What you need to know before buying a property in the United Kingdom

This is the third of my series of articles where I have enlisted the help of my specialist private wealth and tax colleague Emma Read to explain what some of the legal consequences of moving to the UK may be for people, beyond the need to sort their immigration status. Today we are looking at property purchases. As a […]

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge and how much does it cost?

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee levied on the majority of UK visa applications. The Immigration Health Surcharge is on top of other Home Office immigration fees and designed to land in a different government pocket. Also sometimes known as the NHS surcharge, it essentially adds £1,035 per year per person to the […]

Briefing: Can criminals be denied refugee status?

The short answer is “yes, criminals can be denied refugee status.” There is a moral dimension to the Refugee Convention. But the criminal offence or offending must be particularly serious in nature. The offending or behaviour must be serious in nature because denying refugee status to a person and sending them into a situation of […]

What are the UK’s inheritance tax rules?

This is the second of my series of articles where I have enlisted the help of my specialist private wealth and tax colleague Emma Read to explain what some of the legal consequences of moving to the UK may be for people, beyond the need to sort their immigration status. People with assets in the UK need […]

More flexibility for business visitors from today

On 7 December 2023, the Government announced changes to the immigration rules relating to visitors with a new statement of changes. In short, the changes have created some flexibility to the permitted work-related activities that visitors can undertake and are primarily aimed at those conducting business in the UK. While this expands the activities that […]

Tax residence in the UK: when do people become liable for income and capital gains tax?

Most Free Movement content is, unsurprisingly, about movement (even if it’s not free these days). But what happens after movement to the UK? Well, two things are certain: death and taxes. Many immigration practitioners, myself included, are blissfully unaware of the numerous other legal consequences that might crop up outside the purview of the Home […]

Evidence and arguments in asylum claims based on gender-based violence

Gender-based violence is an umbrella term used to describe crimes including rape, domestic violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Women who are fleeing gender-based violence from their country of origin and enter the UK can seek protection and claim asylum in the UK on this basis. As practitioners who work in this area will […]

How to avoid the minimum income requirement for partners under Appendix FM

“This is a very dark day for many families who will be unable to meet the … new income requirement” commented Sonia on the day the Home Secretary announced that the minimum income requirement for partners under Appendix FM was going to be raised. Her view is shared by many immigration lawyers, bi-national couples and those […]

The inadmissibility process and the three new asylum backlogs

The latest statistics from the Home Office break down the “flow” backlog (i.e. asylum claims made on or after 28 June 2022) into three separate groups. It is important to understand the different ways that they are treated, all of which involve the inadmissibility process in some way. Taking them in chronological order and ignoring […]

Free Movement review of the year 2023

Every year I try to take stock, look back at the year that was and look ahead to the year that will be. I also take a quick look at what’s been going on at Free Movement. There were only two Home Secretaries appointed in the year just gone. That’s literally half the number of […]

Are safeguards from the harm caused by immigration detention working?

This article provides an overview of some of the safeguards available for those who are held in immigration detention, focussing particularly on those who have been victims of torture. These safeguards are all the more important following the expansion of detention powers under section 12 of the Illegal Migration Act. Despite the many changes, it […]

What is the no recourse to public funds condition?

The “no recourse to public funds” condition is imposed on grants of limited leave to enter or remain with the effect of prohibiting the person holding that leave from accessing certain defined public funds, set out at paragraph 6 of the immigration rules. A person who deliberately claims public funds despite such a condition is committing a […]

What is in the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill?

The Safety of Rwanda (Immigration and Asylum) Bill has been published. There is no explanatory memorandum that I have seen, so I have done my best without that to explain what is in the Bill. As was the case with the Illegal Migration Bill, it begins with a declaration by the Home Secretary that: I […]

Refugees can now claim Universal Credit without a biometric residence permit

Changes have been made to the evidence refugees need to apply for Universal Credit and they should now be able to access this with their grant letter and Asylum Registration Card (ARC). We have previously covered the issue of Home Office changes to the notice period for stopping asylum support and the issue has been […]

Briefing: four looming problems in the UK asylum system and how to address them

The asylum system seems finally to have turned a corner: the asylum backlog is starting to fall. The backlog is the single most important problem with the asylum system. Unlike arrivals, it is something the government can control. It creates huge financial costs for the taxpayer. It sucks money out of the international aid budget. […]

How to become an OISC level 2 adviser

This is the second in our series of blog posts on how to become an OISC adviser and we are writing this as we publish our new OISC Level 2 Accreditation online course, available only to members. Our first post covered what you need to do to register at level 1. Level 1 immigration advisers […]

Government should not routinely remove names of civil servants in judicial review disclosure

The High Court has told the government that they should not be routinely redacting the names of civil servants when disclosing documents in the course of judicial review proceedings. The substantive judicial review challenge is to the Houses in Multiple Occupation (Asylum-Seeker Accommodation) (England) Regulations 2023 which exempts asylum accommodation from the need to obtain […]

Court of Appeal says deportation of mother of British child not “unduly harsh”

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against the deportation of a mother with a British citizen child, finding that their separation would not be “unduly harsh”. The case is FN (Burundi) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] EWCA Civ 1350. Background The appellant is a citizen of Burundi who arrived […]

The UK must improve labour market enforcement in order to tackle exploitation of workers

The UK is falling significantly short of international labour standards. In fact, the government’s labour migration policy and wider hostile environment actively produces risks of labour exploitation. In 2022, labour exploitation was the most commonly reported form of adult modern slavery cases recorded on the National Referral Mechanism, amounting to 39% of all recorded cases. […]

Reflections on the Supreme Court’s Rwanda judgment

This post reflects on Wednesday’s momentous Supreme Court decision in the Rwanda litigation. You can read Colin’s initial take on the judgment here. The Supreme Court’s decision To recap, the Supreme Court decided that there are substantial grounds for believing that the removal of any asylum seeker to Rwanda under the terms of the Migration […]

Briefing: Article 1D of the Refugee Convention and Palestinian refugees

Immigration lawyers tend to have a good grasp of the definition of a refugee. We can confidently recite the “well-founded fear” definition at Article 1(A)(2) of the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees (the “Refugee Convention”) which, if met, can lead our clients to a grant of refugee status. Article 1D and its meaning […]

Supreme Court finds Rwanda is not a safe country to which refugees can be removed

The Supreme Court has today held that Rwanda is not a safe country and that it would be unlawful for refugees to be removed there. The government’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s judgment has been dismissed. Lord Reed, giving the court’s judgment, emphasised the non-political nature of the court’s role, which was to decide the […]

Making sense of sole responsibility for child visas in immigration law

child laptop

The “sole responsibility” immigration test comes into play where one of the parents of a child is relocating to the United Kingdom and one parent remains abroad. The United Kingdom’s immigration rules effectively presume that a child should remain outside the country with the other parent, unless the parent moving to the UK can show […]

Assessing Braverman’s legacy as Home Secretary: Part Deux

She managed longer than 43 days this time. But achieved little if anything more the second time around. Braverman forced the Illegal Migration Act 2023 through Parliament in record time on the basis that it was desperately urgent. Almost all of the legislation has not yet been brought into force. We keep talking about running […]

Gaza: what is the UK doing to rescue British citizens and their family members?

The UK government is limiting evacuations from Gaza to British citizens only, forcing families to separate if any of them are to be safe, leaving others in extremely dangerous circumstances. It has been one month since the war started, and Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza has intensified during this time. Schools, shelters, hospitals and ambulances […]

What are the 10 and 20 year rules on long residence?

The immigration rules allow people to apply to remain in the UK on the basis of long residence. Those here lawfully can apply for indefinite leave to remain following 10 years’ continuous lawful residence in the UK. Those who had periods of overstaying can apply for limited leave to remain following 20 years’ continuous residence. […]

Over half the people seeking asylum are now unable to access a legal aid lawyer

At least 51% of asylum applicants in England and Wales – 37,450 people – are now unable to find a legal aid lawyer. That is the deficit between the number of new legal aid cases opened (‘matters’) and the number of new applications for asylum. This analysis comes from Freedom of Information data on immigration […]

Medico-legal reports: how to instruct and common mistakes to avoid

Here, we look at the practicalities involved in getting a good medico-legal report. We have previously explained what a medico-legal report is and that article should be read alongside this one. These reports can be a game changer in cases involving vulnerable clients, but in the current climate it is more important than ever that […]

What is a medico-legal report?

close up photo of a stethoscope

This article provides an overview of what a medico-legal report is, the different types of reports available and when they should be used. A medico-legal report is frequently used to document the psychological and/or physical result of torture and other forms of ill-treatment which an individual has been subjected to. They are written by qualified […]

The effect of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 on the fishing industry

Changes made by section 43 of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 will have a wide-ranging effect on UK maritime sectors and risks some vessels unintentionally incurring illegal working fines. This is because the changes alter some long established and fundamental concepts of UK immigration law concerning what it means to “enter” the UK. The […]

Safe Passage report: the case for safe routes 

Last week, we at Safe Passage published our Routes to Safety report, which makes recommendations for a new compassionate and competent approach to dangerous journeys across the channel.  Implementing our proposals could disrupt the smuggler’s business model, save lives and uphold the UK’s commitment to protect refugees.   Safe routes work  At Safe Passage, we know that refugees will […]

Free Movement 2023 reader survey results

We had slightly over 1,100 responses to our 2023 Free Movement reader survey. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. We really appreciate it. Every single response has been read and considered. As we did last time, we’ve tried to summarise as well as analyse what you all think about Free […]

Briefing: what is the law on deporting foreign criminals and their human rights?

plane airport british airways

Deportation proceedings pit the rights of the individual against those of the state, appointed guardian of the public interest. And as very clearly stated in primary legislation, the deportation of foreign criminals is in the public interest. The law in this area is rent through with politics, shifting relentlessly with headlines, changes to rules or […]

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