All Articles: Asylum
Statement of changes HC 1496: asylum, EU Settlement Scheme, and restrictions on students
On 17 July 2023, a new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules was published. As usual, it is accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum. Also as usual, it is largely concerned with cracking down on those perceived as abusing immigration law. Ther ...18th July 2023
What safe and legal routes are available for refugees to come to the United Kingdom?
The mantra of “safe and legal routes” is regularly repeated by the government when justifying increasingly draconian legislation in an attempt to prevent refugees from travelling to the UK under their own steam. The argument is that refugees shoul ...12th July 2023
No visa for Afghan interpreter accused of leaking sensitive information
The Home Secretary was entitled to refuse entry clearance to an Afghan interpreter accused of releasing sensitive information and threatening to kill coalition forces. That was the conclusion of the High Court in FMA and others v Secretary of State fo ...6th July 2023
Reflections on the Court of Appeal’s Rwanda decision
This post reflects on last week’s extraordinary Court of Appeal judgment on the Rwanda policy. You can read our initial take on this here. Appeal to the Supreme Court The government has already announced its intention to seek leave to appeal to the ...5th July 2023
Age assessments: what happens when a child arrives in the UK?
The majority of unaccompanied children who enter the UK to seek asylum do not bring with them evidence of their age. Because of this, the Home Office has a duty to carry out an initial assessment of their age to establish whether they are, or could be ...4th July 2023
Supreme Court finds exclusion of Palestinians from resettlement scheme not unlawful
The Supreme Court has held that there was no legal obligation to consider the equality impact of excluding Palestinians from the UK’s resettlement scheme for refugees from Syria. The design of the scheme was therefore lawful. The case is R (on the a ...3rd July 2023
Court of Appeal finds Rwanda plan unlawful as Rwanda is not a safe third country
The Court of Appeal has found, by a majority, that the Rwanda plan is unlawful as Rwanda is not a sufficiently safe country. In short, the Rwandan authorities are not yet reliably able to sort genuine from non-genuine refugees, and therefore there is ...29th June 2023
Trafficking victims wrongly denied financial support in lockdown
Potential victims of trafficking awaiting asylum support decisions during the first lockdown were wrongly denied the full payments to which they were entitled. So held the High Court in R (on the application of PM) v Secretary of State for the Home De ...28th June 2023
Rwanda impact assessment looks hopelessly optimistic
The government yesterday published its economic impact assessment for the Illegal Migration Bill and its Rwanda plan. The assessment reveals that Rwanda will be paid approximately £105,000 per refugee received on top of the £120 million already ...27th June 2023
A short history of refugees coming to Britain: from Huguenots to Ukrainians
It has become fashionable for government ministers to refer to “bespoke” humanitarian schemes and such like, referring to programmes like those for Ukrainians and Hong Kongers. The illusory scheme for Afghans was once trumpeted as a “bespoke” ...23rd June 2023
Should refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach?
Over and over again we hear that refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country the reach. There are variations on the theme. Genuine refugees claim asylum in the first safe country. Refugees should or even must claim asylum in the first safe ...21st June 2023
What is the refugee definition in international and UK law?
Lawyers do not own the word “refugee”. The term has been in use since the eighteenth century and has its own evocative, wider meaning in the public consciousness. Those fleeing Ukraine or relocating to the United Kingdom from Hong Kong can ...19th June 2023
Court declines to take legal guardianship of refugee children missing from hotels
The High Court has decided it should not invoke its wardship jurisdiction in relation to missing and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. In Article 39 v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1398 (Fam), Article 39, a charity promot ...13th June 2023
Last traces of Nationality and Borders Act 2022 erased with abandonment of “differentiated status” for refugees
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick today announced that the government was dropping its “differentiated status” approach to refugees, introduced less than one year ago as the centrepiece of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022. The policy ...8th June 2023
United Nations Refugee Agency identifies problems in asylum screening processes
On 26 May, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) published a report ‘Asylum Screening in the UK: An audit of the UK’s asylum intake, registration and screening procedures and recommendations for change’ which identifies a number of p ...7th June 2023
Is Rishi Sunak’s “Stop The Boats” plan really working?
Sunak gave a major speech this morning claiming that his “Stop The Boats” plan is working. Is it? There are some signs of success but it probably has nothing to do with the Illegal Migration Bill. Small boats It is true that small boat cro ...5th June 2023
Immigration up but not as much as expected
The latest quarterly immigration statistics were published today. Most of the media focus is on net migration and the Office of National Statistics ONS report. Net migration turned out to be around 600,000 rather than the 700,000 or more that some had ...25th May 2023
Illegal Migration Bill update: House of Lords and impact assessments
Wednesday 10 May 2023 saw a few developments with the Illegal Migration Bill, as the second reading took place in the House of Lords, and the Equality Impact Assessment was published. We’ve summarised the key points below. House of Lords The most in ...15th May 2023
Amendments to the Illegal Migration Bill attack basic legal rights and 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 (UNHC ...26th April 2023
If the Illegal Migration Bill is unworkable, what can the government do instead?
The government’s new Illegal Migration Bill is the latest in the long line of attempts to deal with refugee arrivals by making life difficult for them. In so doing, it sidesteps the real issues, the reality of both the facts of the refugee issue in ...24th April 2023
Welsh Universal Basic Income Pilot overlooks legal aid for asylum seekers
This week news broke about a row between Westminister and the Senedd regarding the inclusion of care leavers who arrived in the UK as unaccompanied children seeking asylum in their Universal Basic Income Pilot after a letter from a number of Welsh min ...21st April 2023
Could ‘safe and legal routes’ stop the boats?
The government claims that refugees should use ‘safe and legal routes’ to come to the UK. This forms a crucial part of its rhetorical defence for the recently-introduced Illegal Migration Bill because the Bill will deny refugee protection in the U ...18th April 2023
Illegal Migration Bill: helping force refugees into illegality and danger
The Illegal Migration Bill paints a picture of irresponsible refugees who seem to delight in travelling illegally to the UK in dangerous small boats. Its claim to prevent refugees travelling to the UK by these illegal and dangerous routes is a laudabl ...14th April 2023
European Court announces challenge against Rwanda removal policy as interim injunction expires
The European Court of Human Rights has given formal notification to the UK government of an application by an Iraqi asylum-seeker (anonymised as NSK) challenging his removal to Rwanda. They also found that several of the Rule 39 interim measures to pr ...12th April 2023
Two ways to address the asylum backlog and improve access to justice
The government is right that the asylum backlog needs to be urgently addressed, but the Illegal Migration Bill will not tackle the backlog in any meaningful sense and could cause devastating harm to the rights of some of the most persecuted people in ...11th April 2023
How does the Illegal Migration Bill breach the Refugee Convention?
Will the Illegal Migration Bill breach the 1951 Refugee Convention, a global treaty to which the UK is party? The key point of contention in relation to this question is the Bill’s imposition of a blanket duty on the Home Office to remove to a “sa ...3rd April 2023
Assisting with the new asylum questionnaires: OISC Level 1 caseworkers and volunteers
As well as guidance for individuals receiving the new asylum questionnaires under the streamlined process, Refugee Action has produced guidance for unregulated or OISC Level 1 caseworkers, and guidance for asylum volunteers. The aim of these guides is ...31st March 2023
UK spends one third of international aid budget on domestic asylum costs
A new report by the international aid spending watchdog has revealed that the Home Office spent one third of the UK’s international aid budget on domestic asylum costs, leading to severe cuts to genuine international aid programmes. The Independent ...29th March 2023
Filling out the new asylum questionnaires: FAQs
Resources have been published by Refugee Action to assist those who have received one of the new asylum questionnaires under the Home Office’s streamlined process. You can read more in detail about what to do with the questionnaire, how to fill it i ...22nd March 2023
Home Office publishes guidance on streamlined asylum processing for children
The Home office has published new guidance introducing a streamlined process to deal with child asylum applications. The policy explained in the guidance apparently intends to help the Home Office fulfil the commitment made by Rishi Sunak to clear the ...21st March 2023
How will refugees react to the Illegal Migration Bill?
The short answer is that we do not know. But it is possible to make some informed guesses. In this post I try to do just that, based on a Twitter thread from a few days ago and some feedback from that. Evidence on refugee decision-making The evidence ...20th March 2023