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Monday 22nd May to Sunday 28th May 2023

Suella Braverman Fresh Claims of Ministerial Code Breaches Over Undisclosed Links to Rwanda

Suella Braverman is facing fresh allegations of ministerial code breaches over her failure to formally disclose years of previous work with the Rwandan government.

The home secretary co-founded a charity called the Africa Justice Foundation with Cherie Blair, which trained Rwandan government lawyers between 2010 and 2015. Several people the charity worked with are now key members of President Paul Kagame’s government and are involved in the UK’s £140m deal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Ms Braverman did not officially disclose her previous links to the country when appointed home secretary in 2022, despite the deal being a linchpin of the government’s migration policy and ongoing legal challenges alleging politically-driven human rights violations including torture, murder and kidnappings.

Read more; Lizzie Dearden, Independenrt, https://tinyurl.com/37h2ew33

Resettlement Decision Made Contrary to Policy and Without Adequate Reasons

The High Court has found that the Secretary of State for Defence had not given full and adequate reasons and had acted contrary to its policy when considering an application for settlement in the UK by an individual working with the British embassy in Afghanistan. R (MKA) v Secretary of State for Defence [2023] EWHC 1164 (Admin) is an Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) judicial review that has succeeded, finally, even if only on a fairly modest public law basis.

Sometimes, we as practitioners become used to very brief (and often woefully inadequate) decisions produced by decision-makers, whether it be refusal letters, tribunal judgments etc. This case is a useful reminder that it pays to simply step back from the situation and look at the decision as a whole to see whether it is properly reasoned. The Scottish test (which is very similar to other tests applied elsewhere in the UK) is whether the decision leaves the informed reader in real and substantial doubt as to what the reasons for the decision were and what the material considerations were taken into account. It is surprising how many decisions do not conform to that basic requirement.

Read more: Freemovement, https://tinyurl.com/2p9eah24

High Court Considers Government Actions to Safeguard a Dual British National Abroad

R (Kanu) v Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs [2023] EWHC 652 (Admin) was a challenge to the Foreign Secretary’s acting in assisting a British national who had been detained in Nigeria, allegedly in breach of international law.

Mr Kanu was the brother of Nnamdi Kanu (NK), the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra. NK held dual Nigerian/British nationality. He remains detained in Nigeria pending criminal charges since June 2017 having been unlawfully kidnapped by agents of the Nigerian State whilst outside Nigeria. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office had attempted (to no avail) to progress matters by holding various meetings with Nigerian ministerial staff.

The challenge by Mr Kanu aimed to force the Secretary of State to determine what further steps were needed to assist NK by compelling them to come to a formulated view of whether he was unlawfully removed back to Nigeria in breach of international law.

Read more: Freemovement, https://tinyurl.com/4ppm5bnb

Seasonal Workers Face Ongoing Exploitation - Government Shows Little Interest In Enforcement

The Prime Minister announced a quota of 45,000 seasonal worker visas for 2024, “to give certainty to the horticulture sector next year, enabling them to plan ahead for the picking season”. It is billed as part of a larger package of support for British farmers. But we know that many of these migrant workers are accommodated in appalling conditions and exploited. A session of the House of Lords Horticulture Committee just last week heard extensive evidence of exploitation on the seasonal worker scheme. The quota announcement last December made the 10,000 additional visas contingent on farmers “improving and abiding by the worker welfare standards, including ensuring workers are guaranteed a minimum number of paid hours each week”.

What Evidence of Abuse is There? Workers recruited on the seasonal scheme are being exploited. First of all, they are paying for their own recruitment, turning them into modern day indentured labourers. Just last week, the House of Lords Horticulture Committee heard that interim report findings showed that the lowest total costs paid by Indonesian workers in order to work on the scheme in 2022 was £3,500. These sums then have to be paid off through wages.

And once they have been recruited, they have no choice but to live in appalling conditions on the farms. Only 73% confirmed they had access to a working toilet and only 39% said they felt safe in their accommodation. Another report recently released corroborated findings of substandard living conditions, where seasonal workers paid (collectively) up to £2,000 a month to live with five people in a caravan, or sharing rooms with strangers.

This second report is part of a series released by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The first confirmed bullying, growing debts and unsafe working conditions on UK farms and the second confirms reports from workers of being underpaid.

Read more: Freemovement, https://tinyurl.com/4c79kss4



50 million People Trapped In 'Modern Slavery'

There has been a significant rise in the number of people becoming victims of modern slavery in recent years, a new study published in London on Wednesday shows. The number of people living in modern slavery has risen sharply in the last five years, according to a new report. North Korea and Eritrea have the highest rates in the world.

An estimated 50 million people were "living in situations of modern slavery" in 2021, according to the Global Slavery Index released by the human rights organization Walk Free.

What is modern slavery? "Modern slavery is hidden in plain sight and is deeply intertwined with life in every corner of the world. Each day, people are tricked, coerced, or forced into exploitative situations that they cannot refuse or leave. Each day, we buy the products or use the services they have been forced to make or offer without realizing the hidden human cost," the study stressed.

Walk Free describes modern slavery as covering "a set of specific legal concepts including forced labor, debt bondage, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices, and human trafficking." Forced labor accounts for 27.6 million of those in modern slavery, while forced marriage accounts for 22 million, or nearly one of every 150 people in the world.

Dharvi Vaid, Made For Minds, https://tinyurl.com/ycktszym

‘We Wanted Workers, But We Got People Instead’

So wrote Swiss playwright and novelist Max Frisch in 1965.* He was musing on the Swiss equivalent of the German ‘Gastarbeiter’, or guest worker, scheme of the 1960s. Many thousands of Turkish workers were invited to Germany to fill vacancies on supposedly temporary visas. Many ended up staying but the temporary nature of their visas meant they had few rights and access to citizenship was barred.

It is a familiar tale but one with local variation. Parallels can be drawn with the US-Mexican Bracero Program operating between the 1940s and 1960s, for example.

Closer to home, an echo can also cautiously be found in the United Kingdom’s reliance on workers from the Commonwealth in the 1950s and 1960s. Employers and to some extent the government welcomed the influx of workers, but were then alarmed when it turned out they wanted equal treatment — they actually were British nationals, after all — and wanted to bring their own families with them.

There aren’t that many well known aphorisms in immigration law and policy and even this one will be unfamiliar to many. But Frisch’s quip sums up two of the central dilemmas of immigration policy. Firstly, what you want or intend is not necessarily what you get. Secondly, migrants are people. They have their own hopes, fears, needs, families and more.

Read more: Colin Yeo, Garden Court Chambers, https://tinyurl.com/mpr8xtdu

STHF Children and Vulnerable Adults Do Not Always Receive Sufficient Care

An inspection report of short-term holding facilities (STHF) managed by the Home Office Border Force finds that conditions have improved at the facilities, but concerns remain over the treatment of children and vulnerable adults. HMI Prisons visited short-term holding facilities at five airports and ten seaports across Great Britain, ranging from Poole to Aberdeen.

STHFs hold individuals and families who have been detained at the border by the UK Border Force. A total of 811 detainees had been held across all sites in the six months prior to HMI Prisons' inspection. In that six-month period, detainees were held at the facilities for an average of over six hours. The longest detention was for over 32 hours.

A previous inspection report published in June 2020 found very poor conditions at STHFs and inadequate leadership and management, with Border Force senior managers unable to say with certainty which ports actually had detention facilities. HMI Prisons said this suggested an alarming lack of oversight and accountability.

Three years later, HMI Prisons finds notable improvements at the facilities. Most of the sites that were in an unacceptable physical condition in 2020 had been rebuilt or refurbished, though conditions at Felixstowe and Purfleet remained unacceptable.

Read more: EIN, https://tinyurl.com/2tnjb48u

New Regulations Enable Certain People Fleeing Sudan To Access Benefits

New legislation comes into force today that ensures that UK and Irish nationals, and any other individual with a status in the UK that provides them with recourse to public funds, who left Sudan as a result of the recent violence are exempt from the residency test. This means that they will be able to access benefits and services (including accommodation) faster on arrival in the UK.

Anyone needing access to benefits upon arrival in the UK can apply here. You can find the new legislation in relation to housing here, and social security here.

No support for those requiring leave to enter or remain in the UK has been announced, including any safe route into the UK for prospective refugees who will otherwise arrive at the border.

Read more: Freemovement, https://tinyurl.com/fev6775x






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