Immigration News Weekly Roundup – 24 November 2023

 Immigration News Weekly Roundup – 24 November 2023

Several intriguing immigration policy updates have emerged from UK government this week, warranting a close consideration, in particular for UK Business Immigration practitioners.  

Beginning with a positive development, the Displaced Talent Mobility Pilot for skilled refugees has seen promising results in integrating skilled refugees into priority employment sectors. By matching applicants to roles suiting their expertise, participating businesses have accessed specialized talent while empowering refugees rebuilding post-displacement lives. Tax contributions from pilot participants are notable too – delivering almost £1 million annually. Given early achievements, the pilot deservedly received a year’s extension as more businesses enrol.

Contrastingly, a concerning policy shift involves mandating stricter delivery driver checks to mitigate illegal working risks. Takeaway companies must implement tighter account access controls and ban unofficial driver substitutions. While public safety merits consideration, blanket suspensions absent due process seem heavy-handed when less disruptive diligence methods exist.

A Work Rights Centre report shed critical light on how aspects of the immigration system potentially enable migrant worker exploitation. Specifically, complainants on restricted visas tied to a single sponsoring employer face clear imbalances of power that unscrupulous businesses can leverage. Reforms addressing this vulnerability could limit exclusions from labour regulations.

Updates regarding different spectrums of visas have been flagged within the wider Autumn 2023 budget statement as well. Minor expansions to business visitor eligibility in 2024 were re-announced alongside existing commitments on youth mobility scheme places. Significantly, no reference emerged of the seismic growth across visa categories revealed in September migration statistics. Strikingly, health and care visas rose 135% annually; family visas 117%, and work visas 54% year-on-year.

The exponential health visa spike explains the Home Office indication of imminent policy reviews in this space. Current growth likely outstrips sustainable capacity ceilings across infrastructure, public services, and the economy. We may therefore see tightened entry criteria or skills tests for high-demand roles to stabilize influx rates. Consideration of these statistical pressures within the Autumn statement could have brought useful context on resourcing for incoming cohorts.

Recent Court of Appeal case FN (Burundi) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Court upheld the deportation order of a mother despite her British-citizen child’s objections surrounding potential undue consequences. While acknowledging the inherent difficulties in such situations, the Court ultimately determined the child would not face outcomes, rising to the level of “unduly harsh” from this decision.

As the government continues efforts to tighten migration controls, recent developments such as the Illegal Migration Act leave many vulnerable migrants at heightened risk of deportation. Consequently, a surge of Judicial Review applications is widely predicted as a safeguard against removal. 

To provide essential guidance navigating these complex proceedings, HJT is convening a timely Judicial Review Conference on December 1st. An outstanding panel featuring Mark Symes and David Jones alongside eminent King’s Counsels will illuminate best practices for challenging removals across varied contexts – spanning asylum, Article 8 appeals, trafficking cases and business visas refusals.

Delegates will receive comprehensive JR procedure updates while directly engaging expert perspectives on crafting nuanced legal arguments. The central London venue also enables valuable peer networking with delegates equally keen to master the intricacies of immigration appeals whilst participating in our 20 Year Anniversary celebration.

With JR cases in this field projected to rise steeply in coming months, practitioners can ill-afford knowledge gaps on litigation tactics. As seats remain limited, early registration is advised to guarantee participation at this not-to-be-missed judicial review seminar. For booking, visit here


In summary, this week’s immigration developments have both been favourable and concerning aspects. The support for skilled refugee resettlement is encouraging, yet the heightened enforcement around unlawful working could unintentionally complicate things for lawful workers. Additionally, the major increase in work visa holders appears poised to strain current systems, without readily apparent planning to expand capacity to match the growth.

 Mastering Immigration Law 

As the data shows, change is afoot in UK immigration.  For immigration practitioners, staying current amid constantly evolving policies and new legal precedents presents an ongoing challenge. But knowledge truly is power in this field. Equipped with the latest updates and insights, immigration lawyers can continue providing clients with agile, compassionate representation during turbulent times.

Mastering Immigration Law supports practitioners through these turbulent times by consolidating need-to-know immigration updates and insights into a convenient email digest. Expert editor Mark Symes and his team analyse each new policy announcement, statutory change, and tribunal judgment, then summarize the practical implications for legal advisors and migrant clients. The subscription helps lawyers efficiently filter signal from increasing noise when determining relevance. Access to timely and accurate guidance allows advisors to incorporate current best practices into client case strategies.

With immigration changes unfolding daily, quality information sources remain vital. Mastering Immigration Law keeps practitioners effortlessly informed, providing the understanding required to make informed decisions amid uncertain seas. As the immigration sphere continues rapidly evolving, this trusted publication promises practitioners the analytical edge to chart a successful course ahead.

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This and more are covered in our Immigration News Weekly Roundup. The full list of updates on media news, reported case law and Home Office Policy and other document updates, see below.



Skilled refugees contributing £1m to UK economy each year – UKVI

Skilled refugees are contributing nearly £1 million each year in income tax and national insurance thanks to UK government pilot schemes to help those fleeing their homes find employment, helping to boost the UK economy and enabling businesses to access the vital skills they need.

Following a successful start, the government’s Displaced Talent Mobility Pilot has been extended for a further year, with more businesses being encouraged to hire skilled refugees while helping people rebuild their lives in the UK. First launched in October 2021, businesses ranging from renowned global companies to small enterprises have participated in the scheme, with refugees fulfilling roles as senior engineers, paralegals, construction managers, and software testing consultants in priority sectors.

For full report, click here

Food delivery companies urged to end unchecked account sharing – UKVI

Food delivery firms have been urged by the government to conduct checks on all delivery drivers, to protect the British public and prevent illegal working.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has demanded Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat end the practice of unchecked account sharing, known as ‘substitutions’, by implementing stricter controls.

For full report, click here

Man and woman reportedly drown trying to cross Channel to UK – The Guardian

A man and a woman are reported to have drowned on Wednesday trying to cross the Channel to the UK in a small boat.

Fifty-eight others were rescued, with many of the survivors understood to have been suffering from hypothermia.

The latest tragedy comes just two days before the second anniversary of the deadliest drowning in the Channel in 40 years on 24 November 2021, when at least 27 people drowned.

For full report, click here

Ukrainian refugee families in UK four times as likely to end up homeless – The Guardian

Thousands of Ukrainian refugee families are at risk of homelessness this winter and are four times as likely to end up on the streets as other families in the UK, according to research from the British Red Cross.

A report by the charity and Heriot-Watt University, published before Wednesday’s autumn statement, calls on the chancellor to include extra funding for Ukrainian families to prevent a sharp rise in homelessness among this group.

For full report, click here        

Home Office reverses decision to deport Egyptian student in need of UK medical treatment

An Egyptian student who has a rare genetic disorder that cannot be treated in his home country says he now has “hope for the future” after the Home Office reversed its decision to deport him.

Youssef Mikhaiel, 28, who lives in Glasgow, was due to be deported in June, but the removal was postponed after a ruling at the court of session in Edinburgh. He has been granted to leave to remain until April 2026 with officials saying they would exercise discretion in view of his “exceptional circumstances”.

For full report, click here

Home Office looks at ways to cut legal migration to UK – Financial Times

The Home Office is examining a package of measures to cut legal migration to Britain and reduce the “abuse” of work visas, as it seeks to reassure the public it has a grip on immigration.

Changes under consideration include increasing the salary thresholds for skilled worker visas and limiting the number of dependants care workers can bring with them, according to three people briefed on the deliberations.

For full report, click here 

Sunak plans new immigration crackdown on foreign worker families as migration figures set to hit record high – Independent

Rishi Sunak is planning a series of new immigration crackdown measures, as he prepares for fresh Conservative party anguish over record-high migrant numbers.

With the prime minister under huge pressure to get on top of illegal arrivals, official figures to be published on Thursday are expected to show net migration has surged to unprecedented levels.

For full report, click here


Gurdeep Kaur v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] EWCA Civ 1353

The Court of Appeal overturned a ruling by the Upper Tribunal concerning article 8 matters and the citizenship status of a spouse. The case has been returned to the Upper Tribunal for additional review.

The appeal focused solely on questions regarding article 8 rather than issues of deception, which the Upper Tribunal had already settled. The Upper Tribunal judge argued that the appellant could easily reintegrate into India alongside her spouse, as both supposedly held Indian citizenship. However, evidence has only established the husband’s British citizenship. No proof has been presented to substantiate Indian citizenship for either individual.

The court rightly ruled that making a legal determination based on the uncorroborated assumption that the husband was Indian amounted to a material error on the article 8 issue. The finding lacked factual justification regarding the couple’s capacity to reside together in India.

For full decision, click here

FN (Burundi) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] EWCA Civ 1350

The Court of Appeal handed down a judgment in this case upholding the deportation of a mother despite objections surrounding potential consequences for her British-citizen child. While recognizing the difficulties inherent in such situations, the Court determined the child would not face “unduly harsh” outcomes from this decision.

In assessing the appeal, the Court affirmed conclusions drawn by the Upper Tribunal on key areas of contention. Namely, no proof showed continuing police action or social services findings to substantiate domestic abuse claims tied to the deportation challenge.

Additionally, the Upper Tribunal appropriately weighed the child’s expressed preferences and anticipated emotional impact without overreaching into definitive pronouncements on precise harm levels.

For full decision, click here


International students in UK higher education, Research Briefing, By Paul Bolton, Joe Lewis, Melanie Gower, House of Commons Library, 20th November 2023

The briefing published this week by the House of Commons Library provided updated details regarding international students in British universities.

The report indicates that research conducted by London Economics estimated the net economic gains delivered by first-year international students starting in the 2021/22 school year to be £37.4 billion.

This significant amount demonstrates the advantages afforded to the United Kingdom economy by international students deciding to pursue higher education within its borders. The briefing serves as a useful reference outlining the role played by these students in the country’s university system and their wider economic contributions.

For full report, click here

Systemic drivers of migrant worker exploitation in the UK: The Work Sponsorship System And Labour Enforcement, report by Adis Sehic Dora-Olivia Vicol Work Rights Centre , Adis Sehic Dora-Olivia Vicol

A recently published study from the Work Rights Centre, an organization advocating for employment justice, analyses how the United Kingdom’s immigration policies may increase the potential for exploitation of migrant laborers.

The report specifically focuses on migrants under the points-based system whose visas are connected to their sponsoring employer. It explores the structural factors within the immigration system that make this demographic vulnerable to mistreatment in the workplace. The authors advocate that certain aspects of UK immigration law can serve to empower unscrupulous businesses while disempowering the migrant workers they employ.

This represents a systemic risk factor for the labour exploitation of immigrants who have been granted limited work authorizations. The report calls for reforms to address this imbalance of power and its consequences.

For full report, click here


  • National statistics: Summary of latest statistics has been published on 23rd November 2023. To view the latest data, click here


  • Guidance: Questionnaire: continue your asylum claim has been updated on 22nd November 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here


  • Transparency data: Migrants detected crossing the English Channel in small boats has been updated on 22nd November 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here


  • Policy paper: Autumn Statement 2023 has been published on 22nd November 2023. To view the latest Policy, click here


  • Guidance: Living in initial accommodation for asylum seekers has been updated on 21st November 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here


  • Guidance: Spain- tuberculosis test clinic for a UK visa has been updated on 21st November 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here


  • Guidance: Immigration Rules archive -5 October 2023 to 14 November 2023 has been published on 20th November 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here


  • Right to work and right to rent checks: equality impact assessments has been updated on 16th November 2023. To view the updated report, click here


  • Asylum accommodation factsheets have been updated on 16th November 2023. To view the updated report, click here


  • Guidance: Illegal working penalties – codes of practice for employers has been updated on 15th November 2023. To view the updated Guidance, click here


  • Guidance: Mutual legal assistance has been updated on 15th November 2023. To view the updated Guidance, click here



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