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

In case you missed it: immigration in the media, 26 January – 2 February


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Another bumper week – but then, immigration and asylum are hardly ever out of the headlines these days.

EU citizens in immigration detention

The number of EEA nationals held in immigration detention has increased sharply in recent years, from 768 in 2009 to 4,701 in 2016, according to figures secured by the Scottish National Party and reported by the i on Saturday.

Sponsoring Syrians

HuffPost UK wants you to “Meet The People Trying To Bring Syrian Refugees To Their Street” via the official sponsorship scheme.

No doctors need apply

The redoubtable Amelia Hill reports for the Guardian that “the Home Office is forcing an NHS doctor to leave the country rather than give her three-year-old daughter, currently living with her dangerously ill grandparents in Egypt, permission to come to the UK”. The case has been taken up by the local MP, Preet Kaur Gill.

Meanwhile the Financial Times (£) reports that doctors wishing to come to the UK continue to be turned away (see last week’s edition) as the UK has hit its cap on skilled visas for non-EU workers for the second month running.

Migrant protest

A protest against immigration policy by a group called Highly Skilled Migrants made Tuesday’s Guardian. “Skilled migrants with excellent educational and professional skills are being refused ILR on the ground of ‘tax error rectification’”, a spokesperson for the group complains. See Nath’s recent post on this for details.

Family reunification report

A report by Oxfam and the Refugee Council shows that “people who have fled war torn countries are developing mental health problems as a result of being separated from grandparents, siblings and children because of the Home Office’s ‘damaging’ reunification policies”, the Independent reports.

Health data fears

The Health Committee of MPs has urged NHS authorities to stop sharing patient data with the Home Office so that it can be used for immigration enforcement. Politics.co.uk has the story. It comes as an application for judicial review of the practice by the Migrants’ Rights Network was refused permission. The charity will appeal.


The Guardian is among the outlets to report on a Policy Exchange report by influential academic David Goodhart, which suggests that priority for “low-skilled” work visas should be given to migrants willing to work antisocial hours. The JCWI are quoted trashing the idea, but you don’t have to be a raging lefty to think it a bit nuts:

Grenfell amnesty allegations

The Independent alleges that survivors of the Grenfell tower fire could be in line for deportation now that the deadline for applying for an amnesty has passed, although the Home Office has come out all guns blazing with a rebuttal blog stressing that “anyone eligible who approaches us after this date will still be considered for leave outside the immigration rules as an exceptional case”.

Right to Rent challenge

Politics.co.uk has a summary of two challenges to the government’s right to rent scheme, one by Camden Community Law Centre and the other by JCWI.

Free movement during Brexit transition

Brexit came roaring back into the headlines on Thursday, with Theresa May trying to stake out a new red line: no pathway to settlement for new arrivals from the EU during the transition period both sides want to soften the economic blow of Brexit.

As Bloomberg reports: “Britain’s leader said there should be different rights for European nationals who arrive in the U.K. before Brexit day next year compared with those who go there during the 21-month transition. Both sides agreed on the earlier date in an interim deal in December, but the EU now wants a later expiry if the U.K. is to get what the government calls the implementation period”.

The Guardian‘s Alan Travis points out that difference of treatment for migrants arriving after March 2019 was foreshadowed in September’s leaked Home Office immigration paper. The Express gives a flavour of the right-wing reaction to the notion of free movement continuing during transition, while Reuters sets out the latest EU reaction. Needless to say, they are rather different.

The BBC‘s Reality Check team take a look at the claim by anti-immigration group Migration Watch that a million EU immigrants could arrive in the UK if free movement does continue during the transition. “Potentially, but unlikely”, the researchers says.

Brook House brought to book

The BBC also reports yesterday’s High Court victory over Muslim detainees being forced to pray next to a toilet, in a case brought by Duncan Lewis. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of a published judgment yet, but as ever we’ll bring it to you when it does emerge.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.