Free Movement Weekly Immigration Newsletter #17

Welcome to the weekly Free Movement newsletter!

First of all, a quick reminder that our membership prices are going up on Wednesday this week (1 May). 

It’s been a week. On Tuesday morning, hours after the Safety of Rwanda Act completed its final stages in parliament, five people included a little girl died while trying to make the journey across the Channel. 58 other people who were in that boat continued with the crossing. The same day another 402 people were detected while making the crossing. Yet we are supposed to believe that a miniscule chance of being sent to Rwanda will achieve what none of these deaths have, which is to stop people from making that journey. 

Reports over the weekend indicate that people may be detained this week for Rwanda flights (despite the Prime Minister saying that flights will not take off for 10 to 12 weeks) in a desperate attempt by the government to get a boost ahead of the local elections on Thursday (don’t forget to vote!). Sharing these things without proper context is likely to create a huge amount of panic. Not everyone who is reporting will be at risk and the inadmissibility guidance sets out the target group for any Rwanda removals. For those who are at risk, if they receive a new notice of intent that says they may be sent to Rwanda then lawyers are available to help and they must seek legal assistance immediately. Despite the shortage in legal aid lawyers, everyone has been clear that these cases will be prioritised. 

As to what will face anyone who is sent to Rwanda, a comment made by the Rwandan official in charge of the agreement last week is instructive. When asked whether those sent there would be able to criticise the government and protest, she said that “you have to remember that refugees in general, and with regard to the political activities of refugees, they’re restricted by the Refugee Convention”. This is certainly news to me. For anyone who is still unaware, the context for this question is the fact that 12 refugees were killed by Rwandan police when protesting against their conditions in 2018.

Following on from our article on legal challenges to the inadmissibility process, last week it was reported that a judicial review in Northern Ireland challenging the use of the inadmissibility process has been granted permission with the full hearing due to take place in October. This is an incredibly important topic and our newest webinar is an advanced course on inadmissibility challenges. This will take place on 22 May and be presented by expert Jed Pennington of Wilsons. There is an earlybird discount of 20% available on bookings made before Wednesday 8 May 2024.

Also on the blog last week, I wrote up the latest ad hoc statistics on asylum, Colin got mad at the Supreme Court and there was a refreshingly well-written decision from the Upper Tribunal giving guidance on assessing well-founded fear under the Nationality and Borders Act 2022.

For anyone wondering what is going on with Ireland and the UK in relation to asylum at the moment and why this new legislation is happening, my write up of the legal case which has prompted all of this may be worth revisiting. 

Read on for the rest of what was on Free Movement last week and what we have been reading elsewhere.

Cheers, Sonia

What we’re reading

Tragedy in the Channel shows the flaws of the Rwanda plan – New Statesman, 23 April

EU Regulations and Directive on International Protection, Asylum and Migration: Discussion – Houses of the Oireachtas, Joint Committee on Justice, 23 April

Rwanda: what next in the courts? – Institute for Government, 23 April

Meet the cricketing headmaster’s son poised to make Britain an international ‘legal pariah’ – Politico, 24 April

Local authority fails to recognise victim of trafficking – ATLEU, 23 April

Hearing to challenge decision not to implement Windrush recommendations to be heard tomorrow – Deighton Pierce Glynn, 22 April

Brain waste – Lighthouse Reports, 18 April

Britain cannot stay silent on atrocities in DRC to protect our Rwanda deal – PoliticsHome, 22 April

Conor Crummey: The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill and the Judicial ‘Disapplication’ of Statutes – UK Constitutional Law Association, 26 March

Asylum seekers share their fear on TikTok livestreams as confusion over Rwanda Plan grows – ITV News 23 April

James Robottom: The Safety of Rwanda Act, Slavery and the Common Law – UK Constitutional Law Association, 25 April

Asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge describe ‘prison-like conditions’ – Independent, 24 April

Mental health effects of working as a legal professional in the field of asylum law: a systematic review – BMJ Public Health, 13 February

Legal Fiction – London Review of Books, 24 April

The Safety of Rwanda Act: a pointless exercise in performative cruelty – British Medical Journal, 19 April

UK policy denying visas to children of care workers faces legal challenge – The Guardian, 26 April

A teenaged migrant piloted a dinghy that sank in the Channel. Then he was charged with manslaughter – Prospect Magazine, 26 April

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