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

Free Movement Weekly Immigration Newsletter #19

Welcome to the weekly Free Movement newsletter!

It looks like the government has lost in the High Court in Northern Ireland this morning (Ed: remember the newsletter goes out by email on Mondays – sign up below!), in a challenge to the Illegal Migration Act brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Please just skip past the bit in the podcast where Colin said he thought this case would not succeed (it was all completely above my head so I declined to weigh in!). 

Thursday this week will be three weeks since the Safety of Rwanda Act passed and we now have our third judicial review. A pre action letter has been sent by Bhatt Murphy acting on behalf of Humans for Rights Network. This challenge centres around the risk of unaccompanied children being sent to Rwanda. This is because of the well-known problems with age assessments, which will only be exacerbated by the lack of safeguards in the processes used to send people to Rwanda.

On Friday we learned that the Home Office has conceded part of Asylum Aid’s claim at pre action stage. The Safety of Rwanda guidance has been updated as a result (here is a comparison with the old version). However they have not conceded all of it and so it seems that this claim will be lodged shortly. In the FDA’s judicial review, the Government Legal Department has had to issue a fairly cringeworthy change of position on when the earliest flights are intended to take place, so as to bring it in line with the Prime Minister’s speech. The earliest date now is apparently 24 June, although I did note that this from the Home Secretary last week said 9 to 11 weeks from 1 May which I make to be 3 July at the earliest. It’s almost as though none of them know what they are doing.

The latest evidence on the effectiveness of deterrence policies can be seen in Australia, where boats continue to arrive despite the country using a scheme similar to the UK’s Rwandan one for years now. One of those recently arrived boats held five Rwandans.

Away from Rwanda, despite the concerns of the modern slavery sector, the government has extended the seasonal agricultural worker visa for another five years. “Tying” an employee to their employer through their immigration status is known to facilitate abuse of workers. The latest in Emiliano Mellino and others’ excellent series of articles uncovering these issues looks at the thousands of care workers facing removal from the UK after their employer lost its sponsor licence.

On Free Movement, the latest podcast is out, I spent a bit of time going through my Rwanda briefing which will hopefully be useful for people. On the blog, I flagged up some important changes to the Adults at Risk guidance. We also published a write up of the recent Court of Appeal decision on damages payable to those subject to Home Office delays in having the “no recourse to public funds” restriction lifted from their leave.

Following recent changes to the immigration rules, we have also split into two and updated our post on the 10 (Appendix Long Residence) and 20 (Appendix Private Life) year routes. For a full summary of the week on the blog, as well as what we have been reading elsewhere (including some interesting articles for anyone following the graduate visa saga), just keep scrolling. 

Cheers, Sonia

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What we’re reading

What to look out for in the MAC review – Wonkhe, 13 May

The political argument over international students is about much more than the economy – Wonkhe, 13 May

Avoiding another international crash is all about control – Wonkhe, 13 May

To maintain its international reputation for quality, the UK needs graduate employment opportunities – Wonkhe, 13 May

Home Office ‘ignored’ warnings its eVisa rollout could lock vulnerable out of UK – iNews, 11 May

Travel chaos at airports across UK – as London and Manchester confirm nationwide border issue – Sky News, 7 May

Kent’s sharp rise in lone asylum-seeking children – BBC News, 10 May

Inadmissible Asylum Seekers, Volume 838: debated on Thursday 9 May 2024 – Hansard, House of Lords, 9 May

After Brook House: continued abuse in immigration detention – Jesuit Refugee Service, 8 May

Maternity Action, RCOG and RCM publish updated guidance on supporting access to maternity care for women affected by NHS charging – Maternity Action, 9 May

How we found Europe’s most wanted migrant-smuggler – BBC News, 10 May

‘We’re not allowed to bring our baby from Ukraine’: Refugees refused after sudden UK rule change – Independent, 12 May

Hundreds of potentially trafficked children ‘abandoned by Home Office’ – The Guardian, 8 May

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.

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