immigration lawyers and organisations like JCWI, Liberty, the Public Law Project, the AIRE Centre, Medical Justice and Detention Action have been at it for ages. We have also seen interest groups set up specifically to bring cases, as with the BAPIO and HSMP Forum challenges. These types of challenge have met with somewhat mixed success, a point to which I will return.

As an immigration lawyer, my interests, experience and knowledge are fairly narrow focussed. This piece looks mainly but not exclusively at litigation intended to protect or strengthen migrants’ rights. It builds and expands on a talk I gave on this subject in 2017 that I’ve been meaning to write up ever since.

The Public Law Project guide to strategic litigation says: “The aims of strategic litigation involve more than simply winning legal arguments in court: test case strategies might seek to create awareness and publicise the cause for which the strategy is mobilised, encourage public debate, set important precedents, achieve change for people in similar situations, and spark policy changes.”

Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/rjsflr












Opinions Regarding Immigration Bail

36 Deaths Across the UK Detention Estate

UK Human Rights and Democracy 2020

Hunger Strikes in Immigration Detention

Charter Flights January 2016 Through December 2020

A History of

Immigration Solicitors

Villainous Mr O