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

Free Movement Weekly Immigration Newsletter #4

Welcome to the weekly Free Movement newsletter!

A lot less happened last week, which makes a nice change. The first thing I wanted to flag up is this Guardian article in which the Home Office said that it has been wrongly sending letters threatening people with being sent to Rwanda. As detailed in the article, these letters can have extremely serious consequences, and the lack of care being taken over them is appalling.

Still no movement from the government on extensions of visas for Ukrainians. As indicated by the minister, very soon people whose leave expires in March 2025 are likely to run into problems with renting or finding jobs, so this delay cannot continue much longer without causing substantial harm to people. 

On evictions, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit has published a new briefing on the situation for newly recognised refugees in Manchester who are being made homeless. 

As expected, following debate last Monday the House of Lords voted in support of the motion that the treaty with Rwanda should not be ratified until the protections set out in it have been fully implemented by Rwanda. The Rwanda bill has its second reading in the House of Lords today. 

On Free Movement, I wrote up the latest unlawful secret policy being operated at the Home Office and uncovered by Asylum Aid in the case of XY. I am going to write up the duty of candour issues in a separate post shortly. Related to this, the government’s appeal has been dismissed in the recent case dealing with redactions to the names of junior civil servants in disclosure. That decision was also referred to in XY’s case.

There was also a briefing on how to approach asylum claims based on gender based violence, plus a few other case rounds up, details of which can be found below. We also published the first in a series of articles by John Vassiliou looking at some practical considerations and tips for those who may be moving to or otherwise deemed resident in the UK. Last week’s was on residence for tax purposes

I also wrote up the latest changes to the EU Settlement Scheme. Our webinar on making late applications to the scheme is taking place on Wednesday. Loads of people have already signed up, so don’t miss out. This will be a really useful session on an area where there have been a lot of changes in the past several months. 

Read on for a full round up of all articles from us and elsewhere. 

Cheers, Sonia

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What we’re reading

Indonesian fruit picker landed in debt bondage challenges Home Office – The Guardian, 26 January

Jeff King: The House of Lords, Constitutional Propriety, and the Safety of Rwanda Bill – UK Constitutional Law Association, 26 January

British betrayal of Afghan special forces sniper left languishing in UK hotel for 17 months without asylum – Independent, 28 January

Three arrested in fake immigration law firm raid – GOV.UK, 25 January

Experiences of displaced young people living in England – Office for National Statistics, 23 January

RAF Scampton: Confusion remains over lack of healthcare details – Lincolnshire Live, 25 January

A father who risks being sent to a war zone. Just one case the home secretary says is ‘too complex’ to clear – Independent, 25 January

Student Migration to the UK – Migration Observatory, 24 January 

Migrant Work, Gender and the Hostile Environment: A Human Rights Analysis – Natalie Sedacca, 13 January

Whitehall Monitor 2024: Part 1: How the civil service changed in 2023 – Institute for Government, 16 January

Home Offices set to evict hundreds of asylum seekers from Walthamstow hotel – Waltham Forest Echo, 23 January

Lift the Ban statement in response to misleading media reports – Asylum Matters, 22 January

Research Briefing: Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill: HL Bill 41 of 2023-24 – House of Lords Library, 25 January

Stop the boats policy a ‘fake response’ to migration issues – UN – BBC News, 25 January

Rwanda flights: Britain reminded of obligation to obey ECHR orders – The Guardian, 26 January

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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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