Despite All Her Efforts Priti Patil Failed to Deport Anyone to Rwanda
An 11th-hour ruling by the European court of human rights, stopped the deportation flight to Rwanda. Up to seven people who had come to the UK seeking refuge had been expected to be removed to the east African country an hour and a half before the flight was due to take off. But a ruling by the ECHR on one of the seven cases allowed lawyers for the other six to make successful last-minute applications. The decision is a significant and embarrassing blow for Home Secretary, Priti Patel, who had promised to start sending thousands of asylum seekers 4,000 miles to the east African country in May.
Responding to the decision, Patel said she was “disappointed” by the legal challenge, made pointed criticisms of the ECHR ruling and said that the policy will continue. “We will not be deterred from doing the right thing and delivering our plans to control our nation’s borders,” she said. “Our legal team are reviewing every decision made on this flight and preparation for the next flight begins now.”
Patel Refuses to Speak to Immigration Inspector
Home Secretary Priti Patel has refused to meet the immigration inspector since he took up the job over a year ago. David Neal told the Home Affairs committee of MPs this afternoon he was “disappointed that I’ve not spoken to the Home Secretary and frustrated because I think I have a lot of things to offer from the position that I hold”. Neal, a former head of the military police, was appointed Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration in March 2021. “I’ve asked to speak to her on a number of occasions”, Neal complained. “Prearranged meetings have been cancelled on, I think, five or six occasions now… clearly there’s a reason why I’ve not got that access”.
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/wcwpgo
Unions Call For Delay to Rwanda Policy Until Legal Position Fully Tested
Protests have taken place before a possible first flight removing asylum seekers to Rwanda, as unions said that officials should not be asked to take part in a policy that may subsequently be declared illegal. With the first flight in the deportation scheme scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening, activists also promised to target the Spanish charter airline understood to be providing the aircraft. A high court judge ruled on Friday that he would not halt the first deportations to Rwanda of individuals who had arrived in Britain via unofficial routes, but an appeal against his decision is due on Monday.
Hundreds of people, including representatives of campaign groups and religious organisations, gathered in Manchester’s St Peter’s Square on Sunday to protest against the flight, which speakers described as obscene, also citing criticism from Prince Charles, who reportedly called the scheme appalling.
Read more: Peter Walker, Sophie Zeldin-O'Neill, Diane Taylor, Guardian, https://rb.gy/yj2o5i
We Are With You’: Dozens Protest Outside IRC Against Rwanda Deportation Plan
Crowds chanting "we are with you" and “refugees are welcome” formed along the perimeter of an immigration removal centre today in protest against government plans to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda from next week. Detainees inside Brook House Immigration Removal Centre, close to Gatwick Airport, near Crawley, could be heard chanting in unison with the activists as they shook and banged the outer fence during the protest on Sunday. Dozens of protesters could be heard shouting “set them free” and “deportations no more” outside the facility, while others carried placards emblazoned with slogans saying “It’s inhumane”, “We stand with you” and “Stop the Rwanda flight”.
Volunteers from Care for Calais, which delivers emergency aid to refugees, made up a sizeable portion of the crowds outside Brook House on Sunday.
Read more: Emily Atkinson, Indpendent, https://rb.gy/zetroe
How to Respond to Rwanda Removal Notices
Asylum seekers arriving by boat have started to receive notices informing them of the UK government’s intention to remove them to Rwanda pursuant to the “Migration and Economic Development Partnership” announced last month. We learned yesterday that the Home Office wishes to begin removing people on 14 June. This article offers some practical suggestions on how representatives may wish to respond to notices of intent, based on my own experience and research so far.
These notices are not decisions or removal directions. If the person served with the notice is in detention, they are told that they must respond within seven days. If they are not in detention, the deadline is 14 days. The shorter timeframe for people in detention is presumably because of the supposition that legal advice is available through the Detained Duty Advice Scheme. The problems with this are well-known.
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/ndbgho
Prime Minister’s Attacks on Immigration Lawyers are Misleading and Dangerous
The Bar Council and the Law Society of England and Wales issued a strongly-worded joint statement today after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said immigration lawyers were "effectively … abetting the work of the criminal gangs" by working for asylum-seeker clients facing removal to Rwanda. Speaking about today's controversial first flight to Rwanda under the new UK-Rwanda migration partnership, the Prime Minister said lawyers were undermining the Government's efforts to support safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK and to oppose illegal and dangerous routes.
The Associated Press (AP) quoted the Prime Minister as saying: "I think that what the criminal gangs are doing, and what those who effectively are abetting the work of the criminal gangs are doing, is undermining people's confidence in the safe and legal system, undermining people's general acceptance of immigration." The Bar Council and the Law Society warned that such rhetoric against immigration lawyers by the Prime Minister was misleading and dangerous.
"Legal challenges ensure government is acting lawfully, following laws agreed by parliament. It is misleading and dangerous for the Prime Minister to suggest lawyers who bring such legal challenges are doing anything other than their job and upholding the law. Anyone at risk of a life-changing order has a right to challenge its legality with the assistance of a lawyer, who has a duty to advise their client on their rights," the bodies said in a joint statement.
Read more: Electronic Immigration Network, https://rb.gy/22ckuj
Still No Movement on Unlawful Entry Clearance Fees
The Home Office has still not changed its rules on when visa fees can be waived, well over a year after conceding that the current policy is unlawful. The policy on entry clearance fees says that waivers are possible “in exceptional circumstances only, such as civil war or natural disaster”. In early 2021, the Home Office agreed to withdraw and revise the policy rather than defend a judicial review. This would be “with a view to introducing a criterion of affordability” rather than a criterion of exceptional circumstances, in line with the rules for in-country fee waivers.
Since then, nothing seems to have happened. Last September, immigration minister Kevin Foster said “the revised policy is expected to be published by the end of 2021”. In January, that became “shortly“. The latest promise, given in a written answer published the other day, is “by the summer of 2022”. Summer can have rather an elastic meaning in Westminster, often stretching into what ordinary people would call autumn.
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/j4d9bs
?CoA Confirms Zambrano Applications Must be Based on Facts, Not Assumptions
In the case of Velaj v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 767, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that Zambrano applications always require factual inquiries as to what would happen to the British dependant if their primary carer(s) indeed left the UK. In the case of joint primary carers, it must be shown — rather than assumed — that both carers would leave the country.
What does this mean in practice?
Of course, the EEA Regulations no longer apply in the UK post-Brexit, so you might wonder why any of this is relevant. The answer is that some Zambrano carers, who met the EEA Regulations by 31 December 2020, might still be able to apply for permission to stay under the EU Settlement Scheme. The way those Regulations are interpreted still matters.
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/gnykjt
200 Protesters Block Immigration Officers’ Van
A man arrested for immigration offences was released on bail after protesters gathered in south-east London on Saturday for hours to block a van he was being transported in from leaving. Video footage posted on Twitter showed a crowd of about 200 people sitting on the ground in front of the vehicle in Peckham while another clip showed members of the public standing and shouting “let him go”. Metropolitan police officers were called to Evan Cook Close, near Queens Road train station, shortly after 1.30pm “to a report of protesters obstructing immigration officers” and said officers remained at the scene shortly before 5pm.
It is understood the man is Nigerian and was suspected of overstaying his visa. He was released on immigration bail.
Read more: Nadeem Badshah, Observer, https://rb.gy/11x7el
10,000 People Have Crossed the Channel in Small Boats So Far This Year
Approximately 10,000 people have arrived in the United Kingdom on small boats from across the Channel since January 2022, according to figures disclosed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Since New Years Day, 9,998 individuals have reached the UK after leaving the French coast in vessels such as dinghies, marking an increase in the number of annual crossings recorded in previous years. 28,526 people were noted to have made such journeys in 2021, compared to 8,466 individuals in 2020 and 1,842 in 2019. The figures for 2022 stand at more than double of what they were during the same period last year; a total of 79 migrants were also reportedly brought ashore at Dover by Border Force yesterday.
The MoD defines a ‘small boat’ as a vessel used by individuals who cross the English Channel ‘with the aim of gaining entry to the UK without a visa or permission to enter – either directly by landing in the UK or having been intercepted at sea by the authorities and brought ashore.’
Last week, the Government agreed to launch a public inquiry into the drowning of at least 27 people who attempted to cross the Channel in a small boat on November 24, 2021 amid concerns that their dinghy had capsized in British waters. The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, acknowledged that the current probe by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) was not sufficient and did not comply with the investigative duty under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
Read more: Udit Mahalingam, Justice Gap, https://rb.gy/iuonph
No Change to Settlement Rules For Zambrano Carers Despite Akinsanya Judgment
Zambrano carers who already have permission to stay in the UK under the Immigration Rules cannot use the EU Settlement Scheme as a fast track to permanent residence, the Home Office has confirmed. The department announced today that it would not be changing the rules in this area, despite having to reconsider them in light of a Court of Appeal judgment.
A non-EU citizen who was the primary carer of a British citizen (typically a child) could, under EU law and the case of C-34/09 Zambrano, get a derivative right to reside in the UK. These Zambrano rights were somewhat limited, which led many to apply for permission to stay under UK domestic law instead. When the post-Brexit EU Settlement Scheme came along, these Zambrano carers were allowed to apply, opening up the prospect of getting indefinite leave to remain for free – but only if they had not already switched into the UK Immigration Rules.
Read more: Fremovement, https://rb.gy/vyi9blt