All Articles: Asylum

Humanitarian protection is being downgraded from 28 June 2022

New rules on humanitarian protection status will apply to claims made on or after 28 June 2022. The changes are another example of how the government’s New Plan for Immigration is creating a crueller, less efficient and more costly asylum system. Ar ...

23rd June 2022 By

Briefing: What rights do refugees have under the Refugee Convention?

Asylum lawyers like me tend to focus on just one clause of the Refugee Convention: the definition of a refugee. This is the gateway to formal recognition as a refugee and is therefore of vital importance to any person seeking asylum. From this definit ...

22nd June 2022 By

Ministry of Justice launches consultation on legal aid in asylum appeals

Many in the immigration and legal aid sectors are heartily sick of “engaging” with government departments and responding to various consultations, but I want to encourage everyone to respond to this one. The Ministry of Justice is consulti ...

22nd June 2022 By

Briefing: the real state of the UK asylum system

The United Kingdom’s asylum system has been described by the current Home Secretary as “broken”. There is some truth in that statement. In many ways, the asylum system is now in a parlous state. What the Home Secretary does not say i ...

21st June 2022 By

What is the legal definition of a “refugee”?

This week is Refugee Week. On Free Movement we try to communicate complex legal issues in immigration and asylum law in a clear way. Here we answer the question “what is a refugee?” We answer the question from a lawyer’s point of vie ...

20th June 2022 By

Afghan resettlement schemes belatedly due to launch

Whilst many of us were focused on the Rwanda flight, injunction applications and subsequent appeals, the government on 13 June 2022 made some further announcements about the long-delayed Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme. The glacial pace of progres ...

17th June 2022 By

The Rwanda flight is a moment of national shame

A few poor souls are bound for removal to Rwanda today. Whether or not the flight departs on schedule, this is a moment of national shame. One of the richest countries in the world, hosting one of the lowest numbers of refugees internationally, has pa ...

14th June 2022 By

Court of Appeal rejects Rwanda injunction appeal: judgment transcript

Below is an unofficial partial transcript of the Court of Appeal’s judgment refusing interim relief (an injunction) in the case of Public and Commercial Services Union and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Department. This was one of two ...

13th June 2022 By

How to respond to Rwanda removal notices

Asylum seekers arriving by boat have started to receive notices informing them of the UK government’s intention to remove them to Rwanda pursuant to the “Migration and Economic Development Partnership” announced last month. We learned ye ...

1st June 2022 By

Can Ukrainians take refuge in the UK? The Ukraine Family Scheme and other routes

The Home Office has put in place some immigration concessions and special visa schemes in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. This includes the very important Ukraine Family Scheme. The department’s “core plan” ...

25th May 2022 By

Iraq country guidance on ID cards revised

The Upper Tribunal judgment in SMO & KSP (Civil status documentation; article 15) Iraq CG [2022] UKUT 110 (IAC) comes as a relief for those representing Iraqi nationals who fear that they cannot be properly re-documented on return to Iraq. The cas ...

16th May 2022 By

Upper Tribunal dives into the Refugee Convention exclusion clauses

The signatories of the Refugee Convention thought that some people didn’t deserve protection on account of having committed particularly heinous crimes. They therefore introduced “exclusion clauses”, found at Article 1F of the Convention. Ac ...

13th May 2022 By

New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 17 (Borders Act)

The Home Office has published a new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules (HC 17). It is largely focused on changes to the asylum system following the passage of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 and the agreement with Rwanda to export refu ...

12th May 2022 By

The Rwanda refugee deal is a distraction from the real issues in the asylum system

The government has invested huge political capital into its refugee deal with Rwanda. Equally immense resources of time and energy will also no doubt be ploughed into getting a few unfortunate refugees on a plane there at some point. This is a monumen ...

9th May 2022 By

Useful case from Court of Justice of the European Union on Palestinian refugees

In C-349/20 NB and AB v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Court of Justice of the European Union has again addressed the question of when Palestinian refugees are entitled to refugee status under EU law. This is the fourth major judgment ...

6th May 2022 By

Upper Tribunal reiterates high threshold in Article 3 cases

In HA (expert evidence, mental health) Sri Lanka [2022] UKUT 111 (IAC) the Upper Tribunal considers whether the removal of a Sri Lankan man with mental health difficulties would violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 3 p ...

4th May 2022 By

Channel “pushbacks” policy abandoned

The Home Office has withdrawn its “pushback policy” which purported to set out a plan to return migrant boats in the English Channel to France. The climbdown follows recent skirmishes over expert evidence and disclosure — see [2022] EWHC 517 ...

27th April 2022 By

Colin’s refugee law textbook is published today

My textbook on refugee law, imaginatively entitled Refugee Law, is published today. It is aimed principally at undergraduate and graduate students on refugee law courses, or related courses where students need to learn about refugee law and the protec ...

26th April 2022 By

Is it legal to outsource the UK’s refugee responsibilities to Rwanda?

The government has announced a deal to export the UK’s responsibility to assess asylum claims and host refugees to Rwanda. Boris Johnson said in a speech that “anyone entering the UK illegally, as well as those who have arrived illegally s ...

19th April 2022 By

UK-Rwanda refugee deal: first thoughts

The UK-Rwanda memorandum of understanding on asylum processing is now available. It sets out the terms of the agreement between the countries at a high level but provides some insight into how this scheme is supposed to work. Before removal Importantl ...

14th April 2022 By

Imagine you are a Ukrainian refugee

Imagine you are a Ukrainian refugee. Imagine you have left your home, your job, and almost all of your possessions behind. Perhaps your husband or son or father — or perhaps all of them — have stayed behind to fight. You head for the neare ...

14th April 2022 By

Briefing: indefinite leave to remain for people with refugee status or humanitarian protection

A successful application for asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK results in the grant of five years’ permission to stay, on what is known as a “protection route”. People granted permission on a protection route then need to a ...

11th April 2022 By

Home Office agrees to reconsider landmark Ukraine asylum case

The Home Office has agreed to withdraw its decision to refuse asylum to a Ukrainian man who evaded the military draft, meaning that an appeal from the country guidance decision of PK and OS (basic rules of human conduct) Ukraine CG [2020] UKUT 314 wil ...

31st March 2022 By

Migrants who arrived by small boat may be able to claim damages for unlawful seizure of phones

The High Court has held that the Home Office’s search for and seizure of mobile phones from migrants who arrived by small boats from France, and the retention of extracted data, was unlawful. The case is R (HM, MA, KH) v Secretary of State for the H ...

29th March 2022 By

Confirmed victims of human trafficking who claim asylum to get improved residence rights

In R (EOG & KTT) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 307, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that challenges arguing that Home Office policies breach the European Convention Against Trafficking (ECAT) are justiciable insofa ...

18th March 2022 By

Home Office wins trafficking support payments appeal

In R (MD and EH) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 336, the Court of Appeal has found that the Home Office’s non-payment of additional financial support to human trafficking victims who have children and receive asylum ...

17th March 2022 By

The Refugee Convention was designed for a crisis like the invasion of Ukraine

With all the talk of “bespoke” humanitarian schemes, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s refusal to use the word “refugee” and the rejection of the international system for the protection of refugees we see in the Nationality an ...

8th March 2022 By

The reality of Priti Patel’s “bespoke” humanitarian routes

On 28 February 2022 the Home Secretary told the House of Commons that a “bespoke humanitarian route” was being introduced for those fleeing the unlawful invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The word refugee was notable in its absence from that and from ...

7th March 2022 By

High Court quashes “clearly unfair” local authority age assessment

In R (SB (a child)) v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea [2022] EWHC 308 (Admin) the High Court held that an interview conducted by social workers as part of a short-form age assessment was “clearly unfair”. This was because of the ...

28th February 2022 By

Home Office challenge to Sri Lanka country guidance fails

The Home Office has been refused permission to appeal against the latest Sri Lankan country guidance decision. The case is KK and RS (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 119. Background Last year, in KK and RS (Sur ...

28th February 2022 By

Article 3 protects asylum seekers against removal even if they could leave voluntarily

Where an individual would be at risk if forcibly returned to a part of his country of nationality, is it a valid answer to a protection claim that he might nevertheless avoid any such risk by returning voluntarily to another part of that country, even ...

18th February 2022 By

What role does the European Convention Against Trafficking play in UK law?

In R (SV) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] UKUT 239 (IAC), the Upper Tribunal has held that the European Convention Against Trafficking (ECAT) not being a part of UK domestic law is no reason to refuse to examine the lawfulness of a ...

16th February 2022 By

Refugees can make backdated child tax credit claims

I can do no better than adopt Tom Royston’s summary of R (DK) v Revenue and Customs [2022] EWCA Civ 120: in an important decision about the rights of refugees to financial support for children, the Court of Appeal in England and Wales has agreed ...

10th February 2022 By
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