Death by visa?

It’s the anniversary of the uprising in Syria. With the death toll having reached around the 8000 mark, the grim discovery earlier this week of yet more dead children’s bodies, and the apparent planting, by Syrian forces, of landmines to prevent refugee flows out of Syria, one might have hoped for a sufficiently compassionate and humane response from the Coalition – afterall the UK was actively involved in drafting the UDHR which enshrines the the right to seek and enjoy asylum in precisely such circumstances. So what has the Coalition’s response to all of this been?

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Changes to Immigration Rules laid before Parliament today

The Government has today laid a ministerial statement in Parliament outlining various worring changes to the Immigration Rules. Most of the changes are due to take effect on 6 April 2012, although some of the changes to Tier 2 will affect those who were granted leave after 6 April 2011.Key changes as identified by UKBA on their website are as follows:

Tier 2 – skilled workers

  • Limiting the total amount of temporary leave that may be granted to a Tier 2 migrant to 6 years (which applies to those who entered after 6 April 2011).
  • Introducing a new minimum pay requirement of £35,000 or the appropriate rate for the job, for Tier 2 general and sportsperson migrants who wish to settle here from April 2016 (with exemptions for those in PhD level and shortage occupation categories).
  • Introducing a ‘cooling-off period’ across all the Tier 2 routes. Tier 2 migrants will Continue reading

Last chances on Legal Aid

The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association who’ve been heavily involved with lobbying on the Legal Aid Bill are flagging up that there’s a potential opportunity to put some final pressure on Government with a view to getting a better deal on legal aid.

Immigration is due to be debated on Monday 12 March – Labour have tabled an amendment that would bring immigration work into scope, so there’s likely to be a short discussion about that, followed by a debate about exceptional funding given that amendments including an immigration-specific amendment to permit exceptional funding where the case is complex and the individual would be without representation) have been tabled.

What you can do

ILPA have suggested the following (by no later than Monday morning (12 March) Continue reading

‘I don’t feel human…’

The Children’s Society recently published I don’t feel human Experiences of destitution amongst young refugees and migrants. The report looks at the ongoing effects of the policy of enforced destitution originally introduced under the Labour Government. Enforced destitution refers to the withholding/limiting of welfare support  in order to expedite the return of refused asylum seekers to their country of origin which has in turn left thousands of people including children without basic support for indefinite periods of time. Continue reading

Settlement changes

The Home Office has today published their proposals for reform the scheme for settlement (along with some other changes to the Immigration Rules). Continue reading

UKBA Rumpus

Post written by Josh Reid, JCWI Communications Dept.

This week the UK Border Agency has come back under fresh scrutiny, after an official inquiry report condemned the border force for “poor communication, poor managerial hindsight and a lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities”.

Home Secretary Theresa May resorted to the dramatic response by announcing plans to split UKBA into two, Continue reading

Hirsi Jamaa and Others v Italy – push back policy

Hirsi Jamaa and Others v Italy  application no. 27765/09

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has today issued judgment in relation to Italy’s push back policy in which vessels  carrying Somali and Eritrean nationals from Libya and heading to Italy  were intercepted on the high seas 35 miles south of Lampedusa.

The Grand Chamber held:

1.The applicants fell within the jursidiction of Italy for the purposes of Article 1 ECHR

2. There had been two violations of Article 3 ECHR because the applicants had been exposed to the risk of ill-treatment in Libya and of repatriation to Somalia or Eritrea;

3. There had been a violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 (prohibition of collective expulsions)

4. There had been a violation of Article 13 ECHR (right to effective remedy) taken in conjunction with Article 3 ECHR.

You can read the Court’s press release for a summary of the case and its facts and you can read the full judgment here.

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