All Articles: Refugees

All successful applications for asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK result in the grant of five years leave to remain, on what is known as a “protection route”. People granted leave on a protection route are then eligible to apply for settlement on completion of those five years. Their...

23rd May 2024
BY Philippa Roffey

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...

28th November 2023
BY Colin Yeo

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...

15th November 2023
BY Colin Yeo

This post is intended for refugees (including those with humanitarian protection), their families and their friends trying to understand the rules on refugee family reunion. The requirements to be met are fairly straightforward and simple for children and partners who existed at the time the refugee fled their country of origin. These...

7th September 2023
BY Colin Yeo

Following the outbreak of the conflict in Sudan earlier this year the UK government evacuated thousands of people. This included a number of Sudanese nationals, some of whom were single parents accompanying their British children. What their current entitlements and next steps are is unclear.   There is no published...

23rd August 2023
BY Katherine Soroya

The mantra of “safe and legal routes” is regularly repeated by the government when justifying increasingly draconian legislation in an attempt to prevent refugees from travelling to the UK under their own steam. The argument is that refugees should use these safe and legal routes instead of arriving in small...

12th July 2023
BY Sonia Lenegan

Over and over again we hear that refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country the reach. There are variations on the theme. Genuine refugees claim asylum in the first safe country. Refugees should or even must claim asylum in the first safe country. The asylum seekers coming to...

21st June 2023
BY Colin Yeo

Lawyers do not own the word “refugee”. The term has been in use since the eighteenth century and has its own evocative, wider meaning in the public consciousness. Those fleeing Ukraine or relocating to the United Kingdom from Hong Kong can validly be referred to as “refugees”, for example, even...

19th June 2023
BY colinyeo

The government is right that the asylum backlog needs to be urgently addressed, but the Illegal Migration Bill will not tackle the backlog in any meaningful sense and could cause devastating harm to the rights of some of the most persecuted people in the world and the international refugee system....

11th April 2023
BY Jo Hynes

One of the changes to immigration law made by the government in response to the sharp increase in small boat crossings was the creation of a ten year route to settlement for refugees. This followed the commencement of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, although the change was wrought by an...

9th February 2023
BY Colin Yeo

The High Court has concluded in the case of AAA and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 3230 (Admin) that the UK government’s Rwanda plan is lawful. The individual decisions in the case were inadequate and will need to be re-made, but that is no...

19th December 2022
BY Colin Yeo

Back in the heady days of 2019, journalist Jon Stone started what turned out to be a very long thread on Twitter. Over and over and over again, he wrote “Abolish the Home Office”. Every tweet linked to example after example after example of appalling conduct by officials at the...

24th November 2022
BY Colin Yeo

It has been reported that thousands of Russian men are fleeing their country in order to avoid being conscripted into the army. Miles long queues of cars have built up at the border into Georgia. This comes on top of the tens of thousands of young Russians and intellectuals who...

27th September 2022
BY Colin Yeo

The government’s new rules on inadmissibility in asylum claims have come into force and now apply to asylum claims made on or after 28 June 2022. These rules set out the circumstances where an asylum claim will be put on hold while the Home Office tries to remove the asylum...

5th September 2022
BY Katherine Soroya

The current immigration rules on when a refugee may be joined by family members — often referred to as refugee family reunion — are woefully outdated and simply do not reflect the nature of modern families. Reform is long overdue. But in the meantime, it is feasible to make successful...

10th August 2022
BY Decla Palmer

A Syrian refugee who paid £440 to secure settlement appointments despite being heavily in debt has lost a High Court bid to get his money back. The case is R (MS) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 1413 (Admin). Home Office policy says that applying for...

19th July 2022
BY CJ McKinney

Asylum lawyers like me tend to focus on just one clause of the Refugee Convention: the definition of a refugee. This is the gateway to formal recognition as a refugee and is therefore of vital importance to any person seeking asylum. From this definition, set out at Article 1A(2) of...

22nd June 2022
BY Colin Yeo

Whilst many of us were focused on the Rwanda flight, injunction applications and subsequent appeals, the government on 13 June 2022 made some further announcements about the long-delayed Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme. The glacial pace of progress for the Afghan scheme might be contrasted by a cynic with the rapid...

17th June 2022
BY Sarah Pinder

In C-349/20 NB and AB v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Court of Justice of the European Union has again addressed the question of when Palestinian refugees are entitled to refugee status under EU law. This is the fourth major judgment on this issue we have seen...

6th May 2022
BY Grace Capel

My textbook on refugee law, imaginatively entitled Refugee Law, is published today. It is aimed principally at undergraduate and graduate students on refugee law courses, or related courses where students need to learn about refugee law and the protection of refugees. It will also be useful to lawyers and advisers...

26th April 2022
BY Colin Yeo

A successful application for asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK results in the grant of five years’ permission to stay, on what is known as a “protection route”. People granted permission on a protection route then need to apply for settlement, or “indefinite leave to remain”, shortly before the...

11th April 2022
BY Philippa Roffey

With all the talk of “bespoke” humanitarian schemes, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s refusal to use the word “refugee” and the rejection of the international system for the protection of refugees we see in the Nationality and Borders Bill currently before Parliament, you would be forgiven for thinking the Refugee Convention...

8th March 2022
BY Colin Yeo

On 28 February 2022 the Home Secretary told the House of Commons that a “bespoke humanitarian route” was being introduced for those fleeing the unlawful invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The word refugee was notable in its absence from that and from the subsequent speech a day later. The original...

7th March 2022
BY Sonia Lenegan

Yesterday, at least 27 people drowned in the Channel. We do not know exactly how many died yesterday or in recent months because the bodies are sometimes lost. A family of five were reported as drowned in October 2020 but the body of one of the children, Artin, aged 15...

25th November 2021
BY Colin Yeo

The Court of Session in Scotland and the High Court in England and Wales have both ruled that newly recognised refugees have a right to claim backdated child tax credit. The cases are Adnan, Petitioners [2021] CSOH 63 and R (DK) v Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs [2021] EWHC 1845...

7th July 2021
BY Bilaal Shabbir

No matter how devastating may be epidemic, natural disaster or famine, a person fleeing them is not a refugee within the terms of the Convention. A v Minister for Immigration & Ethnic Affairs [1997] HCA 4 (Aus HC) As the High Court of Australia highlights in the quote above, there...

18th June 2021
BY Colin Yeo

Fouad Kakaei is an Iranian man who helped steer small boats carrying asylum seekers across the English Channel on two separate occasions, in July and December 2019. He also attempted to cross on several other occasions. Following the July 2019 crossing, he did not claim asylum here in the UK...

14th May 2021
BY Colin Yeo

The Supreme Court has reiterated that — for now — UK law prohibits removal of a person “who can be understood to seek refugee status” and who has an outstanding asylum claim or appeal. The case is G v G [2021] UKSC 9 and involved a child whose mother was...

19th March 2021
BY Colin Yeo

Human beings crossing the English Channel are making headlines again. The number of people who reach the UK via this extremely difficult, dangerous but lawful route is minuscule, and the total number claiming international protection here insignificant compared with the situation in many other countries, yet these stories continue to...

12th August 2020
BY Chris Desira

DH (Particular Social Group: Mental Health) Afghanistan [2020] UKUT 223 (IAC) is an important case for numerous reasons. It affirms the supremacy of the Refugee Convention 1951 over EU law by reference to the Convention’s object and purpose; it recognises for the first time in UK asylum law that a...

27th July 2020
BY Laura Smith

This piece is about refugees, asylum seekers, and the Refugee Convention. It outlines who can be a refugee, and how being a refugee and having “refugee status” are two very different things. We also explore the rights and entitlements available to refugees and to asylum seekers awaiting the outcome of...

5th June 2020
BY Larry Lock

The Court of Justice of the European Union has decided in joined cases C‑391/16, C‑77/17 and C‑78/17 M, X and X that recognised refugees who commit serious crimes can be lawfully deprived of their refugee status under EU law and that there is no incompatibility on this issue between EU...

17th May 2019
BY Colin Yeo

Back in January, the Home Office updated and expanded its guidance on the “good character” requirement in British citizenship applications. One of the big changes in the guidance is the long overdue recognition of the existence of Article 31 of the Refugee Convention. As I’ll explain in this post, Article...

13th May 2019
BY John Vassiliou

In a newly reported judgment the Upper Tribunal has quashed the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse a request from the Greek government to take charge of the asylum claims of a mother and her three children so they could reunite with the father, who lives in the UK. The...

21st February 2019
BY Alex Schymyck

About 18 months ago, the Home Office announced that refugees would no longer get indefinite leave to remain automatically after being in the UK for five years. Officials are now supposed to review whether the refugee still needs the protection of the British government: All those who apply for settlement...

23rd October 2018
BY Colin Yeo

In one of his final judgments as outgoing President, Mr Justice McCloskey launched a bitter broadside at the conduct of government lawyers in long-running litigation over the entry of refugee children. While the criticism of the solicitors at the Government Legal Department and of previous barristers instructed for the Home...

9th October 2017
BY colinyeo

In March 2017 the Home Office announced a new policy of reviewing whether all refugees require protection at the end of a 5 year initial period of Refugee Status. This policy is effective for all existing and future applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’) as a Refugee. This policy...

22nd June 2017
BY Chris Desira

R (Bashir) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 397 The British Sovereign Base Areas (“SBAs”) are small British-run areas on the Cyprus islands that survived the former colony’s independence. The Home Office has taken the position for a number of years that the Refugee Convention...

6th June 2017
BY Thomas Beamont

Shortly after Christmas in 2009, a young woman from Somalia flew into Stanstead and claimed asylum. She had just turned 18. As later accepted by the Home Office, she had experienced severe depredations in her home country. This included her rape at the age of six in the presence of...

26th April 2017
BY nicknason

The Home Office has announced a new policy of reviewing whether all refugees require protection at the end of a five year initial period of leave. The policy appears to be effective immediately for all refugee settlement applications, including for refugees already resident in the UK and who were expecting...

9th March 2017
BY colinyeo
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