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

Free Movement Weekly Immigration Newsletter #5

Welcome to the weekly Free Movement newsletter!

Another week, another story about the Home Office unfairly refusing someone’s late application to the EUSS. This one seems particularly egregious. On that note, thanks again to all who attended our seminar on late applications last week, and a reminder that next week we are doing one on fee waivers.

There are two important consultations taking place at the moment that I wanted to highlight. The first is the Civil Legal Aid review, the deadline for response is 21 February. This covers important questions such as fees, career development and diversity as well as general suggestions for improvement. If any motivation is needed, we can look to our colleagues in criminal law, who had a big win last week in their ongoing battle to save legal aid. Refugee Action have produced a really helpful FAQ document

The second is the consultation on reforms to social housing allocations in England, announced last week. The part of this that will be of most interest to those working in immigration or who are migrants is the “UK connection test”. The proposal is that social housing will be unavailable to those who have not been lawfully resident in the UK for 10 years. It seems that this government is not yet finished with ensuring that newly recognised refugees are made homeless. Those who arrive via the limited resettlement options available will be exempt from the test. The deadline for this one is 26 March. 

As at 24 January, there were apparently no unaccompanied asylum seeking children staying in hotels, hopefully bringing and end to this practice, after a long fought battle. However this applies only to children who are accepted as such by the Home Office. This article from Refugee Council tells the story of three children who were placed in adult accommodation, and we know that there are many more like them. 

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On Free Movement last week, we covered some useful changes for business visitors that took effect on Wednesday, as well as the latest instalment in our tax series, this one on inheritance tax. We have been given a few dates for the diary by the Immigration Minister, for the next statements of changes as well as when various new thresholds will come into force. There has also been another flurry of cases (I still can’t see how this one is anything other than a recipe for disaster), details of those and what we have been reading elsewhere are below. 

Cheers, Sonia

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What we’re reading

The UK’s coming election and the politics of immigration: Five key themes – and what they mean – for any party wanting to govern for all – Social Market Foundation, 1 February

Death in the Channel – what led a 14-year-old boy to make fatal journey? – BBC News, 29 January

Family fortunes: The UK’s new income requirement for partner visas – Migration Observatory, 1 February

The discussion of immigration needs to improve – Alan Manning, 31 January

Rwanda Treaty and Bill and UK’s legal obligations towards victims of modern slavery – Modern Slavery & Human Rights Policy & Evidence Centre, 28 January

New asylum ‘crisis’ as Home Office errors add to avalanche of appeals – iNews, 4 February

Scampton: Asylum seekers could arrive from 14 April – BBC News, 2 February

Letter to the Immigration Minister following up the Committee’s visit to the Bibby Stockholm – Home Affairs Select Committee, 1 February

‘They need their parents’: Afghans in UK tell of pain of family separation – The Guardian, 30 January

New research reveals the alarming reality of child modern slavery in the UK and calls for urgent action to protect children – ECPAT and University of Nottingham Rights Lab, 30 January

Home Office asks for emergency £2.6bn after asylum seeker hotels overspend – The Guardian, 1 February

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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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