Immigration News Weekly Roundup – 16 February 2024

 Immigration News Weekly Roundup – 16 February 2024

The Home Office is exploring creative ways to deter asylum seekers from making dangerous small boat crossings over the English Channel. This includes paying social media influencers to discourage these treacherous journeys. Conversations are underway with several source countries about potential awareness campaigns.

Providing housing for asylum seekers within the UK remains an ongoing challenge. The Home Office now manages over 16,000 properties for 58,000 asylum seekers – double the number from a decade ago. This strains housing availability amid shortages for young workers and families. To secure more landlord partnerships, five-year rent guarantees are being offered.

In other news, flaws persist in the UK’s asylum application system. A former TFL employee became homeless after being unable to afford the over £4,000 visa renewal fee. Additionally, the Home Secretary apologized for “serious errors” made in a Palestinian refugee’s visa case. The student was wrongly denied despite having a full scholarship.

There is continued debate regarding the Rwanda Immigration Bill’s compatibility with human rights obligations. A joint committee found provisions under the bill permit enabling human rights violations through removals. It risks breaching international law by allowing ministers to disregard European Court interim measures.

On a positive economic note, the UK remains the second highest European destination for foreign direct investment as per EY.  The report finds that the UK outperformed Germany and France in attracting high-value, job-creating investments. Specifically, the expected average number of new jobs per new investment project is higher compared to those countries. This indicates that while fewer new projects are choosing the UK, those that do select it plan to generate significant new employment at scale.

In support of sustaining this competitive standing for highly impactful foreign investment, the Home Office had introduced the Expansion Worker route in 2022.  The new visa category provides overseas firms an opportunity to set up an additional UK location more easily. Qualified senior managers or specialists at the firm can gain sponsorship to transfer and establish the British entity. The visa holders may further have their spouses and children to join them in the UK as their visa dependents.

By facilitating expansion projects from global companies, the Expansion Worker visa enables increased high-value investment. This has potential to boost further new business project entries in the UK. It can drive new employment, tax revenue, and economic growth – cementing the UK as an ongoing leader for foreign direct investment in Europe.

HJT’s live online Sacha Special series: Expansion Worker route and Sponsor Licence Masterclass is a timely response to these unfolding developments.

Led by our expert Sacha Wooldridge, the course will take the delegates through the most updated Rules and regime whilst also addressing practical elements on acquiring Expansion worker route visa. This is followed by a separate live online course for Sponsor Licence Masterclass whereby the delegates will learn regarding acquirement of sponsor licence for businesses and maintaining their records for right to work checks.

Seize this limited £100+VAT offer for both courses. Courses maybe booked individually.

For more information on the courses, click here

Staying current on policy changes is crucial in this field. We aim to keep advisors fully informed through professional development courses and briefings. Our upcoming courses provide a valuable opportunity to discuss the reforms and ensure everyone is ready to guide clients through new requirements. We look forward to seeing you at these events as we continue our shared mission to help navigate UK immigration efficiently, and successfully.

For full list of our upcoming courses, visit here.

For enquiries, contact us or call 075441 64692.

Full list of updates on media news, reported case law and Home Office Policy and other document updates, reported below.


Home Office to pay TikTok influencers to warn migrants not to cross the Channel – The Independent.

The Home Office is planning to pay influencers to post content on TikTok warning migrants not to travel to Britain in small boats.

The government has been using taxpayer money for social media adverts aimed at deterring potential asylum-seekers for the past three years, in France, Belgium and Albania – but The Independent has previously reported how they had instead targeted tourists and business travellers. It is now understood that home secretary James Cleverly has agreed to expand the campaign into new source countries, with conversations already underway with the governments of Vietnam, Iraq and Egypt about what forms it could take there.

For full report, click here.

Judge criticises Home Office errors in Palestinian refugee’s visa case – The Guardian

The Home Secretary has given an “unreserved and unqualified apology” to a Palestinian refugee for “serious errors” made in relation to her student visa application.

Amena El Ashkar, an alumna of the prestigious Chevening scholarship who describes herself as a stateless Palestinian, was denied a student visa by the Home Office after receiving a full scholarship to study for a PhD at the London School of Economics (LSE).

In a judgment by the upper tribunal, the Home Office was criticised for its “shockingly poor” and “seriously flawed” handling of the visa application.

For full report, click here.

Home Office pays for 16,000 homes for asylum seekers despite housing shortage – The Telegraph

The Home Office has built up a stock of 16,000 properties for asylum seekers, despite acute shortages of homes for young workers and families.

Contractors working for the Home Office are offering landlords five-year guaranteed full rent deals to take over the management of properties as they race to transfer asylum seekers out of hotels.

The properties, drawn from the private rental and social housing markets, are being used to house more than 58,000 asylum seekers across England, Wales, and Scotland double the number in so-called “dispersed accommodation” a decade ago.

For full report, click here.

Home Office remains silent on location of two migrant men who stowed away in luggage hold of coach carrying children back to UK from school trip in France – Daily Mail

The Home Office has remained silent on the location of two migrant men who were found in the luggage hold of a school coach returning from a trip to France.

Parents were left stunned after two men, thought to be in their early 20s, were found lying inside the hold as the bus arrived back to Hounsdown School in Southampton, Hampshire, on Saturday evening.

One of the suspected migrants attempted to run off as the door was opened but was stopped by parents waiting to pick up their children. One child’s luggage was reportedly left ‘crumpled’ and covered in urine.

For full report, click here

The Guardian view on the Home Office English test scandal: a lesson in political cruelty – Editorial, The Guardian

A draconian blanket response to evidence of cheating by some international students in the early 2010s was flawed and unjust, as reported in the Editorial comments in Guardian.

“Many of us are destitute … many of us are on medication for stress and depression. Many of us have been rejected by our families, who are ashamed by the allegation of cheating. Some of us have even attempted to take our own lives because we see no other way out.”

The pain in these words – contained in a despairing letter delivered to Whitehall in 2020 – recalls the emotional plight of post office operators caught up in the Horizon scandal. They were not, however, written by Alan Bates, but by a group of international students at the sharp end of another apparent miscarriage of justice – one that has also been hiding in plain sight.

For full report, click here

Windrush Scandal victim granted judicial review after Home Office refused compensation – The Independent

A member of the Windrush generation who was wrongly denied entry to the UK and sent to Jamaica has been granted a judicial review of his case.

He is set to challenge the Home Office’s decision to refuse him compensation under the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

Raymond Lee, 67, first came to the UK as a child in 1971 where he lived for nearly 30 years. But he was wrongly denied re-entry at Heathrow airport when he returned from a visit to Jamaica in July 1999. Tearing him away from his then-wife and five children in the UK, Mr Lee was detained at the airport, removed and forced to stay in Jamaica. Though he later returned to the UK months later, the retired builder is seeking compensation for the impact that this had on his life.

For full report, click here

Rishi Sunak’s small boats plan suffers another blow as Home Office deems Turkey unsafe – The Independent.

Rishi Sunak’s pledge to halt boats carrying migrants across the English Channel is under threat once again as the Home Office is said to have concerns about Turkey being a safe country.

The decision puts the prime minister’s hope of striking a returns deal with Ankara in jeopardy, as officials say that Turkey is “over-zealous” in its anti-terrorism laws and has unfair trials.

For full report, click here.

Former TFL worker forced to sleep on streets after ‘cruel’ Home Office visa delays – The Independent.

A former TFL worker facing deportation has been forced to sleep on the streets of London this winter as the Home Office has been accused of ignoring his visa application, The Independent can reveal.

Victor Erouhwo, 41, has been fighting to remain in Britain after his visa expired and he was unable to afford the costs of applying for an extension.

Having moved to Britain from Nigeria in 2007 to pursue studies, Mr Erouhwo eventually gained a limited Leave to Remain Visa on a 10-year route to indefinite leave to remain. However, he was unable to afford the fee of more than £4,000 for his visa extension and became classed as an “overstayer” by the government in January 2022.

For full report, click here


The House of Commons Library has updated its research briefing on immigration fees, noting that there have been significant increases recently, including a 66% rise in the immigration health surcharge to £1,035 per year for adults that took effect last week. In addition, visa application fees rose on October 4th by 15% for work and visitor visas, 20% for family, settlement, and citizenship visas, and 35% for student visas. The briefing highlights that UK policy sets immigration fees above processing costs to cross-subsidise wider immigration activities, resulting in fee hikes well above inflation in recent years.

For full report, click here

Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, Second Report of Session 2023–24 House of Commons House of Lords Joint Committee on Human Rights

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has published a report on its inquiry into the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, finding the Bill fundamentally incompatible with the UK’s human rights obligations. The committee conducted detailed scrutiny and found the Bill disapplies nearly all key provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 regarding removals to Rwanda, undermining the universality of human rights. Further, by allowing ministers to decide whether to comply with European Court of Human Rights interim measures, the Bill openly risks UK breaches of international law. Overall, the committee concludes the Bill goes further than ever before in enabling human rights violations through the asylum system.

For full report, click here

Humanitarian visas in a hostile environment Historical legacies, geopolitical ties and everyday experiences, MIGZEN Research Brief, no. 5, Michaela Benson, Nando Sigona and Elena Zambelli

A new academic report has examined the experiences of people who arrived in the UK through the bespoke Hong Kong BN(O) and Ukraine humanitarian visa schemes. The key finding is that contrary to government claims that these schemes provide robust humanitarian protection, people arriving on the visas are facing significant challenges. According to the authors, the experiences show these ‘safe and legal routes’ are not a viable replacement for the UK’s mainstream refugee protection. 

Professor Nando Sigona stated that the findings underscore the need to closely examine the implications of these visa schemes. He said the government often refers to them to demonstrate its commitment to international protection, but they are no alternative to the asylum system – at best, complementary. Significant concerns persist, especially regarding the temporary protection for Ukrainians and restrictions and costs for Hong Kongers.

Overall, the report casts doubt on using bespoke humanitarian routes to replace robust refugee protection mechanisms.

To download the full report, click here

Foreign Direct Investment: UK remains second in Europe despite a fall in project numbers, EY report.

The United Kingdom maintains a strong position in attracting high-value foreign direct investment projects and associated employment, even as the total number of projects has declined. According to recent data, the UK ranked first in Europe for expected jobs from investment projects that reported employment figures, with 47,000 jobs, ahead of Spain at 39,000 and France at 38,000. For the third consecutive year, the UK outperformed Germany and France in terms of average jobs per project, with 59 jobs per project compared to 58 in Germany and 33 in France. Additionally, the UK led in large job creation projects, with 103 projects expected to generate over 100 jobs each – considerably higher than the 89 such projects seen in France, 62 in Spain, and 48 in Germany. Thus, while seeing fewer total projects, the UK remains highly competitive in securing major investments poised to create significant employment.

For full report, click here


Caseworker Guidance Inadmissibility – third country cases have been updated on 14th February 2024. To view the updated Guidance,  click here.

Policy paper Inadmissibility claims under the Migration and Economic Development Partnership has been published on 14th February 2024. To view the Policy, click here

Collection: Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda have been updated on 14th February 2024. To view the Collection, click here

Guidance Landlord’s guide to right to rent checks has been updated on 14th February 2024. To view the latest Guidance, click here.

Guidance: Immigration bail: digital reporting has been updated on 14th February 2024. To view the latest Guidance, click here.

Transparency data: Migrants detected crossing the English Channel in small boats has been updated on 14th February 2024. To view the latest data, click here.

Policy paper: National Security Bill – factsheets has been updated on 12th February 2024. To view the latest Policy, click here.

Interim accommodation policy change: medical cases has been updated on 8th February 2024. To view the latest Policy, click here .




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