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

In case you missed it: immigration in the media, 9-16 February


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Here’s your round-up of the immigration and asylum stories that made national headlines this week.

Legal aid worries

The number of people given legal aid for immigration cases is lower than in any previous quarter on record, BuzzFeed News reports, alongside some on-the-ground reporting from Hatton Cross. (Compare and contrast with my own poor effort, which includes a short interview with Emily Dugan, author of the BuzzFeed piece.)

Asylum accommodation

The Observer reports on the latest indictment of conditions in government accommodation for asylum seekers. Refugee Rights Europe found “terrible hygiene standards and widespread problems with vermin”.

Asylum interviews

“10 examples of absurdity from the Home Office” did the rounds on Twitter over the weekend, having run in the Guardian. The asylum interview gaffes featured were to accompany a different story containing whistleblower allegations of poor quality decision-making. Both are sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

NHS immigration fears

Both the Financial Times (£) and ITV News dug into the complaints of NHS hospitals that the Tier 2 visa cap means doctors are being turned away. Employers told the FT that they are ““increasingly concerned at their inability to obtain permits for essential medical colleagues”, calling for an exemption for medical staff. University Hospitals Birmingham and Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge have both complained of junior doctors having applications rejected.

Brexit migration preparations

Preparation for one major aspect of post-Brexit immigration control – registering EU new arrivals during the proposed 2019-2021 transition period – is off schedule, reports the Times. The paper’s sources say that “work on a separate registration scheme had ‘barely begun’ and ‘almost certainly’ would not be ready in time.”

This is separate from other Home Office immigration projects, such as settled status for existing EU residents and long-term policy towards European migrants. Joseph Owen of the Institute for Government has an excellent Twitter explanation of where the various strands of work fit together.

Good Friday Disagreement

The Guardian has an update on the case of Emma and Jake DeSouza, whose successful reliance on the Good Friday Agreement to override immigration law in the First-tier Tribunal has been upheld to the extent that permission to appeal was initially refused. Followers of Free Movement on Twitter will have seen us share a piece by Ms DeSouza containing this news a week previously, and we’ve since learned that the Home Office has appealed directly to the Upper Tribunal. A decision on that application is not expected for months; I’ll keep you posted.

Home Affairs report

As also seen on Free Movement, the Home Affairs committee report on preparations for immigration post-Brexit made waves on Wednesday, from the HuffPost to the Sun. Committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper blogged about the report for the Times.

Not ‘appy

Lisa O’Carroll has some details on a nifty Home Office app designed to make post-Brexit settled status applications a breeze – although her Guardian story warns that it is now “back to the drawing board” after the Prime Minister’s recent spat with Brussels over new arrivals from Europe.

Business sounds immigration alarm

The Guardian reports on an article written for it by Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce warning of labour shortages and slamming the delay in the immigration White Paper.

Immigration fee injustice

Finishing as we started, with a BuzzFeed News piece. “Since fees for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) were introduced by Labour in 2003 they have gone up by more than 1,300%”, the website says in an article focusing on the exorbitant cost of immigration applications. It follows a BBC article looking at the cost of citizenship, which we’ve also looked at in a recent guest post.


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