The hostile environment

‘The hostile environment’ is a blog written by Colin Yeo on the 29th May 2017. Having discussed the topic of this blog in last week’s seminar, it has intrigued me in further researching the topic of the hostile environment

This blog speak about a package of measures for migrants, also called ‘the hostile environment’, which has been designed to make life for an individual, who without permission trying to enter the UK difficult, or if already living in the UK, so difficult that they voluntarily leave. Colin Yeo identifies the key aim of ‘the hostile environment’ in his blog as an intention to reduce inward migration and increase outward migration.

Measures the hostile environment includes is the limit to access work; housing; health care; bank accounts and to reduce and restrict rights of appeal against Home Office decisions. Via the Immigration Act 2014 the majority of these proposals became law, and have since then also been followed and tightened under the Immigration Act 2016. It is understandable for a country to have rules and regulations to follow so that the country can remain tidy and have the access of these measures to its own citizens, but if these individuals are already in the country they cannot exactly be living on the streets can they? So why not at least consider part time employment for them to afford at least a meal a day?

Administrative measures have also been introduces to help bring across tougher immigration rules on issues such as overstaying. Steep increases to fees for immigration application have also been introduced which appears to be deliberate intended to m=encourage migrants to leave the UK.

Having said that, it is not like illegal entry or overstaying were not previously criminal offences; under the Immigration Act 1971 being knowingly unlawfully present in the UK or breaching the conditions of a visa are criminal offences. Convictions have steeply declines since a peak in 2005, however, the prosecutions have levelled out at around 500-600 per year. Colin Yeo has mentioned that the Home office and/or police have neither the resources nor the will to enforce existing immigration laws. This has resulted in a decrease in the number of enforced removals of immigration offenders.

Not only does the hostile environment criminalise behaviour that is already criminal, but also criminalises private individuals and entities who fail to abide by the immigration laws in their dealings with other members of the public.

In May 12th, Theresa May came up with the ‘Hostile environment’ term, which stands for ‘dangerous and violent’. For example living and working in a ‘hostile environment’ might be given to journalists visiting a war zone. It has been stated that the reason for all this is to stop people thinking that they can come to Britain and overstay because they’re able to access everything they need.

Employers, landlords, colleges, universities, banks, building societies, doctors and local government all have to run immigration status checks, incentivised by statutory duties, civil fines and criminal offences.

Various problems can and do cause migrants to become unlawful citizens. These include forgetting to answer one of the many questions on the form; smiling too much in your passport photo and applying one day late for an extension of your visa.

Access to employment, access to love, access to housing, access to health, access to banking, access to roads are all illegal to unlawful immigrants, giving practically no reason to live because they do not have the funds to buy a basic meal. This is astonishing.

The cost of immigration appeals have also been on the rise, where the actual cost of an application actually costs £252, individuals are required to pay £2,297 to an indefinite leave to remain application in 2017. Where are people supposed to get this kind of money from having impose such harsh rules on them?

Due to the difficulty that is purposely created in allowing one to become a British citizen, there is almost double the number of voluntary returns in comparison to enforced return.

Reading this blog, I was put through lots of different emotions. Understanding both sides, where the country wants to make sure its country remains tidy and regulated, but also for individual who want to create a better life for themselves and their family, it is tough.

It is upsetting to know that some individuals wait 7 years and over practically stateless until they hear back. Leaving their whole life on hold, from being a child to an adult and still waiting for something that is unknown whether it would be possible or not. I do not feel that this is fair, if there isn’t enough worker then perhaps recruit more to give those individuals a quick answer, whether that being yes or no but at least they aren’t just waiting around for the unknown.

This blog has really developed my law terminology due to its in depth explanations and examples used throughout. At the same time, it was very clear and easy to understand, so it being long did not make it boring or any harder to understand.

There was lots of information to back up what the blog had said. The use of graphs and data to also illustrate what is being said I also thought was great.

 

https://www.freemovement.org.uk/hostile-environment-affect/

An immigration lawyer reviews Paddington 2: life in the hostile environment

‘An immigration lawyer reviews Paddington 2: life in the hostile environment’ is a blog written by Colin Yeo on the 13th November 2017. Having looked at various immigration blogs over the past month or so, I am intrigued in widening my knowledge and looking at the range of subtopics within Migration law. By giving myself a range of choices between blogs, I have decided to read Colin Yeo’s blog further to give me a clearer insight about the key elements further explored in the blog.

This blog goes on to speak about the Paddington 2 film, though there has been plenty of disbeliefs about the scenes that occurred throughout the movie, Colin still managed to hold in his thought and watch the movie then go ahead and speak up about his own views of the matter.

As an immigration Lawyer, Colin Yeo was able to tell us that that the portrayal of life in the UK as an illegal immigrant in Paddington 2 was ‘utterly unreal’.

Though many disbeliefs did exist, Colin still thought that it would be kind to start with the bits of the film that he believes that film maker did get right.

The application fee is a costly procedure and would have required Paddington to save over six times as much as he does for the pop-up book around which the plot revolves. Also for that application to succeed, he would need to prove that Aunt Lucy “as a result of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks” and that there is no-one in Peru to provide such care or it is not affordable.

It has been outlines that every day, inhuman immigration rules are creating the most unimaginable pain and suffering for many migrant families around the UK.

By simply remaining in the UK, that is classed as a criminal offense. It is also mentioned that anything Paddington does over and above breathing attracts additional criminal and civil penalties. These affects not only Paddington himself, but also those who come into contract with him.

We are then informed that Paddington gets a job. He tries his hand as a barber then as a window cleaner. As of 12 July 2016, Paddington is committing a criminal offence by working, under section 26A of the Immigration Act 1971, as amended by the Immigration Act 2016.

These are classic cash in hand jobs, which is uncharacteristically savvy of the young bear. Keeping his money in a large jar is a wise move. Were Paddington to attempt to bank his hard earned cash, the bank or building society would, under obligations imposed by the Immigration Act 2014, have to check his immigration status before opening a new account. From 1 January 2018 any existing account Paddington had already set up would also be at risk of closure. The money he earns could be frozen and seized.

 

Paddington’s window cleaning business was clearly self-employed in nature. His work as a barber, however brief, would be regarded by the authorities as employed work. This is a real problem for the unfortunate shop owner, who faces a fine of up to £20,000. We have been told that Colin has come across several cases in my own work where a migrant was “encountered” in a shop, claiming to be minding the till temporarily or just hanging out with friends, but where a hefty civil penalty was imposed on the employer anyway.

Paddington lodges with the Browns in their elegant home at 32 Windsor Gardens. If Paddington pays any contribution towards his accommodation – perhaps a share of the weekly shopping, or even payment in marmalade – that would bring these living arrangements within the “right to rent” scheme created by the Immigration Act 2014. The Brown family would face a civil penalty of up to £5,000 for allowing Paddington to live with them, and could even be prosecuted if they knew about or “had reasonable cause” to know about his unlawful immigration status.

Finally, we see Paddington have a brush with the law. His immigration status would be one of the first things police officers would check, under Operation Nexus. Under this joint working operation between police and immigration officials, even victims of crime have been threatened with removal. As a defendant in a trial, as of 13 November 2017 Paddington will need to provide his nationality or face further criminal charges.

Paddington is destined to end his time in the UK as a Foreign National Offender. Any sentence of 12 months or over attracts automatic deportation. In prison, he would be constantly badgered by immigration officials to agree to an early removal.

It was stated that after all he would have gone through, early removal from the UK’s hostile environment back to Darkest Peru would seem like a very attractive option.

Reading this blog, it kind of hit me and I had to think once more about the struggles that people in the UK, so close to me are suffering in their day to day lives. How can you be expected to stay alive yet it is illegal to rent? To work? Where are the human rights? I understand that the country can’t have random immigrant acting as legal immigrants, but these individuals are not even given the opportunity to appeal or do anything to make them a part of a legal society. Heart-breaking.

The law terminology in this blog was very informative as has made me more curious about some of the terms used, which led me in researching further beyond this blog. It was also a good length yet not too short, which made it an enjoyable read.

Finally there was a fair amount of back up in this blog which made it stand out to me as it came across as very legitimate.

https://www.freemovement.org.uk/an-immigration-lawyer-reviews-paddington-2-hostile-environment/

 

5 things to understand about the August 2017 changes to the Immigration Rules: families, income and the MM case

 

‘5 things to understand about the August 2017 changes to the Immigration Rules’ is a blog written by Latitude Law on the 31st July 2017. This blog came across very informative with the use of good legal significance, so I became more interested in reading further and finding out what it is about.

 

This blog speaks about the 5 changes to the immigration rules of August 2017, these being; The £18,600+ requirement stays the same for most people; Additional sources of permitted income can only be relied upon when there are ‘exceptional circumstances’; Only certain extra sources of income will count; The onus is on you to prove your circumstances and the income available; The new rules make it harder for you to settle in the UK permanently.

Firstly, looking at the £18,600+ requirement which stays the same for most people. This stays the same at £18,600 to sponsor your partner alone, 322,400 to sponsor a partner and child and increasing with each additional child included in the application. The MM has done however, is force UK visas and Immigration to widen the pool of acceptable sources of income, giving families more opportunities to show that they meet requirements of the rules. I feel that the changes that MM have put forward is beneficial as it gives individuals more options and helps them in providing their financial evidence in which the requirements expect individuals to rely on. This will put individuals at ease and take some stress off their shoulders, which is much needed in such processes as it is known to be a stressful process.

Now looking at the second point which is, ‘additional sources of permitted income can only be relied upon when there are ‘’exceptional circumstances’’ ‘. It mentions that not all families will benefit from this August rule change and does not give enough information on it. I think that this is unfair as it is unclear to individuals and they will not know whether they meet this criteria or not. This causes extra stress for many individuals which could mean they don’t focus well enough on all their other required paperwork which will result in a poor outcome and possible health issues too. It is also not fair to put somebodies hopes up but no guarantee them something as it is not right to leave people hanging around for something that is not confirmed, just a maybe.

‘Only certain extra sources of income will count’ is the third point. I think that this point is made very clear so there should be no confusion when reading it and it should help any applicant identify what is required of them or meant by this statement right away. Not only does it tell you which kind of extra sources of income, but also specifies to the reader to know who it is from and how long for.

The fourth point, which is ‘The onus is on you to prove your circumstances and the income available’. This point has not gone into much detail, as it illustrates that anyone who has already prepared a UK visa application will know what you must provide at every stage, so it therefore has not been rewritten. Though it does mention that will any additional sources of income that requires extra paperwork too. Though this is repetitive as it has already been mentioned earlier on in the paragraph.

Finally the fifth rule being. ‘The new rules make it harder for you to settle in the UK permanently’. This final point explains that the new rules set out a 10-year route to permanent settlement in the UK, twice the length of residence required by those who satisfy ‘normal’ income rules. It requires a longer qualification period, which means more applications required to be submitted, this means more money to pay as you work towards settlement. I completely disagree with this rule and hope for it to be made easier for applicants as putting somebody’s life 10 years on hold is ensuring you will make them ill and depressed. Also have various struggles in not being able to start up a family until everything is sorted, or struggling with present family.

Reading this blog, I felt I was giving lots of informative information which made me curious and intrigued in researching further about some rules which have now changed. Some rules I thought were understandable, however some others made me feel slightly stressed as I feel too much is being asked of the individual, in terms of their time, money, effort and most importantly the stress that is caused to the individual because of the outrageous 10 years waiting time can honestly make someone extremely ill. It is not fair to take somebodies human rights away but getting them to put their whole life on hold because of some paperwork procedure which has to take place for the government to be happy.

I don’t feel that there was much information to back up the information that has been given to me in this blog, perhaps if more dates of images were included it could bring it more to life.

Lastly, the layout of the blog I thought was very neat, easy to read and understand. Especially with the use of numbering which helped separate each rule from the other I thought was very helpful.

 

https://www.ein.org.uk/blog/5-things-understand-about-august-2017-changes-immigration-rules-families-income-and-mm-case

 

 

Immigration judge under scrutiny after tribunal confirms he is failing to meet standards

‘Immigration judge under scrutiny after tribunal confirms he is failing to meet standards’ is a blog written by Gherson Immigration on the 9th October 2017. Having previously read a Blog from Gherson Immigration and really enjoyed it, I have decided to look at another. After having read the first few lines I was intrigued to find out more so I read further..

This blog speaks about the immigration judge which has been found to be failing to meet his duties and having lack of knowledge of the requirement of the immigration rules.

The judge is called Majid. He is blind and works with an assistant, however, though the Upper Tribunal accepted that this would restrict him from conducting complex matters in writing at short notice, his disability should not impair his ability to apply the law together with his reasoned conclusion.

After having carried out several examinations on judge Majid to test his ability in his current job, it has come to conclusion that he is ‘’wholly failing to meet the standards that are demanded by the office of a judge and expected by the parties’’.

There has been several appeals against Judge Majid’s decisions as he did not provide sufficient informed reasons for his given decisions, and due to this, parties have been left uncertain of the reasons of the outcome of their matter.

After having examined the appeals against judge Majid, it appeared clear that not only did he know the basic principles of the immigration rules and not the relevant requirement for each specific application, but he also did not seem to have full understanding of his own powers as a judge. The basic principles of the immigration rules in which he has listed have also often appeared to be wrong.

Further, for the reasons set out in the individuals decisions of each of the 13 cases which Judge Majid was responsible for, each of the 13 appeals have been remitted to the First Tier Tribunal to be re-heard before an unconnected judge.

Reading this blog, I was put into lots of different emotions. I at some points sympathised with Judge Majid because I feel like if he was able to do his job properly then he defiantly would not be making these mistakes deliberately. This may well be down to the lack of training or lack of support that he gets alongside him as he needs it more than any other judge due to his disability.

However, I also felt upset and angry for the unclear decisions made and fed back to the applicants, or wrong decisions I should say. Individuals are required to wait for a very long time until they receive a hearing date, this pause whilst waiting for that date is very stressful and make lots of people very ill as it puts their whole life on hold, therefore I feel that when they do receive their decision, that should at least be clear and relevant to each individual, not generic facts, which also most of the time have appeared to be wrong. The UK is meant to be very ‘Human Rights’ orientated, though I feel that is not actually the case, because if so then appeals should be taken very seriously, but the facts that there has been room for mistakes in such situations, even if not deliberate, is very poor and needs to be seriously looked into with a very sincere apology given to each applicant too.

I don’t feel that this blog has really developed my law terminology because it is very basic and straight to the point. However, this did mean that it was very easy to understand, and not too lengthy so I was able to read it all in one go and avoid taking breaks in-between as I was able to take all the information in immediately.

There wasn’t much information to back up what the blog had said. Perhaps having some photographs would have made it appear more appealing and also having more information about certain specific immigration rules would have also helped the reader understand and engage more with what is being said.

https://www.gherson.com/blog/immigration-judge-scrutiny

 

 

 

 

Banks to be required to carry out 70 million immigration checks every quarter on current account

 

 ‘Banks to be required to carry out 70 million immigration checks every quarter on current account’ is a blog written by Gherson Immigration on 27th October 2017. This blog seemed reasonably short in comparison to many other blogs I have come across so I thought it would be good to have a range and explore this one further. I read the first few sentences and it drew me in so I read on.

This Blog speaks about the purpose of the Immigration Act 2014, which highlights the importance of banks and building societies to carry out checks when opening current accounts in order to identify disqualified persons. A ‘disqualified person’ which in this blog is defined as ‘a person in the united kingdom, who requires leave to enter or remain in the united kingdom but does not have it, and for whom the secretary of state considers that a current account should not be provided by a bank or building society’.

Several approaches have been taken to ascertain whether an individual is a ‘disqualifies person’ or not. Banks and Building societies use details such as name, date of birth an address against a database supplied by the Home office and held by an anti-fraud agency (CIFAS), which is in relation to foreign national who the Home Office believe are in the UK illegally, and who they deem to be liable for removal from the UK.

If after checks are taken the secretary of state determines that the individual is a ‘disqualified person’, they may apply for a freezing order. Whilst the bank or building society are awaiting confirmation by the Home Office the current account will remain open, it is also unlikely that the individual will be informed that they have been flagged as a potential ‘disqualified person’

Though they have the ability of freezing the account, the home office may make exceptions to this case and make provisions to allow the ‘disqualified person’ to access fund to meet their reasonable living costs and legal fees

Unfortunately errors do occur at times where individuals who are legally in the UK have their accounts frozen in error. This also allows for further errors where the Home Office may use the information given to them to pursue enforcement measures against the individuals identified as being a ‘disqualified person’. This is a lengthy procedure to get resolved which causes lots of error within individuals.

To some extent I agree with some of the points raised in this blog, as I feel like it is to help maintain the countries safety and so that it is clear who is present and who is not. However, thy system can do with some maintenance clearly as I don’t feel it is expectable to be freezing individual’s bank accounts when they are a British citizen, even if it is a mistake. It is understandable that mistakes do happen in the work place, but if they are serious then they should be resolved immediately and defiantly not leaving the individual at any harm. However in this blog, it tells us that the Home Office could potentially make the situation even harder for the individual and the resolving of the issue is also a long winded procedure. I don’t feel that this is fair as this individual could be in a situation where it could change certain paths in their life if their bank account is been frozen but they urgently need to access it, whether that is for work or health purposes.

Also, I do understand and agree that if it is a ‘disqualified individual’ then their bank account should be frozen, however I feel like the individuals situation needs to be looked further before making the final decision. This is because for instance it is different for someone who may have just came to the country and lives here alone and someone who perhaps has been in the country for a while and has family living in the UK too.

I don’t feel like Ghersons blog provided much evidence to back up what is being stated so at times I felt the need to go into external sites to find out more about what is being said and get further information.

Overall, the layout and legal significance of the blog was very easy and simple to read with a very clear layout. I also like the fact that it was sharp and short, as it meant that no breaks were needed and you can just read it all in one go.

https://www.gherson.com/blog/banks-immigration-checks-current-accounts