Immigration News Weekly Roundup – 12 January 2024

 Immigration News Weekly Roundup – 12 January 2024

This week has seen a flood of updates regarding the UK government’s controversial policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda. The policy, first announced under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in April 2022, has faced ongoing legal challenges and implementation issues. However, the current government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appears determined to push forward with the policy despite continued opposition.

On Tuesday, the opposition Labour party has tabled a vote in Parliament calling for the release of documents relating to the financial and legal aspects of the Rwanda deportation scheme. This includes requests for the estimated cost of relocating each individual to Rwanda, all payments made to the Rwandan government, and any advice relating to adherence with international laws. The vote reflects ongoing concerns that the policy violates international human rights laws.

In a separate development, leaked documents suggest that Prime Minister Sunak himself had doubts about the Rwanda policy when he was Chancellor, believing it to be more costly than using hotels and reception centres. This contradicts the Government’s position that the deportations will save public money.

The policy faces additional scrutiny from France, which released a report stating the UK is not cooperating sufficiently on intelligence sharing and joint operations to curb small boat Channel crossings. With legal challenges ongoing and political opposition mounting, the future of the Rwanda deportation policy remains uncertain despite the government’s renewed push this week. We will continue to monitor developments on this controversial issue.

Further controversy arose this week following reports that a Spanish woman was wrongly deported after returning from holiday in Spain. Despite presenting paperwork showing her rights to live and work in the UK, she was detained at Luton Airport on December 26th and flown back to Spain the next day after being told her paperwork was invalid. The case has prompted demands for answers from the Home Office about why valid paperwork was ignored.

Additionally, a planned 66% increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge is facing delay and uncertainty. The increase from £624 to £1036 per year was originally set to take effect on January 16th but will now be debated on January 10th, pushing the implementation date back at least until January 31st. With opposition parties signalling their intent to oppose the hike, further delays seem likely. We will keep readers updated on any developments.

Join our director, David Jones’ live online course,  Certification, Inadmissibility and The Rwanda Regime.  This timely course will cover in-depth analysis to equip you with the knowledge integral to an immigration advisor’s practice as deportations resume. With vulnerable migrants still exposed to risk of deportation flights amid ongoing legal uncertainty, this is a prime opportunity to further gain updates of this professionally important issue. More information or to book click here.

The planned increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will make family visa applications even more costly. On top of the minimum income threshold rising for spouses seeking to join their partners in the UK, the IHS hike adds a significant additional burden. With the IHS fee jumping 66%, families already struggling to meet the financial requirements will be hard hit.  The IHS increase risks pricing out low- and middle-income families, preventing them from reuniting with partners and children in the UK. While healthcare funding challenges exist, the IHS disproportionately impacts families and undermines efforts to create a fair and equitable immigration system.

Do seize the opportunity to attend HJT’s live online course: Appendix FM Pathways for Partners and Settlement with Expert Brendan Beder to address the upcoming changes to the Rules. More info or to book, click here.

Immigration advisors face the challenge of keeping pace with the UK’s rapidly changing regulations. To help make sense of this shifting landscape, immigration expert Mark Symes provides an essential guide decoding complex and evolving policies across all areas. This vital reference empowers advisors to stay current by demystifying even obscure immigration rules and nuances. By distilling the latest requirements and guidance into one indispensable resource, Symes equips advisors with up-to-date knowledge to counsel clients confidently despite transforming regulations. With immigration policies frequently revised, leveraging this reliable and current reference manual helps advisors master both longstanding and newly updated rules. By arming immigration advisors with the most current information needed to navigate dynamic times, this guide is an invaluable resource for providing effective counsel amidst the UK’s fluctuating immigration system.

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Ongoing education is key for immigration professionals facing rapidly changing policies. HJT Training offers accredited CPD courses across business, family, and settlement pathways and exam preparation for staying current. As regulations transform, trusted training keeps advisors equipped with in-depth knowledge.

At HJT, we aim to provide immigration advisors the insightful training needed to excel in this climate of change. 

For a full list of course scheduled for this year, visit our course archive here.

For enquiries, contact us or call 075441 64692.

For the full list of updates on media news, reported case law and Home Office Policy and other document updates, SEE BELOW.


UK migrant report will outline no new ‘safe and legal’ routes to the country – Financial Times

The UK government will release a report on available routes for migrants seeking to enter the UK, but it will not include proposals for any new so-called safe and legal pathways, according to people briefed on its contents.

Campaigners have long criticised the government over the lack of such ways of gaining entry to the UK for those seeking refuge from war and political oppression.

During debates on the Illegal Migration Act, which became law in July and bars anyone entering the UK irregularly from claiming asylum; MPs from all the main political parties called for the creation of new safe routes for migrants whose lives were under threat to enter the UK, and for existing resettlement schemes to be expanded. 

For full report, click here.

Médecins Sans Frontières treating refugees housed in home secretary’s constituency – The Guardian.

A medical NGO known for emergency relief in war zones is treating asylum seekers housed in a disused airbase in James Cleverley’s constituency, the Guardian can reveal.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is offering thrice-weekly clinics to people contained by the Home Office in RAF Wethersfield, Essex, which is based in the home secretary’s Braintree constituency.

It is the first time that MSF, which is known for its work in Gaza, South Sudan and Syria, has offered medical relief specifically for people seeking asylum in the UK.

For full report, click here.

Rightwing Tories’ Rwanda demands risk reopening party divisions -The Guardian

A damaging row over Rishi Sunak’s asylum policy has been reignited after ministers announced that the Rwanda bill will return to the Commons next week.

The Prime Minister came under pressure from rightwing Tory MPs, including Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick, to accept amendments that would limit individual challenges by migrants and prevent the European court of human rights from blocking deportation flights to central Africa.

Moderate Conservatives from the 100-strong One Nation group have warned that Sunak will face a revolt if he blocks international law as No 10 appeared to be resisting hard-right pressure.

For full report, click here.

Labour to table vote calling for release of Rwanda deportation plan documents – The Guardian

Labour will table a vote in parliament on Tuesday calling for the release of documents relating to the UK government’s Rwanda deportation policy amid claims from Conservative centrists that Rishi Sunak has promised to uphold international treaties.

The vote, which will be part of a humble address on the opposition day debate in the Commons, will ask for any documents that show the cost of relocating each individual asylum seeker to Rwanda as well as a list of all payments made or scheduled to be made to Rwanda’s government.

For full report, click here.

Spanish woman removed from UK after returning from Christmas holiday – The Guardian

A 34-year-old Spanish woman was forcibly removed from the UK after returning from a Christmas holiday near Málaga despite presenting Brexit paperwork to border officials showing she has a right to live and work in the country.

She was flown back to Spain after being detained overnight in Luton airport on 26 December and told she was “wasting her time” if she thought the Home Office documentation, she had showing her right to live in the UK was valid.

Alistair Strathern, the Labour MP for Mid Bedfordshire, said he was looking for answers from the Home Office about the case.

For full report, click here. 

Rishi Sunak had doubts about Rwanda scheme as chancellor, report says – The Guardian

Rishi Sunak had significant doubts about the government’s scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda when he was chancellor, it has been reported.

The BBC said it had seen documents suggesting the now prime minister believed hotels were “cheaper” than reception centres and that he was concerned about the costs of the Rwanda scheme.

The No 10 papers are from March 2022, one month before the plan was announced by Boris Johnson, it was reported.

For full report, click here.

UK does not cooperate sufficiently over small boat crossings, says French body – The Guardian

The UK is not coordinating sufficiently with France to reduce the number of people crossing the Channel in small boats or providing enough detailed information, French state auditors have said.

The cour des comptes, an independent French body that examines the use of public funds, has published a report on the efficiency of French policy on illegal migration, in which it said France was “struggling to develop operational cooperation arrangements” with its neighbours, including the UK.

The report refers to a joint UK-French intelligence unit created in 2020 to tackle human smuggling and reduce the number of people risking their lives to cross the Channel. In 2022, it helped dismantle seven illegal migration networks.

For full report, click here.


Abdi & Ors v Entry Clearance Officer [2023] EWCA Civ 1455

The Court of Appeal ruled that the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) acted unfairly in dismissing an appeal against refusal of EEA family permits for three Somali nationals. The FTT failed to give the appellants and their sponsor brother, an EEA national, a chance to address the tribunal’s concerns about financial dependence. Specifically, the tribunal dismissed the appeal based on calculations that the brother’s UK income was insufficient to support the level of remittances to the appellants. However, this point was not raised during the CVP hearing.

The appellants sought to show they were extended family members dependent on an EEA national under immigration regulations. But the FTT denied the appeal without allowing them to respond to doubts about the evidence of dependence. The Court found the FTT’s actions procedurally unfair, overturning its refusal of EEA family permits.

To download the full decision, click here.


Immigration Health Surcharge Set to Rise by 66% Starting January 31 at the earliest.

The planned 66% increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge will be delayed beyond the originally proposed January 16 start date. The draft order announcing the increase was published in October 2023 and stated it would take effect on January 16, 2024, or 21 days after being approved, whichever was later. However, the House of Commons delegated legislation committee will now debate the draft order on January 10. As a result, the soonest the increase can now take effect is January 31, pushing back the hike by over two weeks. The Immigration Health Surcharge requires temporary migrants to pay for access to NHS services and is set to rise from £624 to £1036 per year. But the implementations face opposition and may see further delays before the planned 66% increase takes effect.

To view the timeline on Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023, click here



Form: Apply to change your permission to allow access to public funds has been updated on 10th January 2024. To access the updated form, click here

Guidance: Register of licensed sponsors -students has been updated on 10th January 2024. To view the updated register, click here

Caseworker Guidance: Section 31 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 has been updated on 10th January 2024. To view the updated Guidance, click here

Guidance: Secure English language test (SELT) has been updated on 9th January 2024. To view the updated Guidance, click here

Guidance: South Africa – tuberculosis test clinics for a UK visa has been updated on 8th January 2024. To view the updated Guidance, click here

Guidance: Pakistan -tuberculosis test clinics for a UK visa has been updated on 8th January 2024. To view the updated Guidance, click here

Caseworker Guidance: Exemptions for visa applications has been updated on 8th January 2024. To view the updated Guidance, click here

Collection Archive: Immigration Rules has been updated on 5th January 2024. To view the updated Guidance, click here

Guidance UK: tuberculosis test clinics has been updated on 4th January 2024. To view the updated Guidance, click here

Guidance: Register of licensed sponsors -workers has been updated on 10th January 2024. To view the updated register, click here



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