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

Free Movement Weekly Immigration Newsletter #22

Welcome to the weekly Free Movement newsletter!

Let’s start off with some litigation updates. As part of the FDA’s judicial review which remains listed for Thursday this week, the government has told the High Court that it will not carry out enforced removals to Rwanda before the election. That confirmation was formally requested by the court and will no doubt be a helpful admission in relation to the unlawful detention challenges that are officially underway for those people who were rounded up immediately prior to the local elections, purportedly for a flight to Rwanda.

In other challenges, a directions hearing is listed for today in Asylum Aid’s challenge the Rwanda scheme, where it may be linked with an individual’s case. Separately, the government’s request for a stay on the decision that certain sections of the Illegal Migration Act should be disapplied in Northern Ireland has been rejected.

One of the ongoing issues I try to ensure that we cover is modern slavery and exploitation related to the use of visas where people are “tied” to their employer. The problem is receiving increasing media coverage which is good to see. This week, we have had a story about how four UN special rapporteurs wrote to the foreign secretary raising concerns about the risks of seasonal agricultural workers being exploited, weeks before the scheme was extended to 2029. The Guardian has covered similar abuses within the care sector, largely facilitated by some overseas agents.

On Free Movement, case write ups last week included one on an unsuccessful challenge to the lack of legal aid provision for those trying to navigate the Windrush compensation scheme, and this one on cheating in English language tests. I also updated our article on safe and legal routes with the latest statistics and Rachel did our explainer on the Hong Kong BNO route which now includes the problematic new fee waiver process. 

Don’t forget that today is the last day you can get 20% off a booking on our family reunion webinar taking place on 17 June. Details of our other upcoming webinars can be found on our training page. 

Read on for the rest of the week here and elsewhere.

Cheers, Sonia

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What we’re reading

Mental health crisis unfolds at RAF Wethersfield mass containment site: Doctors of the World and Médecins sans Frontières call for urgent site closure – Doctors of the World, 31 May

UK election 2024: immigration policy tracker – Migration Observatory, 28 May

‘Why are you going back, after all we did to get out?’: returning to the Kenyan refugee camp that shaped my childhood – The Guardian, 1 June

“They’re taunting me”: Home Office asylum interviews are retraumatising rape survivors – The Lead, 31 May

‘I’m frightened’: the asylum seekers rounded up to be sent to Rwanda – The Guardian, 28 May

‘My children haven’t been to school since January’ – BBC News, 30 May

Families in UK in ‘state of limbo’ due to backlog of visa fee waiver applications – The Guardian, 29 May

Council reaches ‘agreement in principle’ with the Home Office on dual use of former RAF Scampton site – West Lindsey District Council, 28 May

Asylum seekers report widespread abuse in Home Office accommodation – The Guardian, 3 June

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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.

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