Immigration Act – You can download a copy of the summary provisions drawn up by Saira Grant from JCWI on the MAX website.
Short link: http://wp.me/p3VEuj-4P
Asylum Help is a range of new services helping asylum seekers move through the application system and understand the process. It replaces all other UK government funded asylum advice services and will begin from 1 April 2014.
Contact: Asylum Helpline (Advice) on 0808 8000 630 orhttp://www.asylumhelpuk.org
Please see link below for information on visa increases:
Refugee Action has challenged the low rates of support available to asylum seekers at a case heard on 11-14 February 2014. See link: http://themigrantslawproject.org/what-we-do/current-legal-work/section-95-challenge/,
The Immigration Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 10 February. Access to healthcare received significant attention from many speakers, with particular concerns raised around how the new system will deter people from accessing healthcare, the implications for public health and the consequences for children and pregnant women. Other Peers raised the issues of inadequate support for asylum seekers and the fact that most are not allowed to work. The full debate can be accessed at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/lhan114.pdf
Committee starts in the Lords on 3 March and we hope to have amendments on health, support and permission to work discussed.
Phil Cooper, from Hammersmith and Fulham Refugee Forum, has launched a petition on 38 Degrees calling on the House of Lords to amend aspects of the Immigration which can be accessed at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/reject-government-inspired-xenophobia#
New Service Standards for applications made in the UK – see link below
Human Rights Committee release critical report on the Immigration Bill
In the Report, the Committee concludes that the restriction on appeal rights might constitute a serious threat to the practical ability to access the legal system to challenge unlawful immigration and asylum decisions, and to enforce the statutory duty to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children when exercising immigration and asylum functions.
Dr Hywel Francis MP, the Chair of the Committee, said:
- “We commend the Department on conscientiously and constructively engaging with us in our scrutiny of this Bill and we welcome the fact that the Government’s ECHR Memorandum and the Minister’s letter shows that the best interests of children were properly considered when assessing the compatibility of some provisions in the Bill.
- Effective immigration control is recognised by human rights law as a legitimate aim which governments are entitled to pursue, and my Committee accepts that the measures in this Bill are intended to pursue that aim. However, creating a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants carries risks that the measures will have unintended consequences and lead to breaches of human rights and unjustified discrimination in practice.
- My Committee is especially concerned about the restrictions on accessing residential tenancies according to immigration status, as these may expose children, and other migrants who have no right to be in the UK but face genuine obstacles to leaving, to the risk of homelessness, and could be applied in a way which is racially discriminatory. We likewise believe that the Bill’s significant limitation of appeal rights against immigration and asylum decisions, when considered alongside other proposals such as a residence test for legal aid and restrictions on judicial review, represent a serious threat to the practical ability to access the legal system to challenge unlawful decisions.”
The full Immigration Bill is now available at:
The Home Office have issued Fact Sheets which summarises what is in the Bill which are available at::
For a quick summary of what’s in it, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24469584
Changes to Immigration Rules
A statement of changes to the immigration rules was laid before Parliament on 6 September. The government intends that they will come into effect on 1 October 2013.
Click on links for 1) full statement and 2) what it means.
Home Affairs Committee – 7th report on Asylum – 8 October 2013
Legal Aid Reforms: Government rethinks “Residence Test” (6 September 2013)
Following the consultation on Legal Aid Reforms the government has introduced key exceptions to the residence test (need for continuous 12 month lawful residence in order to access legal aid), including:
- Babies under 12 months old who are lawfully resident.
- Fresh asylum claims. Asylum seekers are exempt until their case is decided, including appeals. However, it was unclear whether fresh claims by asylum seekers who had applied in the past would be eligible. The government has confirmed it is.
- Cases ‘which broadly relate to an individual’s liberty, where the individual is particularly vulnerable or where the case relates to the protection of children’, including
- Detention cases
- Victims of trafficking
- Victims of domestic violence and forced marriage
- Protection of children cases
- Special Immigration Appeals Commission
For successful asylum seekers the government is also proposing that the qualifying period for continuous 12 month lawful residence begins from the date when the claim is submitted rather than when the claim is decided
On Monday 1st April 2013, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) came into force.
It means fewer people have access to free legal representation and if you have a legal problem there is now more chance that you will have to represent yourself.
In the Queen’s Speech the Government announced plans to limit the use of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
We should be very wary about this proposal, as it could greatly alter the balance of power between judges and the Executive.
Read more: Adam Wagner, New Statesman, 08/05/13
26 March 2013: Home Secretary announces the split up of the UKBA into:
1) Immigration and Visa Service
2) Immigration Law Enforcement Unit
For full statement see link below:
On 25 March the Home Affairs Select Committee published its report on “The work of the UK Border Agency (July–September 2012)”. The report is very critical of UKBA and is available at:
HC 1039 comes into force on 6 April 2013. These lengthy rule changes affect the PBS in various ways; and inter alia ‘clarify the current General Visitor rules to guard against abuse by those whose repeat visits amount to de facto residence'; make minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules relating to family and private life; introduce into the Rules requirements necessary for granting discretionary leave to unaccompanied asylum seeking children; and make provision in the Immigration Rules for a person to apply to be recognised as stateless and to be granted leave to remain in the UK in that capacity.
The Chief Inspector’s report on UKBA’s handling of the legacy asylum and migration cases was published on 22 November. To read the full report go to: http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/