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

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


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

Far-right activists denied entry

Last weekend, the Evening Standard and Mail picked up on the travails of three far-right YouTube stars excluded from the UK on the ground that their presence was not conducive to the public good. The intervention of Nigel Farage — see BuzzFeed — ensured that the story carried on all week. The BBC’s Trending page has run an explainer on “Why 3 far-right activists were refused entry to the UK”, although as it contains zero references to the Immigration Rules it obviously has nothing on my version.

Free movement until 2021 confirmed

A Cabinet sub-committee charged with overseeing the Brexit negotiations — or as the Sun puts it, “Theresa May’s Brexit war committee” — has signed off on an approach to transition out of the EU that would keep free movement largely intact until 31 December 2021. The latest estimate of the cost of Brexit in civil service man-hours alone is £2 billion, the Financial Times (£) reports, citing the respected Institute for Government think tank.

Detainee’s children taken into care

A Nigerian man was taken into immigration detention despite being in sole charge of four children, with the result that they were taken into care. This was contrary to Home Office policy in place to prevent just such a scenario. Celia Clarke of Bail for Immigration Detainees is quoted in the Guardian‘s report.

Asylum seeker attackers jailed

Six young men have been sentenced to between two and four years each for a brutal assault on a 17-year-old Kurdish asylum seeker, the Mail reports.

Brexit citizenship applications

The Guardian has used Freedom of Information requests to report on a sharp rise in British citizenship applications from nationals of different EU countries since the Brexit vote.

Torture victims detained

“The Home Office is holding torture victims with high levels of mental health need in immigration detention in breach of the law”, the Independent reports of the prison inspector’s latest report on Harmondsworth detention centre. See our piece for more detail.

Londoner sent NHS cancer bill

Another sad case of a West Indian immigrant unable to satisfy the Home Office of his immigration status has gained the attention of Theresa May after the situation was raised in Parliament by Jeremy Corbyn. A 63-year-old man originally from Jamaica, going under the pseudonym Albert Thompson on legal advice, is being asked by his local NHS trust to pay £54,000 for cancer care unless he can prove that he is ordinarily resident. This is despite living in the UK for 44 years, the Guardian reports. Jeremy Bloom of Duncan Lewis and the charity Praxis are on the case.

Common Travel Area concerns

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of MPs has released a report on the Irish border which is widely reported. The headlines focus on the impossibility of avoiding economic border controls with the UK set to leave the EU single market and customs union, but the BBC also notes the recommendations touching on migration:

  • The government should set out in detail how it proposes to manage immigration through internal controls.
  • Ministers should clarify how the Common Travel Area between the United Kingdom and Ireland protects the special status of British and Irish citizens in each other’s countries and potentially create new legal guarantees.

Meanwhile, Sky News reports that the government has been consulting on a “Throw Open the Borders option”, although it is not clear whether the notion of simply not enforcing the international border in the event of no Brexit deal would apply to people as well as goods.

Family reunion bill

MPS have just voted to give the Refugees (Family Reunion) (No. 2) Bill a second reading. Immigration minister Caroline Nokes had earlier written a blog for the Times giving the government’s reasons for opposing the draft law, which would make the rules on refugees bringing in family members more liberal and reinstate legal aid for family reunion cases. Alex Fraser of the British Red Cross has more at HuffPost UK, while the Independent speaks to a Syrian family torn apart by the current restrictions.


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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.