Free Movement Weekly Immigration Newsletter #24

Welcome to the weekly Free Movement newsletter!

When I wrote up RAMFEL’s section 3C case last week I ended on the point that the use of digital immigration status is incompatible with the hostile environment. It is difficult to see how the government’s switch to digital status is going to be anything short of catastrophic and the alarm is being sounded increasingly loudly. On Wednesday the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association published a letter to the Home Office raising these concerns, signed by well over 200 organisations and practitioners.

Yesterday was International Domestic Workers’ Day and Kalayaan launched its latest report ‘12 years of modern slavery’. Next week we will be putting out a podcast in which Kalayaan’s Avril Sharp and myself discuss the history of the overseas domestic worker route, the issues experienced by those who come to the UK on this visa and what can be done to prevent their exploitation, so do keep an eye out for that.

On Rwanda, the latest developments are that UNHCR has been granted permission to intervene in the judicial review, and the Rwandan government has accused the agency of lying in a rather extraordinary statement. The court has ordered that the Home Secretary respond to UNHCR’s evidence the day after the election, so hopefully Yvette Cooper has been given a copy. Labour’s manifesto explicitly states that the agreement with Rwanda will end under their government, so it is unclear to what extent they will continue to defend this judicial review.

In other news, the government’s request for a stay on the decision by the High Court in Northern Ireland that several provisions of the Illegal Migration Act be disapplied has been refused.

On Free Movement, as it’s Refugee Week we have a mix of new and updated content focussed on refugees and asylum coming up.

Every so often there is an article that I go around insisting that people read, and last week I wrote up a truly appalling decision on delays in the trafficking system which I think is one of these must reads. Our May round up podcast is also out and Colin and I had a bit of a chat about the general election right at the end (so if you are fed up of it all you can easily skip that bit).

We also covered the latest tribunal statistics which show a 330% year on year increase in asylum appeals, a direct result of the Home Office’s backlog clearance exercise. We know that many if not most of these people will not have lawyers representing them due to legal aid cuts. In light of this, it has been good to see that Duncan Lewis are taking action to try to tackle the government’s complete failure to fund legal aid in a sustainable way. 

Read on for the rest of the week here and elsewhere.

Cheers, Sonia

What we’re reading

‘I’m starving, I’m scared’: the refugees forced from asylum hotels onto the streets – Hyphen, 10 June

Briefing – Asylum in the UK: A front line for racial justice – Refugee Action, 13 June 2024

Safe Routes to Nowhere: The UK’s broken promises on family reunion – RAMFEL, June 2024

Agata Patyna secures release from detention for a non-binary Palestinian asylum seeker – Doughty Street Chambers, 13 June

Rocking the (Small) Boat: Novel Options to Tackle Irregular Migration to the United Kingdom – Migration Policy Institute, June 2024

What’s behind the rise in Turkish citizens seeking asylum in Europe and North America? – The New Humanitarian, 11 June

‘I kept asking why’: Syrian refugee detained for 25 days for Rwanda flights speaks after release – The Independent, 14 June

Immigration: how 14 years of Tory rule have changed Britain – in charts – The Guardian, 11 June

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