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News & Views Monday 15th July to Sunday 21st July 2019

 

Home Office Lied to EU States so it Could Deport Slavery Victims

The Home Office lied to EU member states to remove victims of human trafficking and modern slavery in breach of European law, according to whistleblowers. Legal experts have said the practice is “unthinkable” and “a disgraceful and illegal manipulation of the system”. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has urged the sources to contact Yvette Cooper, who chairs the home affairs select committee. “These are clearly serious allegations which must be properly investigated,” said Khan’s spokesperson.

Whistleblowers allege that, while operating as the third country unit, the now renamed Dublin cessation unit (DCU) regularly lied to other member states and manipulated the system by sending them “extra time” letters, falsely claiming asylum applicants had launched appeals. These letters remove the deadline – usually six months – after which someone seeking asylum can no longer be removed from the UK and sent to the EU country determined to be responsible for assessing their claim. The practice, which started in 2013, apparently continued until at least December last year, the sources say.
 
Read more: Amelia Hill, Guardian, https://is.gd/z6rCMM



Home Office Outsourcing Immigration Operations ‘On The Cheap’

The Home Office has been outsourcing immigration operations “on the cheap” because of funding shortages and a lack of interest from ministers, the government’s own chief inspector of borders has admitted.
David Bolt, who provides independent scrutiny of the UK’s border and immigration management, told The Independent that in order to “manage its capacity”, the Home Office had made subcontracting part of its “modus operandi” – and as a consequence had reduced control over its own operations.

He questioned whether there was “sufficient visibility” around the way the department had increasingly placed the onus on external agencies, such as landlords and doctors, to carry out immigration checks, and around the manner in which immigration detention, visa processing and other provisions had been outsourced to private firms.

The department has come under fire over the past year for wrongly treating those with a right to live in the UK as illegal immigrants under its hostile environment policies – an issue encapsulated by the Windrush scandal – and has been accused of creating barriers to applying for UK status through its decision to privatise the visa system.
The chief inspector said that while Home Office processes that had adequate funding and “enthusiasm” from ministers were working well, such as the EU settlement scheme, other operations were not being so effectively executed.

Read more: May Bulman, Independent, https://is.gd/8IK3Yu



EU Migrants' £4.3bn Contribution to UK 'Should be Spent on Poor'

The £4.3bn contributed by EU migrants to the UK economy should be earmarked in a special fund for disadvantaged communities, an influential thinktank has suggested, a plan which could form part of a “remain and reform” offer in a future referendum. The report by Global Future, backed by Labour MPs including Yvette Cooper and Lisa Nandy, suggests the fund could be paid for by the Treasury by reversing planned cuts to corporation tax. The multi-billion pound fund could then be used to address poor infrastructure, skills training and connectivity in areas that often have the greatest concerns about EU migration – which may have prompted significant leave votes.

Its director, Peter Starkings, said the fund would address the problems of inequality that had prompted the Brexit vote but which leaving the EU would not solve. “Leavers voted for Brexit because they felt that Britain wasn’t working for them,” he said. “Remainers need to take that seriously and produce a plan for real reform if they are going to change any minds. We believe the migration dividend fund could be central to that agenda – and our proposals are backed by the public, including two thirds of leavers and 70% of remainers.” The report suggests the cash should be locally managed and administered, with the government’s role being limited to coordinating and evaluating the scheme, and that funding should be guaranteed for at least 10 years, meaning at least £120m per area over a decade.

Read more: Jessica Elgot, Guardian, https://is.gd/m6117E




What Does It Mean To Hold Indefinite Leave In The UK?

Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) or Indefinite Leave to Enter (“ILE”), also referred to as settlement or permanent residence, are types of immigration status in the UK which mean there is no longer a time limit on a person’s ability to stay in the UK.

Some examples of the benefits of holding ILR or ILE include:

being free to work in the UK in a business, employment (including self-employment) or profession;

being free to study in the UK;

generally being able to access healthcare under the National Health Service (although there may be some exceptions).

If you hold ILR or ILE, your Biometric Residence Permit (“BRP”) will state either ‘indefinite leave to remain’, ‘indefinite leave to enter’ or ‘no time limit’. It may also state ‘settlement’. It is important to note that your BRP will be valid for up to 10 years and you will need to apply for a replacement. Home Office guidance suggests this is done no later than 3 months before the expiry of the BRP to ensure your replacement document is obtained before the current BRP expires. When travelling outside the UK, you should always take your BRP card with you in order to re-enter at the border.

There are various routes to obtaining ILR, the most common being an application after having been resident in the UK for 5 years. However, this is not the only requirement and migrants must be mindful of their absences from the UK over the 5 year period should they wish to obtain ILR. There are strict rules regarding the time they need to spend in the UK before being eligible to apply. It is also vital to consider your absences from the UK should you intend to later apply for British nationality, because the rules governing absences for nationality applications are different and are more restrictive. Usually, a migrant must have been living in the UK for at least 12 months after obtaining indefinite leave before they can apply for citizenship. Migrants married to British citizens may be able to apply for citizenship immediately after obtaining ILR.

There are also other routes where ILR may be obtained in less than 5 years.

If you believe you hold ILR but do not have a document to evidence your leave, you may be able to make an application to obtain a BRP in order to evidence your status in the UK. These applications are known as ‘No Time Limit’ (NTL) applications.

Further, if your BRP card is lost or stolen you must report this to the police and the Home Office as soon as possible in order for the card to be cancelled. You can then make an application for a replacement BRP.

Unlike citizenship, ILR can be lost if you cease to reside in the UK (this will be dealt with in a later blog). However, the common ways in which ILR can be lost are ceasing to reside in the UK or if you remain outside the UK for a continuous period of 2 years or more (or 5 years for those who were granted settled status under the EU settlement scheme).

Posted by: Gherson Immigration, https://is.gd/c0C6CA