Free Movement Weekly Immigration Newsletter #14

Welcome to the weekly Free Movement newsletter!

On the asylum front, things are still relatively quiet but this is very much the calm before the storm, as the Rwanda Bill is expected to pass next week. We will then hopefully at least get some clarity as to how the government intends to use it, i.e. with or without the Illegal Migration Act. Inevitably, and tediously so, the government has now pivoted to attacking the European Convention on Human Rights, despite this not being a determinative point in the Rwanda litigation

On Thursday this week there is a seismic change in family immigration, as the minimum income requirement for partners is increased from £18,600 to £29,000. The main practical effects of these changes will be increased family separation and financial hardship, as well as more work for the Home Office. For those who are able to successfully navigate exceptional circumstances and avoid the new threshold, they will face a doubled route to settlement, from five to ten years, with all of the associated costs of that including the application fee and immigration health surcharge.

More immigration applications and more fee waiver applications will inevitably lead to further decision making delays, leaving people with section 3c leave for longer periods, with all the difficulties that entails. Whether the changes survive the inevitable legal challenge remains to be seen, but in the meantime this will be extremely damaging to families and should be a source of great shame to everyone involved. 

On Free Movement, we had a bit of an update on a topical issue – namely what happens when people who have Calais leave or section 67 leave reach the end of their five years’ leave. With no clear published guidance on the procedural requirements, as well as a recent change to settlement requirements that also has seemingly not been published by the Home Office but only via stakeholders, this article is a useful read for anyone trying to figure out what is going on and what to do next.

We also published a detailed briefing on how to make a change of conditions application to lift the No Recourse to Public Funds restriction from a grant of leave, as well as a round up of the latest cases including trafficking, procedural fairness in Afghan resettlement, and Nick Nason’s write up of a fairly complex EU deport case

As the changes to the work visa routes took effect last week, we announced our newest webinar which takes a comprehensive look at these changes as well as what the future holds for sponsoring foreign workers in the UK. We are running an early bird discount on tickets until 23:59 on Wednesday 17 April 2024. Use code “earlybird20” for 20% off.

For the rest on Free Movement and what we have been reading elsewhere, read on.

Cheers, Sonia

What we’re reading

Press Release: New research highlights improvements needed to protect migrants from debt and disappointment on UK’s Seasonal Worker Scheme – Focus on Labour Exploitation, 2 April

London vigil marks six years since exposure of Windrush scandal – The Guardian, 6 April

Albania escorts and removals – HM Inspectorate of Prisons, 8 April

I was abused, bullied and left in limbo as a migrant domestic worker. I’m proud of myself for surviving – The Big Issue, 5 April

First RAF Scampton asylum seekers cohort could now arrive from summer instead of April – Lincolnshire Live, 4 April

Home Office exposed for giving ‘dodgy’ employers freedom to exploit overseas staff – Care Home Professional, 3 April

Council withdraws objections to RAF Scampton plans – BBC News, 6 April

Elite cyclist to lead London race while living in asylum hotel – The Guardian, 4 April

Call for Ukraine-style visa scheme for Palestinians in Gaza with family in UK, The Guardian, 2 April

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