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

Year in review


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imageFirst of all, some stats from the blog for 2012:

  • 722,000 page views
  • 2,000 page views per day on average
  • 356,000 visitors
  • 2 min 46 sec average visit duration
  • 2 pages viewed per visit on average
  • 149 new blog posts in 2012 (three per week)
  • 21,500 unique visitors per month
  • 33,608 clicks to BAILII in 2012 alone
  • 1,560 email subscribers by year end
  • 1,770 Twitter followers by year end

Most popular posts of 2012:

Elsewhere, there have been nine Statements of Changes to the Immigration Rules this year, which is a number unprecedented since the advent of modern immigration controls in 1972. The biggest substantive changes have surely been the introduction of the new family migration rules, which are having an awful effect on those in a relationship with a foreigner but on low to average income. The wholesale incorporation of the Points Based System into the main Immigration Rules was also a major development: the resulting absurd complexity and unintended consequences perhaps finally showed that the basic system of immigration law and control introduced by the 1971 Act is broken and beyond repair.

The UK Border Agency continued to be heavily criticised by all and sundry its own Inspectorate and Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee in several coruscating reports this year. Nevertheless, there are no real signs of improvement, and yet the courts continued to show huge deference to elsewhere discredited executive discretion. Nowhere was this more obvious than in the field of immigration detention. Appallingly long periods of detention have been found lawful in several higher court cases this last year.

Looking ahead, the Home Office seems to have finished with its major reforms to the immigration system and 2013 is likely to see tinkering with the detail and perhaps even some liberalisation where Government realises it has gone too far or where particularly powerful lobby groups such as the university and international business sectors manage to get their voices heard, if not by the deaf ears of the Home Office then by other ministers in other departments. Appeal rights will likely be further curtailed and immigration judicial reviews transferred to the Upper Tribunal. Legal Aid is to be effectively ended for immigration cases with 98% of cases coming out of scope according to Legal Services Commission projections.

More broadly, the remaining immigration lawyers will no doubt continue to plough our lonely, unloved and unfashionable farrow on the bleeding edge of human rights law while others look on with disdain, failing to appreciate that what we as a society do to an immigrant we do to a real human being no different to the rest of us. As the late Soloman Burke sang, “None of us are free, one of us are chained.”

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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.


4 Responses

  1. The blog is excellent and I used this blog for most of my revision for my level 2 accreditation exams

    1. 33,609 clicks to BAILII. And some less angry, more analytical blog posts. Being angry may be an intrinsic part of being an immigration lawyer — it is what keeps us going — but it isn’t good for us!

  2. Happy New Year everyone.

    Excellent website and a regular point of call for me.

    Ended the year with a fascinating European Case which I will ask permission to write up about later once it is resolved because it deals with a new angle on durable relationships.

    Parts of UKBA are still wholly dysfunctional and come up with mind boggling decisions. The Tier 2 team in Sheffield, however, still performs very well. Got a number of cases resolved last year with their help.

    The sponsorship licence team is patchy though. Some excellent decisions and some very very poor decisions.

    I wish UKBA would sort out the student rules though. The points based system is becoming even more incomprehensible and the Judges struggle to make sense of it. Their determinations always seem to be tentative and lack the assurance one would want from the Judiciary. This is bad for the appellants and bad for the country.

    I expect the attack on Human Rights to continue to the detriment of all . This Parliament continues the tradition, set by the last government, of blaming the Judges for rulings on Human Rights while refusing to address their concerns to the primary legislation they create. The media – The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail continue with their ranting and as a result conspire in this ignoring of the issue of poorly drafted legislation. In short, if they don’t like it change the law.