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

Immigration bail policy updated


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The Home Office has updated its policy guidance on immigration bail, with a couple of changes to note.

First, asylum seekers who have exhausted their appeal rights will no longer automatically be subject to study restrictions. This is the result of successful litigation from Hannah Baynes at Duncan Lewis, and is not the first time the Home Office has given ground on this issue.

The Secretary of State will now need to properly consider whether a restriction on studying is “necessary on the facts of the individual’s case”. It is difficult to think of a situation where barring people from education could be considered “necessary”, so hopefully this rather mean-spirited provision will fall out of use.

Second, the Home Office will now have five working days to decide whether someone who is not detained should be granted bail accommodation under Schedule 10 of the Immigration Act 2016. For certain groups, such as homeless people or pregnant women, officials will make “reasonable efforts” to ensure a decision within two working days.

Accommodation delays are still a big issue for those working with detained clients. Lengthy delays responding to accommodation requests, often after bail has been granted “in principle” by an immigration judge, has kept hundreds in detention for prolonged periods.

While time limits for considering accommodation requests are a welcome change, the Home Office may be missing the point by focusing solely on non-detained people. There’s no reason why these provisions couldn’t apply to those inside detention as well.

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Larry Lock

Larry Lock

Larry works at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors. He previously managed the Prisons Project at Bail for Immigration Detainees, and was a senior caseworker in the immigration department at Wilson Solicitors LLP.