Priti Patel to Send Boats Carrying Migrants to UK Back Across Channel
Priti Patel is preparing to send back small boats carrying migrants in the Channel despite warnings from the French authorities that it could endanger lives. Border Force staff are being trained to employ “turn-around” tactics at sea under plans developed for two years, a statement from the Home Office said. It would allow UK officers to force small boats back into French waters. It is unclear if the proposals would include taking migrants back to French shores. The proposals have already been rejected by the French government. A letter released on Wednesday showed they could not be accepted by the interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, on the grounds that “safeguarding human lives at sea takes priority over considerations of nationality, status and migratory policy”.
He has warned the UK that employing such tactics “would risk having a negative impact on our cooperation”. The tactics will be used, the Home Office has said, with the intention of redirecting migrant vessels away from UK waters and back towards France. Training, which is weather dependent, is due to conclude this month, with use of the tactics ready to deploy as soon as practical and safe. Border Force has informed ministers they will only be able to deploy the tactics, which have been developed in consultation with maritime experts, when they deem it safe to do so. In a statement, the Home Office said Patel had become “the first home secretary to establish a legal basis for the sea tactics, working with acting attorney general Michael Ellis and expert QCs.”
Read more: Rajeev Syal, Guardian, https://is.gd/V5kgPT
No Recourse to Public Funds ’System for ‘Immigrants’ No Longer Fit For Purpose
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) on Friday 3rd September 2021,released a new report that makes the case for reforming the 'no Recourse to Public Funds' (NRPF) Policy. The 30-page report provides an overview of the NRPF policy and how it impacts the everyday lives of people who are subject to immigration control. As the report notes, many people in the UK are subject to the NRPF condition because of their immigration status, which means they are barred from accessing mainstream benefits.
IPPR summarises the benefits that are denied to migrants with NRPF: "People with NRPF are by definition unable to access public funds. These comprise a range of benefits and other forms of support, including (but not limited to) universal credit, attendance allowance, carer's allowance, child benefit, council tax benefit, council tax reduction, disability living allowance, local welfare funds, personal independence payment, severe disablement allowance, and state pension credit (Home Office 2021a). People with NRPF are also prohibited from accessing housing accommodation and homelessness assistance (ibid). The NRPF condition therefore largely excludes individuals from the UK's social safety net."
Read more: Electronic Immigratin Network, https://is.gd/bTxMD2
Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - September 2021
Deteriorated Situations: Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Tunisia.
The Taliban retook control of Afghanistan, ending the two-decade-long U.S. occupation. The Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate claimed a devastating attack that killed 13 U.S. soldiers and as many as 200 Afghans seeking to flee the country. In Lebanon, the Central Bank’s decision to cut subsidies exacerbated the economic crisis, increasing hardship and shortages that led to pockets of violent unrest. Tunisia’s political crisis deepened further as President Saïed consolidated his power grab by indefinitely extending the suspension of parliament. Jihadists in Burkina Faso stepped up attacks, inflicting the heaviest monthly death toll on the military since 2019 and killing scores of civilians. In South Sudan, a split within Vice President Riek Machar’s movement sparked deadly clashes between rival factions, which could further weaken the fragile peace process.
Conflict Risk Alerts: None
Resolution Opportunities: None
Improved Situations: Mozambique, Zambia, Venezuela
Venezuela’s government and opposition held talks for the first time since 2019, and in a major strategic shift, the opposition announced their participation in the November elections, ending the three-year boycott. Islamist militants suffered a major setback after Mozambican and Rwandan forces regained strategic locations in Mozambique’s far north. Despite heightened political tensions in the lead-up to the 12 August presidential election, Zambia witnessed a peaceful transfer of power.
Aside from the 70+ conflict situations we regularly assess, we tracked notable developments in: Brazil, Djibouti, Guatemala and the United Arab Emirates.
International Crisis Group, https://is.gd/JVNDCr
New Home Office Procedure for Family Asylum Claims
A 2021 Supreme Court decision has led to the Home Office changing their procedure for dealing with asylum claims involving accompanied children (children in the UK with a parent or guardian). The case was called G v G and the important point of the case was that a child who is named as a dependant on an asylum claim can and should usually be deemed to have made a claim for asylum in their own right. This has meant that the Home Office have slightly changed how they will deal with asylum cases involving an accompanied child, and the asylum process for those cases has a few new elements.
What is a family asylum claim? If a family including children claim asylum, the Home Office will ask certain questions to determine if the child has any protection needs and if so, if they are the same as the main adult claimant in the family. They will use the information given in response to these questions to decide which of three categories the child/children fall under:
Read more: Right to Remain, https://is.gd/eXC8Lz
Labour Councils House Eight Times as Many Asylum Seekers as Tory Areas
There are eight times as many refugees and asylum seekers living in Labour-run parts of Britain as in Conservative areas, analysis by the Guardian has shown, amid growing pressure on ministers to fix the “completely immoral” dispersal system. The government has urged all local authorities to come forward to offer homes to the thousands of families recently evacuated from Afghanistan, but only about a third of councils have volunteered so far. Council leaders in some of the poorest parts of Britain said they had consistently taken a higher proportion of asylum seekers than wealthier, often Conservative-controlled councils, leading to greater pressure on already strained public services.
All but two cabinet ministers represent areas with a below-average number of refugees and asylum seekers, according to the latest government data. The three local authorities that have wards in Priti Patel’s parliamentary seat in Essex have not housed any Syrian refugees this year and had never supported more than 10 asylum seekers at any one time until this year (13 in April to June this year), while Rochdale was supporting 734 asylum seekers in the same period.
The government’s asylum system is designed to place destitute families in areas with cheaper and more available housing, which tends to be in areas often represented by Labour politicians.
Pamela Duncan, Josh Halliday, Tobi Thomas, Guardian, https://is.gd/iX5fDT
Evidence of Physical and/or Mental Health Issues in Asylum Claims
As a result of your experiences that have led you to claim asylum, you may have physical and/or mental health problems. If you wish these physical and/or mental health issues to form part of your asylum claim, you will need to provide evidence of them to the Home Office (and to the courts, later on in an asylum claim).
You may: have marks on your body from torture or other ill-treatment that has contributed to you needing asylum in the UK
have pain or other physical symptoms because of what has happened to you
difficulty sleeping, or be unable to stop thinking what has happened to you (have upsetting memories, fears of worries)
find it difficult to cope day to day because of how you feel
If you have physical and/or mental health problems because of what has happened to you – such as the signs/symptoms above – you should tell your lawyer. Your lawyer will need to ask you some questions about how these things relate to your asylum claim so they can help you to explain (in your interview or in a written statement) how these fit into your testimony. Your lawyer may be able to get a report from a medical expert which can be submitted as evidence in your asylum claim. These are called “medico-legal reports” which document the psychological and/or physical result of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
Read more: Right to Remain, https://is.gd/fNphc8
How Do Criminal Convictions Affect Applications Under the EU Settlement Scheme?
The answer to this question is complex, and involves when the convictions or conduct took place, whether deportation or expulsion action has been taken or is being considered, and whether the offence or conduct is such that it is ‘conducive to the public good’ for a person to be deported, expelled, or the convictions or conduct is such that an application is likely to be refused. Changes in the Immigration Rules in place from 1 January 2021 now govern how criminal convictions will impact on decisions about the status of EU nationals and their family members in the UK.
The basic criteria governing the making of deportation or expulsion orders for offences committed by EU nationals and their family members before 31 December 2020 was set out in Regulation 27 of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016. Regulation 27 of the 2016 Act reflected EU Directive 2004/38/EC, which provides criteria governing the expulsion of EU nationals and their family members who are settled in other Member States. This criteria governed decisions made under what are known as ‘conducive grounds’, meaning that deportation or expulsion is ‘conducive to the public good’.
The criteria applied in Regulation 27 in respect of decisions to deport or expel an EU national on ‘conducive grounds’ were that firstly that the decision should be: - Proportionate - Based exclusively on the personal conduct of the person concerned - The personal conduct must represent a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society, and the threat does not have to be imminent General prevention of such conduct, or matters which are not personal to the particular person or case, does not justify the decision - Previous criminal convictions alone do not justify the decision - The decision may be taken on preventative grounds, even in the absence of a previous criminal conviction, but must be grounds specific to the EU national.
Further, all such decisions needed to take into account the person’s age, state of health, family and economic situation, the length of residence in the UK, the social and cultural integration in the UK, and the extent of the links with the country of origin. Further criteria was applied for those EU nationals and their family members who had a right to permanent residence (i.e. resided in the UK for 5 years or more exercising treaty rights), and that is that the decision could not be taken except on serious grounds of public policy and security. Finally, if someone had resided continuously in the UK for 10 years or more, or if under the age of 18 and was in the child’s best interests, the decision could not be taken except on imperative grounds of public policy or security. As can be seen, although this criteria was applied to crimes committed in the UK, the fact of a past conviction could not justify in itself an order to deport or expel an EU national; this is because the person had to provide a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat (see above) to the ‘fundamental interests of society’.
Read more: Geraldine Peterson, Richmond Chambers:https://is.gd/QmBCc4