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Proposed changes to reform the removals and appeals system, end the abuse of Article 8 and prevent illegal immigrants accessing and abusing public services or the labour market.
The Immigration Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 10 October 2013. Subject to its Parliamentary progress, the bill is expected to receive royal assent in spring 2014.
The bill will reform the removals and appeals system, making it easier and quicker to remove those with no right to be here. It will end the abuse of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to respect for private and family life. It will prevent illegal migrants accessing and abusing public services and the labour market.
The current process for enforcing the removal of people unlawfully in the UK is a complex one, with a number of stages needing to be completed before an individual can be removed. A decision must first be made regarding an individual’s immigration status, if they have any, and then further decisions must be taken regarding their removal. This creates an unnecessarily bureaucratic process, which can lead to migrants being left in limbo, unclear when they need to leave the UK. With multiple decision points, the current system provides individuals with multiple opportunities to bring challenges throughout the process. This increases the risk of further delay before removal takes place.
The new proposed changes to the system will adopt a system where only one decision is made, encompassing both a person’s immigration status and their removability. This will inform the individual that they cannot stay in the UK where they have no valid leave to be here, and enable Immigration Enforcement to remove them if they do not leave voluntarily.
The single decision will apply to:
people who make applications to the Home Office for leave to stay in the UK;
people who have not made an application, but where the Home Office receives information (e.g. from a sponsor) that leads to the person’s leave being curtailed or revoked; and
people unlawfully in the UK who are encountered by immigration officers.
The purpose of the new single removal notice is twofold: to leave a migrant in no doubt that their application has been refused and they are now liable to removal, with no further notification required to enable that to happen, but also to ensure that migrants are given notice that they are under a duty to tell the Home Office of any asylum, human rights or European free movement reasons why they believe they are entitled to stay.
The appeals system is complex and costly. A right to appeal can be used to delay removal even when there is no arguable error in the decision; where the person is seeking to stay for reasons that have not even been mentioned to the Secretary of
State (for example a refused student appealing that refusal and only raising asylum or the fact that he or she has a family in the UK and a claim under Article 8 when he appeals); and an appeal to an immigration judge is a very costly and time-consuming way to correct simple case work errors which could be resolved by a request to the Home Office to review the decision. Home Office need an effective and efficient appeals system which provides an opportunity to challenge a decision made by the Secretary of State which affects fundamental rights but which cannot be abused or manipulated to delay the removal of those who have no basis to remain in the UK or to raise matters which have not been raised with the Secretary of State.
The new proposed changes will reduce the number of immigration decisions that can be appealed from the current 17 to 4. Ensure foreign criminals can be deported first and appeal after, unless that would cause serious irreversible harm. Make the appeals process more transparent so that decisions on human rights and asylum claims must be considered by the Secretary of State before they are considered by the Tribunal. Set up an administrative review system to provide a proportionate and less costly mechanism for resolving case working errors.
The Immigration Bill will also change the way interpretation of the rules will be administrated by the Courts & Tribunal.
If you would like to get advice on the impact of these changes, please contact us on 0207 237 3388 or e-mail us your query to firstname.lastname@example.org.