Surinder Singh - Immigration Route to Family Reunion
The 'Surinder Singh route' has become well known to British citizens seeking to be reunited with their family members. The toughening up of UK immigration rules in July 2012 – particularly the introduction of the minimum income rule and its labyrinthine documentary requirements and the awful elderly dependent relative rules – is resulting in an increasing number of split families. To understand their misery and anguish, take a look at some of the comments left here and here on this blog. As recently reported, over 3,000 families had applications on hold by the Home Office pending the outcome of a test case, and that was only as of the end of December 2013. That was at least 6,000 adults and it is unknown how many of those couples have children. The numbers can only have increased since then.
The old Court of Justice of the European Union case of Surinder Singh provides a potential means of bypassing the harsh UK immigration rules by relying instead in European Union free movement laws. But a new European case, O v The Netherlands Case C-456/12, brings some good news and a bit of bad news.
Read more: Colin Yeo, Freemovement, <>26/03/14
Illegal Immigrants & FNs 'Left in Detention for Years'
John Vine, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, says a sample group of 27 foreign offenders whose cases were examined in detail by inspectors had each been locked up for an average of 563 days – more than 18 months – beyond the end of their sentences.
In one case, Vine found that a detainee had been held for 1,288 days – more than three and a half years – because there was no passport to send him home with. The chief inspector said that detention had so far cost the taxpayer £211,032, at the rate of £164 a night.
He called for an urgent review of all the long-term immigration detainees for whom a lack of travel documents was the primary barrier to their removal. He said the Home Office could not even tell him the overall scale of the problem and only had detailed figures for foreign national offenders, not all illegal migrants facing removal.
Read more: Alan Travis, theguardian.com, <>27/03/13
Foreign Nationals HMP Liverpool HMCIP Report March 2014
Interpreting services for prisoners who did not speak English were not used often enough. Foreign national prisoners spoke highly of the support they received from the equalities officers, and an independent legal aid law firm ran a monthly advice surgery. However, Home Office officials no longer held regular surgeries and some prisoners received far too little notice of plans to detain them at the end of their sentence.
Provision for the 69 foreign national prisoners was mixed. There was insufficient use of telephone interpreting for those who did not speak English and no up-to-date information about the prison was translated into common languages.
Home Office immigration surgeries no longer took place. Equalities officers did their best to obtain information about the progress of a prisoner's immigration case, but this was often difficult as telephone calls to immigration officers were frequently unanswered. An independent legal aid law firm ran a useful monthly immigration advice surgery; however, recent restrictions on the scope of legal aid meant that they could not advise prisoners on many pressing legal issues.
There were 11 detainees, some of whom were held in the prison despite being suitable, on risk assessment, for transfer to an immigration removal centre. Detainees were subject to the same regime as remand prisoners, rather than to a more relaxed regime more suited to their status, which an IRC would have provided. It was common for prisoners to be given less than a week's notice informing them that they were going to be detained at the end of their sentence.
2.40 Wing staff should make greater use of the telephone interpreting service to communicate with foreign national prisoners who do not speak or understand English. Information about the prison should be translated into common languages.
2.41 Foreign national detainees should be moved to an immigration detention centreonce their criminal sentence has been served. (Repeated recommendation 4.14).
2.42 The Home Office should serve all decisions to detain a person under immigration powers at least one month before the end of a prisoner's custodial sentence expiry date.
Immigration: Deportation of Foreign Nationals
Lord Hylton to ask Her Majesty's Government when deportation will follow the end of a prison sentence served by a foreign national; whether they always arrange the necessary documents as soon as the release date is known; and to what extent problems arise from statelessness or the failure of other states to cooperate.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Home Office considers for deportation or other immigration enforcement action all foreign national offenders (FN0s) who are sentenced a period of imprisonment following a criminal conviction. Deportation is considered in the following circumstances:
For Non European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals
There is a duty on the Secretary of State to deport a non-EEA foreign national who is sentenced to a period of imprisonment of 12 months or more. In addition, the Home Office considers deportation action in cases where a non-EEA national is sentenced to 12 months or more as an aggregate of two or three sentences over a period of five years, or where there is a custodial sentence of any length for a drug offence (other than possession), or where a Court has recommended deportation.
For EEA nationals
The deportation consideration process in the cases of EEA nationals takes account of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 and any human rights considerations on a case-by-case basis.
Deportation will normally be pursued where the person is sentenced to two years' imprisonment or more, or 12 months' imprisonment for a sexual, drug or violent offence. Where an EEA offender receives a shorter sentence, deportation will be pursued where it can be justified in accordance with the Immigration (EEA) Regulations, taking into account the particular circumstances of the case. These regulations state that deportation action must be proportionate and that an individual must represent a "genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society".
Documentation and removal
We make every effort to ensure that a person's removal or deportation coincides, as far as possible, with completion of sentence, including arranging travel documentation to facilitate this. This process can sometimes be delayed as a result of non-compliance by an FNO, such as the adoption of false identities, nationality swapping, refusing to engage with the Home Office, or refusing to engage with foreign embassies.
The UK has now established safe routes and re-documentation arrangements with a significant number of countries which is aiding our ability to return foreign nationals.
House of Lords / 24 Mar 2014 : Column WA78
Immigration Figures to Drop 20,000 as UKBA 'Massage' Numbers
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is pushing through a change to the visa system that will allow the Government to claim that there are nearly 20,000 fewer immigrants in the UK.
In a move that risks being described as an attempt to massage immigration statistics, Home Office officials are considering plans to shorten visas by as little as one day to avoid having to describe them as migrants.
Currently, foreign workers brought to Britain by companies to plug skills gaps on short-term visas lasting 12 months count towards the annual net immigration total.
The Home Office will now reduce the maximum stay for Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) short-term visas to under 12 months – meaning they will no longer count towards the annual net migration total, according to The Financial Times.
Read more: Telegraph, <> 27/03/14
Valuable Tools for Anti-Deportation Campaigners
US Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013
As we mark the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this year, the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices highlight the continued pursuit of "free and equal dignity in human rights" in every corner of the world. Based on factual reporting from our embassies and posts abroad, these Congressionally mandated reports chronicle human rights conditions in almost 200 countries and territories. The reports draw attention to the growing challenges facing individuals and organizations as governments around the world fall short of their obligation to uphold universal human rights.
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US Country Reports International Religious Freedom
While many nations uphold, respect, and protect religious freedom, regrettably, in many other nations, governments do not protect this basic right; subject members of religious minorities to violence; actively restrict citizens' religious freedom through oppressive laws and regulations; stand by while members of societal groups attack their fellow citizens out of religious hatred, and fail to hold those responsible for such violence accountable for their actions.
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Early Day Motion 1209: Differential Visa Costs
That this House is concerned by the huge differential in the costs of dependents visas; points out that a British citizen is charged £1,906 for a visa for a relative from a country outside the European Union whereas an EU citizen living in Britain is charged just £55 for the same visa; believes that this discriminates against British citizens; and calls on the Government to equalise the cost for all dependents visas at £55.
House of Commons: <> 20.03.2014
Early Day Motion 1212: Strip-Searching Of Children
That this House is appalled that in five years 4,638 children between the ages of 10 and 16 years were strip-searched by Metropolitan Police officers; understands that this can require searches of body cavities, including intimate areas; notes that police are allowed to do this if they suspect the person is hiding Class A drugs or an object that could cause harm; further notes that permission for the search need only be given by a police inspector; and calls on the Government to require an independent adult to be present when these searches are carried out.
House of Commons: <>20.03.2014