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

Free Movement Weekly Immigration Newsletter #15

Welcome to the weekly Free Movement newsletter!

Election vanity scam” (as coined by someone who seemingly works for the Home Office) is probably the most accurate description of the Rwanda plan at this point. As I have said before, best case scenario for the government surely has to be that any flight is stopped, as they can then blame lawyers/the European Court of Human Rights/the European Convention on Human Rights, when the boats inevitably continue to arrive, and run their election campaign around that. 

Those interested in what is happening with the Rwanda agreement will be far better advised to watch this afternoon’s evidence session of the Public Accounts Committee than whatever nonsense is being spouted in the House of Commons as they reject the Lords’ latest amendments. The most important and useful questions the Committee should be asking are around the use of the inadmissibility process and what is the Home Office’s plan for the tens of thousands of people who have been left outside the asylum system, and who could never all be sent to Rwanda even if flights do ever end up taking off. 

On that point, it seems the government is less and less confident in a flight ever landing in Kigali given The Times has now been briefed that Armenia (3 grants of refugee status to their nationals in the UK last year), Ivory Coast (29 grants), Costa Rica (2 grants) and Botswana (12 grants) are all in discussions with the government for potential new third country arrangements. 

On Free Movement, following the changes to the minimum income threshold for partners in Appendix FM we updated our articles on making a partner application, the financial requirements, and using exceptional circumstances.

Anyone who wants to attend our webinar on exceptional circumstances in Appendix FM applications has just over a week to book. And do remember that our most recently announced webinar on recent changes to work visa routes still has an early bird discount available on tickets until 23:59 on Wednesday 17 April 2024. Use code “earlybird20” for 20% off.

Elsewhere on Free Movement, I wrote up a more detailed post on the various problems with the new fee waiver process for those applying to extend their leave under Appendix Hong Kong BN(O). I also wrote up the latest duty of candour breach by the Home Secretary, which included mention of a very small but important new resettlement route. Also, new court and tribunal fees will apply from 1 May 2024. 

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

Cheers, Sonia

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What we’re reading

High Court grants interim relief to vulnerable refugee faced with imminent homelessness by local authority – Garden Court Chambers, 12 April

I spent 40 days homeless sleeping behind Tesco while seeking asylum. Here’s what the system taught me – Big Issue, 11 April

Dozens of Home Office staff under criminal investigation, FoI data shows – The Guardian, 15 April

Rwanda: Charities plan legal challenges to removals as law set to pass – BBC News, 14 April

Legal aid deserts causing ‘cost and distress’ – BBC News, 13 April

‘It’s catastrophic’: Italian restaurants in London struggle to find staff post-Brexit – The Observer, 14 April

‘Helpless’ UK residents call for Home Office to help get families out of Gaza: ‘We feel betrayed’ – The Big Issue, 12 April

UK visa rules tore my family apart – and for others like us, it’s about to get much worse – The Guardian, 9 April

Government ‘working closely’ with council over RAF Scampton compromise – Lincolnshire Live, 11 April

Home Secretary hails new visa rules but families say salary changes ‘totally impossible’ – Evening Standard, 11 April

Kaldor Centre explainer: 3 things to know about displacement in Gaza, Kaldor Centre, 11 April

PSNI reported tens of thousands of migrant victims and witnesses of crime to immigration authorities – The Detail, 11 April

Will AirTanker Operate The UK Rwanda Deportation Flights? – AviationSource News, 11 April

Relevant articles chosen for you
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.