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When is the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 coming into force?


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The Nationality and Borders Act 2022 was signed into law on 28 April 2022. But there is a difference between a law being “on the statute books” after being passed by Parliament and it actually being “in force”. As we explain below, some of the Act came into force on 28 April and some on 28 June. But it is not quite so simple as that. Some of the powers in the Act are to make regulations and the regulations are not yet made. And other provisions only come into effect for asylum claims made on or after 28 June, so they do not take immediate effect in existing asylum cases.

Still further sections of the Act are not yet in force in any shape or form, and await Home Office regulations to bring them on stream.

From 28 April 2022

The commencement provisions are found in section 87 of the Act. Section 87 provides that a handful of provisions came into force straight away, on 28 April:

Some other sections of the Act also came into force on the day it became law, insofar as they allow the Home Secretary to make or consult on regulations:

From 28 June 2022

Then there are a bunch of provisions which, by virtue of section 87(5), come into force at a known date in the future. This is after “two months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed” — so 28 June 2022. Those provisions are:

(a) section 28 (claims certified as clearly unfounded: removal of right of appeal);

(b) paragraphs 5 to 19 of Schedule 4, and section 29 so far as it relates to those paragraphs (removal of asylum seeker to safe third country);

(c) section 30(1), (2) and (4) to (6) (Refugee Convention: general);

(d) sections 31 to 36 and 38 (interpretation of Refugee Convention);

(e) section 39 (interpretation of Part 2);

(f) section 44 (power to search container);

(g) section 49(1) to (4) (interpretation of Part 4);

(h) sections 72 and 74 (visa penalties in relation to uncooperative countries);

(i) section 78 (counter-terrorism questioning of detained entrants away from place of arrival).

Section 30(5) states that the provisions on the interpretation of the Refugee Convention (section 30(1) and (2) and sections 31 to 36) only come into effect for decisions made on or after 28 June 2022; in appeals decided on or after 28 June 2022, the new provisions only apply if the decision under challenge was made before 28 June 2022.

Some of these provisions, in particular those on removing asylum seekers to a “safe third country” (Rwanda), are accompanied by changes to the Immigration Rules which also came into force on 28 June.

All other provisions will come into force on dates specified in commencement orders. The first commencement order is the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 (Commencement No. 1, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022 No. 590).

Schedule 1 of the Commencement Order No. 1 lists the sections that took effect on 28 June 2022. They include the two-tier refugee status, inadmissibility and third country removal rules at the heart of the Act; the outlandish new or toughened criminal offences in section 40; and the power to require people who don’t need a UK visa to get an electronic travel authorisation. Schedule 1 in full:

Provisions of the 2022 Act coming into force on 28th June 2022

1.  Section 1 (historical inability of mothers to transmit citizenship).

2.  Section 2 (historical inability of unmarried fathers to transmit citizenship).

3.  Section 4 (sections 1 and 2: related British citizenship), except to the extent that section 4K(1)(a) of the British Nationality Act 1981(1), inserted by section 4(2) of the 2022 Act, refers to section 17H of the British Nationality Act 1981.

4.  Section 5 (period for registration of person born outside the British overseas territories).

5.  Section 6 (disapplication of historical registration requirements).

6.  Section 7 (citizenship where mother married to someone other than natural father).

7.  Section 8 (citizenship: registration in special cases).

8.  Section 9 (requirements for naturalisation etc) and Schedule 1 (waiver of requirement of presence in UK etc), except for paragraph 3(4)(d) of that Schedule.

9.  Section 11 (citizenship: stateless minors).

10.  Section 12 (differential treatment of refugees).

11.  Section 13(1) and (3) (accommodation for asylum seekers etc).

12.  Section 14(1), (2), (6) and (7) (requirement to make asylum claim at “designated place”), so far as not already in force.

13.  Section 14(3) and (5), for the purposes of section 15 (asylum claims by EU nationals: inadmissibility) and section 16 (asylum claims by persons with connection to safe third State: inadmissibility).

14.  Section 15 (asylum claims by EU nationals: inadmissibility).

15.  Section 16 (asylum claims by persons with connection to safe third State: inadmissibility).

16.  Section 17 (clarification of basis for support where asylum claim inadmissible).

17.  Section 29 (removal of asylum seeker to safe third country), so far as not already in force, and paragraphs 1 to 4 of Schedule 4.

18.  Section 30(3) (interpretation of Refugee Convention).

19.  Section 37 (Article 31(1): immunity from penalties).

20.  Section 40 (illegal entry and similar offences), save in so far as it relates to the insertion of section 24(E1) into the 1971 Act.

21.  Section 41 (assisting unlawful immigration or asylum seeker).

22.  Section 45 and Schedule 7 (maritime enforcement).

23.  Section 46(6) (amendment to section 10(10) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999).

24.  Section 47 (prisoners liable to removal from the United Kingdom) and Schedule 8 (prisoners returning to the UK: modifications of Criminal Justice Act 2003).

25.  Section 48 (matters relevant to decisions relating to immigration bail).

26.  Section 75 (electronic travel authorisations).

27.  Section 77 (Special Immigration Appeals Commission).

28.  Section 79 (references to justices of the peace in relation to Northern Ireland).

29.  Section 82 (pre-consolidation amendments of immigration legislation), so far as not already in force.

There are some transitional provisions in Schedule 2 of the Order. Importantly, section 12 on “differential treatment of refugees” does not apply to anyone who lodged their claim before 28 June. So those who got their claim in before the axe fell should, if successful, be entitled to proper refugee status rather than at risk of being put in Group 2 and getting “temporary refugee permission”.

We are updating our training course on the Nationality and Borders Act (available now to paying members) to reflect commencement orders as they are made. The course contents are below.

Module 1Introduction and commencement
Unit 1Introduction 
Unit 2Commencement 
Module 2Citizenship reforms (Part 1)
Unit 1Introduction 
Unit 2British Overseas Territories Citizenship 
Unit 3British citizenship 
Unit 4Discretionary adult registration 
Unit 5Naturalisation for Windrush victims 
Unit 6Deprivation of citizenship 
Unit 7Registration of stateless children 
Module 3The asylum process (Part 2)
Unit 1Differential treatment of asylum seekers 
Unit 2Accommodation for asylum seekers 
Unit 3Place of claim 
Unit 4Treating asylum claims as inadmissible 
Unit 5Priority Removal Notices 
Unit 6Late evidence and weight 
Unit 7Credibility and good faith 
Unit 8Fast track and out of country appeals 
Unit 9Offshore processing 
Module 4(Re)interpreting the Refugee Convention (Part 3)
Unit 1Introduction 
Unit 2Translating EU asylum law 
Unit 3A new split standard of proof 
Unit 4Changing the test for "particular social group" 
Unit 5Removing protections against penalising refugees 
Unit 6Lowering the “particularly serious crime” threshold 
Module 5Criminalising asylum (Part 3)
Unit 1Criminalising seeking asylum 
Unit 2Criminalising assisting asylum seekers 
Unit 3Maritime enforcement 
Module 6Immigration enforcement (Part 3)
Unit 1Working in UK waters: offshore workers 
Unit 2Lorries and containers 
Unit 3Removal notice periods 
Unit 4Immigration bail decisions 
Module 7Age Assessments (Part 4)
Unit 1Introduction 
Unit 2Who will conduct age assessments and when? 
Unit 3How will age assessments be conducted? 
Unit 4Appeals and new information 
Module 8Modern Slavery (Part 5)
Unit 1Introduction 
Unit 2Slavery or trafficking information notices (STINs) 
Unit 3Restricting protection for victims of trafficking 
Unit 4Restrictions to recovery period 
Unit 5Assistance, support and leave to remain 
Module 9Miscellaneous provisions (Part 6)
Unit 1Visa penalties 
Unit 2Electronic travel authorisations 
Unit 3National security 
Unit 4Costs 
Unit 5Immigration Act consolidation 
Unit 6Final quiz 
Unit 7Feedback form 

This article was originally published on 17 May 2022 and has been updated so that it is correct as of the new date of publication shown.

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Free Movement

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.