Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Free Movement Weekly Immigration Newsletter #13

Welcome to the weekly Free Movement newsletter!

Over the weekend, the number of people who have crossed the Channel to the UK by small boat reached 5,435. This is a 43% increase from the same time last year. Although all of these arrivals would be blocked from the asylum system if and when the duty to remove in the Illegal Migration Act 2023 is brought into force without amendment, this is not acting as any sort of deterrent. Nor will the Rwanda Bill deter arrivals once it passes and even if a flight does take off, so things continue to look tricky for the government on this front.

Apparently the government can’t figure out what it wants to do with the Illegal Migration Act, this is unsurprising given it has always been difficult to see how it would work in practice. This seems to make it more likely that once the Rwanda Bill passes the Home Office will be using that and the existing laws to try to effect removal, rather than the Illegal Migration Act. But who really knows, not even the Home Office it seems. There have been reports that some people have had their notice of intent for Rwanda withdrawn, and a new one issued without a named destination. For now we remain stuck with rumours and uncertainty.

In the meantime, inadmissibility judicial review challenges are going in, some conceded at pre action stage. These challenges will continue until the government explains what they intend to do with the tens of thousands of people who are in the inadmissibility process with nowhere they can all possibly be sent.  

In immigration news, the House of Lords’ Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has published a scathing report on the increase to the minimum income requirement. Criticisms from Peers included the lack of any published impact assessment and lack of a clear rationale behind the increase.

On Free Movement, thank you to the person who responded to my request for a copy of the Irish High Court’s decision about the UK’s safe third country status. Two reports by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration were published, we have written up the one on social care. The Home Office accepted all of the recommendations, but it is difficult to take any purported commitment to tackling issues of exploitation given it is funding the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority at 20% lower than the previous year. 

Given the prospect of urgent out of hours applications if the government does try to put people on a plane to Rwanda, this reminder about the potential professional consequences of getting these wrong is a timely read. 

Our previous webinars are now available online, so if you couldn’t attend any of them live then you can purchase those there.

For the rest on Free Movement and what we have been reading elsewhere, read on.

Cheers, Sonia

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What we’re reading

No Safe Routes – London Review of Books, 28 March

How many people were ‘deported’ from the UK in 2023? – Full Fact, 25 March

Sunak’s student visas clampdown continues boom-and-bust pattern – The Guardian, 31 March

UN Human Rights Committee publishes findings on Chile, Guyana, Indonesia, Namibia, Serbia, Somalia and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – UN Human Rights, 28 March

Former RAF base to house asylum seekers is contaminated, government letters say – The Guardian, 1 April

Fresh blow for Rwanda deportation plan as report shows extreme poverty and hunger – The Guardian, 28 March

Questions of ‘institutional racism’ need to be answered by Home Office – Garden Court Chambers, 28 March

Windrush victim says Home Office ‘waiting for us to die off’ before paying compensation – The Guardian, 1 April

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Picture of Sonia Lenegan

Sonia Lenegan

Sonia Lenegan is an experienced immigration, asylum and public law solicitor. She has been practising for over ten years and was previously legal director at the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and legal and policy director at Rainbow Migration. Sonia is the Editor of Free Movement.