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Monday 1st May to Sunday 7th May 2023

Immigration Statistics: 2022

Grants of Asylum/Humanitarian Protection/ Resettlement 2022

The UK offered protection (in the form of refugee status, humanitarian protection, alternative forms of leave and resettlement) to 23,841 people (including dependants) in 2022. This number was 15% higher than in 2019. 

There were 74,751 asylum applications (main applicants only) in the UK in 2022, more than twice the number in 2019. This is higher than at the peak of the European Migration crisis (36,546 in the year ending June 2016) and is the highest number of applications for almost 2 decades (since 2003).

Deportations 2022
In the year ending September 2022, there were 3,531 enforced returns, 51% fewer than in 2019 pre-pandemic (7,198). The vast majority of enforced returns in the year ending September 2022 were of Foreign National Offenders (FNOs) and around a half (49%) were EU nationals.

Enforced returns have been declining since the peak in 2012 with the most recent decrease related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of enforced returns were very low during quarters that coincided with ‘lockdowns’ starting in late March 2020 and early January 2021 (363 and 430). Numbers have increased to over 1,000 during July to September 2022; however, this is still below the pre-pandemic levels in 2019 (which saw around 1,800 returns per quarter).

In the year ending September 2022, there were 2,958 FNOs returned from the UK, of which 58% were EU nationals (1,706). FNO returns are a subset of total returns figures and in the year ending September 2022 were a large proportion of enforced returns and 24% of enforced and voluntary returns combined.

FNO returns increased slightly following the pandemic, driven by returns of non-EU nationals (mainly Albanians). However, FNO returns for the year ending September 2022 were 42% lower than in 2019 (2,958, down from 5,128). FNO returns decreased between 2016 and 2020. During this time returns of EU nationals were almost double that of non-EU nationals, but this gap closed considerably in 2021.

Immigration Detention 2022
20,446 people entered immigration detention in 2022, 16% fewer than in 2019, prior to the pandemic. At the end of December 2022, there were 1,159 people held in immigration detention (including those detained under immigration powers in prison). This was 29% lower than immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of December 2019 (1,637).

19,447 people left detention in 2022, which was 21% fewer than in 2019. 48% had been detained for 7 days or less, compared with 39% pre-pandemic in 2019. 78% of those leaving detention in 2022 were bailed. Bail was mostly granted due to an asylum (or other) application being raised.

Resettlement accounted for 5,792 (24%) of the people offered protection in 2022. The resettlement data here includes those who have been resettled under ‘Pathway 1’ and ‘Pathway 2’ of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, or relocated under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy. Statistics on those resettled under ‘Pathway 3’ of the Afghan citizen's resettlement scheme (ACRS) will be included in future editions of ‘Immigration system statistics’ once people have been resettled via this pathway.

Source: https://tinyurl.com/jx77my6c

Amendments to the Illegal Migration Bill Attack Basic Legal Rights nd Processes

The Illegal Migration Bill, the government’s answer to the ‘small boats crisis’, was proposed to Parliament on 7 March. Since then, it has faced fierce criticism from international organisations including the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), national refugee support organisations, those supporting victims of torture, children, trafficking victims and asylum lawyers. From 27 March the Bill has been debated by a Committee of the whole House, and today, it is facing its final stages in the House of Commons.

At this late stage, over the last few days Home Secretary Suella Braverman has tabled a series of new government amendments, which MPs have very little time to consider and even less time to debate. Some of these amount to a frontal attack on basic UK legal rights and legal processes. Five measures in particular go well beyond even what might be considered necessary for strict immigration control.

Serious harm suspensive claims interpretation
New clause 17 “Serious harm suspensive claims” interpretation seeks to impose a definition of “serious harm” so strict that many people facing inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights will be excluded from any right to resist removal. First, the harm must be “a real, imminent and foreseeable risk of serious and irreversible harm”.

Read more; Freemovement, https://tinyurl.com/yckuejrb

Home Office Resume Bank Account Closures

On 6 April 2023, the Home Office started data sharing with the financial sector again. This was foreshadowed in a speech by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on 13 December 2022. Sections 40A to 40H of the Immigration Act 2014 requires banks to carry out immigration checks on all customers with a current account. If the bank discovers the person has no immigration status, they must report this to the Home Office. The Home Office can then require the bank to close the account.

These provisions came into force on 30 October 2017 but they didn’t last long. Following the Windrush scandal in 2018, use of the power was suspended. Having learned lessons from the Windrush scandal (or perhaps not), the Home Office are now re-introducing these checks. On 18 April 2023 an equality impact assessment was published providing further details on how the powers will be exercised.

So, beyond making a complaint to the Home Office when they get it wrong, what safeguards have been introduced to prevent lawful migrants, and inadvertent overstayers, from being penalised by these provisions?

Read more; Freemovement, https://tinyurl.com/y2ahxjfe

Restrictive Parameters of Domestic Violence Provisions in Immigration Rules

The Court of Appeal has re-affirmed that the domestic violence provisions in the immigration rules are restricted to certain categories of partners and is not open to partners of Points Based System dependants, even if they have in fact suffered domestic abuse. The case is R (SWP) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 2067 (Admin).

This sad case concerned an Indian national who came to the UK as a dependant of her Tier 2 migrant husband. SWP had fled the family home with her son and sought refuge at an emergency shelter for victims of domestic abuse. She had various qualifications in the education sector and had experience in teaching. However, SWP was unable to obtain sponsorship as a primary school teacher because such roles had been taken off the Shortage Occupation List in 2020. Instead, she made an application under the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession.

Read more; Freemovement, https://tinyurl.com/pnw6tyny

Home Office to Acquire Fleet Of Ships to House Asylum Seekers

The Home Office is planning to use 10 redundant cruise ships, ferries and barges to house asylum seekers in ports around the country, with Liverpool expected to be next in line as ministers struggle to get to grips with the asylum backlog.

Officials have been told to look at “all options” to find housing for people caught up in processing delays, including former military camps and prisons, with the total backlog more than 1,500 higher than in December when Rishi Sunak pledged to clear it within a year.

Home Office insiders have conceded that they may have to find more hotels to house people – despite pressure from Conservative backbench MPs – after failing to locate 10,000 spaces in military camps, disused prisons and large vessels as hoped.

Read more: Guardian, Pippa Crerar and Rajeev Syal, https://tinyurl.com/2tnjxbut

Government to Legalise ‘Hazardous’ Accommodation for Asylum Seekers

The government has quietly published plans to effectively legalise “hazardous” accommodation for thousands of asylum seekers in England.

In a move labelled “shameful” and an “assault on human rights” by housing and refugee charities, a new draft law proposes removing landlords’ obligation to get a HMO (house in multiple occupation) licence if they are providing accommodation to vulnerable asylum seekers.

Campaigners say HMO licences are the primary way authorities currently ensure homes filled with large numbers of people they were not initially designed to fit do not become a major fire risk. They are normally required for all private rented properties that house five or more people from multiple households and are granted by councils if inspectors are satisfied that the building meets government guidelines, including that it isn’t dangerously overcrowded, in disrepair, damp or mouldy.

Removing the licence requirement is seen as a way to speed up the process of landlords offering up asylum accommodation, without having to wait for an inspection to be completed. It will also make it easier for them to claim public cash for doing so.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said the government was “using a sledge hammer to crack a walnut”.

Read more: Andrew Kersley, Open Democracy, https://tinyurl.com/y5nb6nzc

Burkina Faso : Men in military uniform killed dozens of people in the north-central Yatenga province, authorities said Monday, as they announced an investigation into the deaths. Survivors buried 136 bodies – including 50 women and 20 children, as well as 66 men – on Thursday.

The country's north is wracked by conflict between the army and groups of jihadist militants, one of several such wars across the Sahel. The government has armed volunteers to help it battle the insurgents. All the warring parties have increasingly targeted civilians of late, says Crisis Group expert Mathieu Pellerin, including the jihadists but also members of the security forces and volunteers. The latter abuses are causing Ouagadougou's strategy to backfire, as they deepen the population's distrust of the central state and feed the insurgencies.

Haiti:  Maria Isabel Salvador, the new UN special representative for Haiti, stressed the urgency Wednesday of stopping the country’s “vicious circle of violence”, in reference to the criminal gangs fighting for control of the capital Port-au-Prince and other cities.

She was briefing the UN Security Council two days after angry Port-au-Prince residents burned thirteen suspected gang members to death. With the police overwhelmed, says Crisis Group expert Renata Segura, citizens are increasingly organising “self-defence groups”, prompting fears of more such vigilantism.

UK Coastguard ‘Left Channel Migrants Adrift’ in Lead-Up to Mass Drowning

Hundreds of vulnerable migrants were abandoned to their fates after the UK coastguard “effectively ignored” reports of small boats in distress during the days leading up to the worst Channel disaster in 30 years when at least 27 people died, an Observer investigation suggests. Around 440 people appear to have been left adrift after the coastguard sent no rescue vessels to 19 reported boats carrying migrants in UK waters, according to an analysis of internal records and marine data seen by the Observer and Liberty Investigates.

Experts said the failure to act appears to breach international law. The incidents occurred across four dates in early November 2021, weeks ahead of the mass drowning when a dinghy carrying migrants capsized. Although evidence relating to the 24 November tragedy has yet to be released ahead of an official report, the documents raise questions over under-staffing in the coastguard and a lack of vital resources in the period immediately before the disaster.

Documents also reveal that the number of operators on shift in the Dover control room fell below internal targets that month, including on the night of the tragedy. Last night MPs called for an urgent review of coastguard staffing levels and a fundamental review into its available resources.

Read more: Aaron Walawalkar, Eleanor Rose, Mark Townsend, https://tinyurl.com/2p8ztpt3

Reporting Hybrid Working Patterns: New Sponsor Obligations

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic hybrid and remote working has become the norm for many in the UK and the Home Office have now amended Part 3 of the Sponsor Guidance to require sponsors of overseas workers to report their sponsored workers usual working locations.

During the pandemic the Home Office advised that there was no obligation for sponsors to notify them if a sponsored worker was working from home. That exception has now been removed. The new guidance sets out a reporting requirement where a worker has moved, or will be moving to a hybrid working pattern as a more permanent working arrangement. Short changes to work patterns do not need to be reported.

This is an extra reporting requirement for those sponsoring overseas workers, in addition to obligations to keep the Home Office up-to-date on a sponsored workers regular attendance at one or more office/branch or client site as listed on their certificate of sponsorship. The requirement for sponsors to hold up-to-date details of a sponsored worker’s home address also remains. Any change in address needs to be held ‘on file’ by the sponsor but does not need to be reported to the Home Office as part of the new hybrid working report.

Read more; Freemovement, https://tinyurl.com/yc34er75


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