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Monday 24th October to Sunday 30 October 2022

Borders Watchdog Left ‘Speechless’ by Failings At Migrant Centre

The borders watchdog said he was left speechless by “wretched conditions” during a visit to a migrant processing centre at Manston, which has already passed the point of being unsafe. The independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, David Neal, was also concerned after discovering some of those guarding people on the site are not specifically qualified to do so. He said that following his visit to the Ramsgate site on Monday he urgently raised this issue with the home secretary and the chief inspector of prisons, Charlie Taylor.

Officials said that as the year went on it became increasingly difficult to move people out. They confirmed that about 3,000 people are being held there on a site designed for 1,000 with a maximum of 1,600. This number is larger than any prison or immigration detention facility in the UK.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian, https://rb.gy/dxqm6v

UK Government Undermining Decades of Anti-Slavery Efforts

Last week, an update to the UK government’s website showed that responsibility for ‘modern slavery’ had been taken away from the minister for safeguarding and placed under the minister for immigration in the Home Office. It is now listed under “illegal migration and asylum” for which this office is responsible.

Muddying the Waters - Despite statements from the Home Office and its inclusion in the UK’s recent Nationality and Borders Act, modern slavery is not primarily an immigration issue. Not only is it wrong to suggest that harsher border policing will stop trafficking – it will increase it. Whilst restricted or undocumented immigration status and the UK’s hostile environment for immigration can and do combine to facilitate exploitation, and thus some people enter the NRM for reasons linked to their immigration status, the majority of people are there for reasons which that have little to do with immigration. The Home Office’s own statistics clearly demonstrate this. The majority of people referred to the NRM between mid-2017 and end-2021 were UK nationals. And in the first quarter of 2022, 79% of UK nationals referred were children.

Read more: Kate Roberts, Open Democracy, https://rb.gy/152gy5

Lack of Route For Victims of Transnational Marriage Abandonment Unlawful

There is no good reason to treat victims of transnational marriage abandonment differently from victims of domestic abuse in the UK. So found Lieven J in the case of R on the application of AM v Secretary of State for the Home Department.

This is the phenomenon by which a person deliberately abandons their partner abroad and takes steps to prevent their return to the UK. It often follows a history of domestic abuse and is the ultimate form of controlling behaviour.

AM was a textbook case of transnational marriage abandonment. She was a Pakistani national married to a British citizen. She suffered severe financial, physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband for years while in the UK on a spouse visa. One day, her husband effectively forced her to travel to Pakistan along with their then 2-year-old daughter. Once in Pakistan, he took her travel documents away from her and, unbeknown to her, came back to the UK with their daughter. It took AM 8 long months to see her daughter again.

Had she been in the UK, AM would have been able to apply for indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic abuse, relying on Section DVILR: Indefinite leave to remain (settlement) as a victim of domestic abuse, in Appendix FM. However, she couldn’t do so from abroad. One of the requirements of the DVILR rules is to be in the UK at the time of application.

Read more: Nath Gbikpi, Freemovement, https://rb.gy/hwmhm7

ILR Applications Under Appendix FM: Slow, Expensive and Inaccessible

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has published a new report reviewing the Home Office’s processing of family visas, with a focus on Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR) applications. It highlights that despite the findings of the Law Commission in its report, and the Home Office’s commitment to simplifying the Immigration Rules, Appendix FM remains obscure and inaccessible for applicants.

There are four areas of concern: inaccessibility of the process, delays, lack of clarity in decision letters and the wider impact of the 10 year route. Based on its finding, four recommendations were made. The Home Office accepted two of these recommendations, only partially accepting the other two.

Read more: Francesca Sella, Freemovement, https://rb.gy/ra7ln9





‘Adults at Risk’ in Immigration Detention?

The UK government can detain people considered not to have the legal right to be in the UK or whose claim to stay in the UK is being decided under immigration powers. These people can be detained by the Home Office in immigration removal centres (IRCs) in the UK, or prisons if they are serving a custodial sentence. But what happens when someone in detention is considered ‘particularly vulnerable to harm in immigration detention’?

Who is an ‘adult at risk?’ - The ‘adults at risk’ policy was introduced by the Home Office in September 2016 in response to the many failings identified in a review of the welfare of vulnerable people in detention. A 2015 report of Yarl’s Wood IRC in Bedfordshire found that pregnant women were being wrongly detained. Though it has been updated since 2016, the latest guidance issued by the Home Office in August remains largely similar.

Read more: Ella Hopkins, Each Other, https://rb.gy/tv6i0v

CCRC: Vietnamese Trafficking Victim’s Conviction Overturned

A judge has overturned a conviction where the charges were a direct consequence of being a child victim of modern slavery. It is the first time the CCRC have referred a case based on section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which serves as a defence for trafficking victims who were compelled to commit an offence.

‘Mr K’ was found working on a cannabis farm after being trafficked to the UK from Vietnam via Russia in 2016. In May 2017, the-then 17 year old pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis at a Youth Court and was sentenced to a 12 month referral order. The CCRC investigation considered new evidence that Mr K was a child victim of modern slavery and that his offending was a direct consequence of his trafficked situation. Mr K’s lawyers had originally advised him to plead guilty and did not tell him that he may have had a defence under section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act. Following the CCRC’s referral back to the courts in May, a judge at Leicester Crown Court has now considered the case and directed a not guilty verdict.

Helen Pitcher OBE, Chairman of CCRC said:?? “This young man should not have been convicted of actions directly linked to being a victim of modern slavery. There is clear guidance on crimes committed by vulnerable trafficked children and victims of modern slavery, but this case shows that miscarriages of justice still happen. We urge any trafficking victims who feel they have received an unjust conviction to contact us and we will investigate their case.”

The CCRC investigation found that the CPS failed to follow its own guidance around victims of trafficking, despite clear evidence that was available from the time of his arrest through to his sentencing.

Source: CCRC, https://rb.gy/sprpqc

Asylum Seekers: Home Office Accused of ‘Catastrophic Child Protection Failure’

More than 220 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are missing from hotels funded by the Home Office, prompting claims that the chaos-stricken government department is presiding over a “catastrophic child protection failure”. Ministers have admitted that the Home Office has no idea of the whereabouts of 222 vulnerable children it was meant to be protecting. One child, it reveals, disappeared on the same day that they arrived at Home Office hotel accommodation and has since been missing for almost a year.

The immigration minister, Tom Pursglove, gave details of 142 of the missing youngsters, of whom 39 had been missing for at least 100 days. Seventeen went missing within a day of the Home Office placing them in a hotel. Nine were 15 years old when they disappeared and 32 were aged 16, according to the data, which includes numbers missing until last Wednesday.

The number of missing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, revealed in a parliamentary answer late on Friday, raises fresh concern over the Home Office’s decision to start housing children in hotels along the south-east coast, keeping them out of the care of local authorities.

Read more: Mark Townsend, Guardian, https://rb.gy/txcobt

Home Office Hotels Not Fit to House Unaccompanied Child Asylum Seekers

An inspection report examining the use of hotels for housing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children has been published this week, but the findings make for unsettling reading.

The report criticises the operation of what are effectively unregistered children’s homes and confirms that this is not an area in which the Home Office should be operating. It goes on to describe an operation “notable for its piecemeal and inconsistent development”, which fails to effectively identify and meet the needs of the children being housed. Publishing the report, David Neal, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration said:

“It is clear that the housing of these extremely vulnerable children in hotels represents a significant challenge to the Home Office, in both ethical and operational terms.”

Read more: Eorann O'connor, Freemovement, https://rb.gy/4qhumm

New Independent Complaint Investigation Service Launched by Home Office

The Home Office has set up a new independent complaint investigation service. Now, if you are unhappy with the Home Office’s final response to a complaint, you can make a further complaint to the Independent Examiner of Complaints (IEC). This is an independent post looking into whether the Home Office has worked in line with its procedures and guidance. But complaints can only be considered in certain circumstances: If a final response has been received that explains that you can bring it to the Office for the Independent Examiner of Complaints if you are unhappy with the outcome.

Contact has to be made within three months of receiving the final complaint response.

Read more: Josie Laidman, Freemovement, https://rb.gy/drkvih


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