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Immigration Solicitors



News & Views Monday 13th January to Sunday 19th January 2020


Legal Challenge to Gap in Support for Victims of Trafficking Following Grant of Refugee Status

Once an individual is granted refugee status, they usually have a non-extendable 28 days in which to leave asylum support, as per Home Office policy. As it often takes in excess of 35 days from application for an individual to receive mainstream benefits, this can lead to a gap in support with potentially serious consequences for individuals.

We recently issued proceedings in relation to this gap in support for a confirmed victim of trafficking, who was receiving support by way of asylum support, and who was to lose his accommodation after being granted refugee status, with no alternative being put in place. The SSHD conceded that the duty to support and assist confirmed victims of trafficking does not cease following a grant of asylum, and instead continues on a needs basis, as required by Article 12 European Convention Against Trafficking. In our client’s case this requires the SSHD to continue the client’s asylum support until alternative support is put in place. Please read the order and statement of reasons to this effect.

While there remains a gap in support for non-victims of trafficking confirmed asylum seekers, which Duncan Lewis is also currently challenging with counsel, Raza Halim of Garden Court Chambers, we hope that this case will enable us to ensure that there is no gap in support for victims of trafficking as they move between asylum support to other forms of support.

Read more: Duncan Lewis,

£8.2 Million Compensation for Wrongful Immigration Detention 2018 - 2019

House of Commons Written Answers and Statements - 13 January 2020

Deportation: Compensation Stephen Doughty:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much compensation her Department paid to people wrongly (a) detained and (b) deported by her Department in each of the last six months.

Kevin Foster: Compensation data for people wrongly detained is published in the Home Office Annual Report and Accounts but is not published on a month by month basis. Published information for financial year 2018-19, for wrongful detention, can be found in the Home Office’s 2018-19 Annual Report and Accounts on page  105.

2018 – 2019 Compensation payments for wrongful detention - 312 cases totalling £8.2 million

(212 cases totalling £5.1 million in 2017-18)

Compensation data is published in the Home Office Annual Report and Accounts but is not published separately for wrongful deportation

Research to Identify Deportation Airlines: Can You Help?

At Corporate Watch we are carrying out a new research project on airlines' involvement in deportations (and/or "removals"). Right now we want to make contact with any groups and individuals who may have information that can help.

The aims are:

(1) to identify which airlines fly deportees from the UK to different countries.

(2) to collect any further detail we can on these airlines' role in "co-operating" with the Home Office on deportations (or, just maybe, standing up to it!)

Specifically, we are looking at scheduled flights -- although any information on charter flights is also welcome.

If we get enough information, we hope to end up with a kind of "map" showing the airlines involved on different routes, plus mini-profiles of each of these airlines outlining their involvement. These could, for example, include witness statements from people who have been deported themselves, or observed deportations involving those companies.

As with all our research, we hope that collecting and presenting this information can be of use to people taking action and campaigning against deportations.

We'd really like to hear from anyone who has any information at all that can help with this. For example, have you heard of, or witnessed, any deportation flights involving any particular airline?

All information will be treated in complete confidence, and we don't need any people's names or personal details. Even very summary or anecdotal information about a flight or pattern of airline behaviour you have heard of may be useful. Although we'd also be very interested if anyone wants to talk in more detail -- for example, to give an anonymous witness statement about their experiences.

Please also pass on this email to anyone else you think could help.

In solidarity,

Dariush for Corporate Watch

Reply to:

UK Immigration Rules Unworkable, Say Law Commission

Immigration rules are “overly complex and unworkable” according to the Law Commission, which recommends simplifying them in order to save the government £70m over the next decade. The regulations have quadrupled in length since 2010 and are “comprehensively criticised for being poorly drafted”, says the body, which advises ministers on updating the law. When introduced in 1973, immigration rules ran to 40 pages; they now extend across 1,100. Making them more prescriptive was intended to produce more transparent outcomes but instead rendered them harder to follow, the study observes. Nicholas Paines QC, the public law commissioner, said: “For both applicants and case workers, the drafting of the immigration rules and frequent updates makes them too difficult to follow. This has resulted in mistakes that waste time and cost taxpayer money.

“By improving the drafting, restructuring the layout and removing inconsistencies, our recommendations will make a real difference by saving money and increasing public confidence in the rules.” The need for clarity has become more acute, the Law Commission heard in evidence it received, because more and more applicants are unrepresented and struggle to understand proceedings. Immigration regulations have an impact on millions of lives every year, the report accepts. “Their structure is confusing and numbering inconsistent. Provisions overlap with identical or near identical wording. The drafting style, often including multiple cross-references, can be impenetrable. The frequency of change fuels complexity.” The report adds: “It is a basic principle of the rule of law that applicants should understand the requirements they need to fulfil … For the Home Office, benefits include better and speedier decision-making.

Read more: Owen Bowcott, Guardian,

US Held Record 69,550 Migrant Children in Custody In 2019

Aljazeera: A three-year-old girl travelled for weeks cradled in her father's arms, as he set out to seek asylum in the United States. Now she will not even look at him. After being forcibly separated at the border by government officials, sexually abused in US foster care and deported, the once bright and beaming girl arrived back in Honduras - withdrawn, anxious and angry - convinced that her father abandoned her. He fears their bond is forever broken. "I think about this trauma staying with her too because the trauma has remained with me and still hasn't faded," he said, days after their reunion.

This month, new government data shows that the little girl is one of an unprecedented 69,550 migrant children held in US government custody over the past year - enough infants, toddlers, kids and teens to overflow the typical professional American football stadium, according to a joint investigation by The Associated Press and the PBS series, Frontline. That is more children held away from their parents than in any other country, according to United Nations researchers. And it is happening even though the US government has acknowledged that being held in detention can be traumatic for children, putting them at risk of long-term physical and emotional damage.



Woman 'feared For Life' After Guards Restrained her in Immigration Centre

A Nigerian woman who was restrained face down by a group of guards in a detention centre in Britain feared for her life and begged them to stop holding her neck, a court has heard. The vulnerable 48-year-old, who the Guardian is not naming, a detainee in Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire, appeared at Luton magistrates court on Monday charged with assault. She is accused of biting three guards and kicking a fourth while being restrained. The incident occurred on 30 May 2018, when detention custody officers for Serco, a Home Office sub-contractor, were trying to deliver her to escorts who would put her on a charter flight to Nigeria, which was due to take off from Birmingham airport that evening.

The court heard the woman was resisting because her solicitor had informed her the removal had been cancelled. It was later confirmed that the Home Office had indeed deferred her removal on that evening’s charter flight. She was on constant watch by guards at the centre because of vulnerabilities due to a risk of self-harm. In recognition of her vulnerable and traumatised state she did not have to sit in the dock but sat in the main part of the court with a woman providing support.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

How the US Made So-Called 'Safe Third Countries' Unsafe

Belen Fernandez, Aljazeera: Despite Donald Trump's claims, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are everything but safe. Last year, US President and xenophobe-in-chief Donald Trump finagled "safe third country agreements" with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, allowing the United States to deport aspiring asylum seekers to the very region many of them are fleeing in the first place.  Even Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele - the possessor of the enlightened opinion that "President Trump is very nice and cool, and I'm nice and cool, too ... we both use Twitter a lot" - recently admitted that his country needs to be "safer" and that its asylum capacities are currently nonexistent.

Indeed, the fact that the homicide rates in the three allegedly "safe third countries" are consistently among the highest in the world should be an easy indicator that they are anything but safe. Femicides abound.

Drowning in guns: The US's own role in fuelling violence in Central America's Northern Triangle has been well known for decades - from its habit of backing right-wing dictators and death squads to its continuing support for homicidal state security forces. In the aftermath of the US-facilitated coup in Honduras in 2009, that nation became more unsafe than ever.  And across the region, the US-exported model of neoliberal oppression has constituted a form of violence in its own right - perpetuating extreme inequality and condemning the masses to often existence-imperilling economic misery.

New Country Guidance On Iraq

On 20 December 2019, the Upper Tribunal issued a new country guidance case on Iraq. This new case, SMO, KSP & IM (Article 15(c); identity documents) Iraq CG [2019] UKUT 400 (IAC), replaces all existing country guidance, including AA (Article 15(c)) Iraq CG [2015] UKUT 544 (IAC); BA (Returns to Baghdad) Iraq CG [2017] UKUT 18 (IAC); and AAH (Iraqi Kurds – internal relocation) Iraq CG [2018] UKUT 212 (IAC).

The Upper Tribunal decided to revisit the previous country guidance following the military defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Accordingly, the intensity of the conflict in most parts of Iraq is no longer, in and of itself, severe enough to warrant a grant of humanitarian protection, with the exception of the small area of Baiji, in Salah al-Din. Similarly, living conditions in Iraq are unlikely to give rise to a breach of Article 3, and therefore, again, do not justify the grant of humanitarian protection on that basis alone.

That said, as always, one must carry out an assessment of individual circumstances, looking in particular at the area the person is proposed to be returned to, and the particular characteristics of that person. Anyone dealing with an Iraqi case should read the judgment in full but relevant matters to take into account will include:

Read more: Freemovement,

Vulnerable Adults in the Immigration Tribunal

In SB (vulnerable adult: credibility) Ghana [2019] UKUT 398 (IAC) the Upper Tribunal has provided a steer on how immigration judges should approach evidence given by vulnerable adults, in addition to that provided in the Joint Presidential Guidance Note No 2 of 2010. The key point is that adverse credibility findings can be made against vulnerable adults and it is not necessary for the tribunal judge to refer to the vulnerability when making each finding.

The appeal concerned an asylum seeker from Ghana who had been diagnosed with depression. At his appeal the First-tier Tribunal judge identified that this meant he was a vulnerable adult within the meaning of the Presidential Guidance on this issue, which states:

The consequences of such vulnerability differ according to the degree to which an individual is affected. It is a matter for you to determine the extent of an identified vulnerability, the effect on the quality of the evidence and the weight to be placed on such vulnerability in assessing the evidence before you, taking into account the evidence as a whole.

The guidance goes on to state the matters which must be recorded in the determination:

Read more: Freemovement,

“Nothing Inherently Wrong” With Healthcare System for Vulnerable Detainees in Prison

The High Court has refused to extend key safeguards under the Adults at Risk policy to immigration detainees held in prisons. In MR (Pakistan) & Anor v Secretary of State for Justice & Ors [2019] EWHC 3567 (Admin), Mr Justice Supperstone decided that healthcare protections for vulnerable detainees on the UK prison estate need not be equivalent to those in place for detainees in immigration removal centres (IRCs).

Supperstone J found that, even though the system for managing vulnerable detainees (in this case, victims of torture) in prisons “could be improved”, it was not so unfair as to be unlawful. Agreeing with counsel for the defence that IRC detention is fundamentally different to detention in prison, he decided that:

The claim… fails to have regard to a critical distinction between individuals who are entering immigration detention in IRCs and those who are entering immigration detention in prisons.

The judge went on to say: the two regimes and the two cohorts are so different that either they are not properly comparable or the differential treatment is justified by the difference between the cohorts.

This judgment will come as a disappointment to practitioners advocating for change to the murky practice of detaining people in prisons at the end of their criminal sentences. Used in cases of serious criminality or where there is a high risk of harm to other detainees, detention in prisons is far more onerous than in IRCs. As any practitioner who has worked with detainees in prison will tell you, communication is extremely difficult and with no legal support available for immigration detainees in most prisons, accessing legal advice can be near impossible.

Read more: Freemovement,