Immigration News Weekly Roundup – 4 August 2023

SRA closes three immigration firms – Solicitors Regulation Authority

SRA has closed down three solicitor firms that were named in a Daily Mail undercover operation involving immigration services. Another firm of solicitors has been appointed to act as SRA’s agent to deal with all matters currently held by the closed firms. The agent will assess all on-going matters and deal with those of greatest need first. SRA’s archive team will take control of all documents held by the firms.

To read the full Statement from SRA on this, click here


Home Secretary cracks down on criminals receiving citizenship – Home Office

The government crackdown will come into effect from 31 July, with the strengthened rules applying to new applications from anyone who has received at least a 12-month prison sentence. This re-affirms the government’s commitment to protecting UK borders and ensuring no one with a criminal record can abuse the British immigration and nationality system.

For full report, click here


Jail for van driver who smuggled children as young as one – Home Office

A British man who tried to smuggle migrant children as young as 1 into the UK by hiding them behind boxes in his van has been jailed for 4 years. Saker had claimed to Border Force officers that he was travelling back to the UK from France after collecting shoes for his wife’s new business. He was caught following an investigation by the Home Office’s Criminal and Financial Investigations (CFI) Unit.

For full report, click here


Home Office delays moving asylum seekers to barge over fire safety fears – The Guardian

The Home Office has been forced to delay moving people seeking asylum on to a controversial giant barge in order to carry out last-minute fire safety checks amid concerns the vessel has not received approval from inspectors.

The Guardian understands the initial plan to move refugees on to the Bibby Stockholm in Portland, Dorset, has been moved from Tuesday to Wednesday for officials to give a final survey. It follows reports that the barge could be a “floating Grenfell” and endanger the lives of vulnerable people who have fled hardship and war as it has not received the relevant signoff.

For full report, click here


Home Office buys tents to house asylum seekers – The Guardian

Tents could be used to house up to 2,000 migrants on disused military sites next month, under plans drawn up by the home secretary, Suella Braverman, in an effort to avoid accommodating asylum seekers in hotels. The Home Office bought the marquees in recent days ahead of an expected rise in small boat crossings in August, despite warnings by some in government that housing asylum seekers in tents could trigger legal challenges based on inhumane treatment.

For full report, click here


Home Office secretly backs facial recognition technology to curb shoplifting – The Guardian

Home Office officials have drawn up secret plans to lobby the independent privacy regulator in an attempt to push the rollout of controversial facial recognition technology into high street shops and supermarkets, internal government minutes seen by the Observer reveal.

The covert strategy was agreed during a closed-door meeting on 8 March between policing minister Chris Philp, senior Home Office officials and the private firm Facewatch, whose facial recognition cameras have provoked fierce opposition after being installed in shops.

For full report, click here


Prisoners at HMP Maidstone detained past release date due to delays in Home Office immigration process – Kent Online

In its annual report, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at HMP Maidstone has raised concerns over the humane treatment of people which it believes could be significantly improved by the Home Office.

The findings said long-standing and continuing delays and uncertainty around end-of-sentence arrangements are leading to increased anxiety and negative behavior among prisoners.

For full report, click here


Union demands meeting with Home Secretary over Bibby barge fire safety fears – The Independent

The firefighters’ union has called for an urgent meeting with the Home Secretary over safety concerns raised about a giant barge due to house migrants. The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said it has written to Suella Braverman asking to discuss fears about overcrowding and access to fire exits on the Bibby Stockholm.

It followed reports of the union’s assistant general secretary Ben Selby warning firefighters believe the vessel is a “potential deathtrap” – a comment later dismissed by Energy Secretary Grant Shapps.

For full report, click here


IBM to build biometrics system for UK cops and immigration services – The Register

The UK’s Home Office has handed IBM a £54.7 million ($70 million) contract to work on the biometric matcher platform to support its police and immigration services in identifying suspects against a database of fingerprint and photo data.

Big Blue’s deal is to provide the Matcher Service Platform (MSP), which includes a “service bus” to provide biometric transaction processing logic, biometric workflow rules, integration of matching engine software (MES) and a service interface used by external subsystems”, according to an official notice.

The American tech biz will also create an infrastructure platform to host and provide the computing capacity for these services. The contract, which set to run for a five-year term with an option to extend for a further three years, will transition and manage the existing Matcher Platform, built by Fujitsu, as well as creating new search capabilities and the decommissioning of legacy algorithms for a police service biometric data service IDENT1 and the immigration and asylum biometric information system (IABS).

For full report, click here




R (SA) v SSHD [2023] EWHC 1787 (Admin)

In the judgment issued by Mr. Justice Fordham, it was established that Home Office breached statutory duty to ensure provision of adequate accommodation for pregnant asylum seeker and children, constituting a breach of the reasonableness test established in R (NB) v SSHD.

In reaching this conclusion, Fordham J noted several key factors, including unjustified deviations from policy guidance on accommodating pregnant applicants, a lack of substantive reasoning or evidence of evaluation by the SSHD, severely inadequate laundry and living facilities at the hotel, and an unreasonable length of time spent in these conditions. Fordham J reinforced his findings by referring to the Chief Inspector’s critical report on hotel accommodation and the lack of documentation of evaluative assessments by the SSHD.

This case highlights the systemic problems arising from the SSHD’s widespread use of unsuitable temporary accommodation for vulnerable asylum seekers, exacerbated by severe delays within the Home Office.

To read the full decision, click here


Halil Celik v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] EWCA Civ 921

The much-awaited decision Court of Appeal decision on Ceilk case has been issued.

The Ceilks case has been significant for citizens eligible for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The ruling upheld that the cut-off date for being considered a “spouse” is the end of the UK’s post-Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020. This means that partners married to EU nationals before this date meet the definition of “spouse” under EUSS rules and can apply for settled status. However, partners not married by the end of the transition period cannot benefit from EUSS provisions in the same way, as they no longer automatically qualify as “spouses”. The Ceilks judgment confirms the decisive nature of the 31 December 2020 deadline for relationship status under EUSS eligibility criteria.

In a unanimous agreement, it was concluded:

99. … The appellant was not a person who was a spouse of an EU national residing in the United Kingdom in accordance with EU law before the end of the transition period. He did not marry an EU national until 19 April 2021, that is after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. He did not, therefore, have any right under the Withdrawal Agreement to reside in the United Kingdom.”

To read the full decision, click here




Independent review into labour shortages in the food supply chain – Home Office

The government has published an independent report on labor shortages in the food supply chain, supporting submissions made by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to the Migration Advisory Committee. The report makes various recommendations to help the sector maintain domestic food production levels, including incentivizing automation and developing skills among the domestic workforce. However, the report emphasizes that migrant labor remains key to managing shortages. It calls for immigration policies that support the sector, such as announcing a replacement for the Seasonal Worker visa scheme pilot by late 2023 with a 5-year minimum term, no cap on visas, 9-month visa validity to account for longer harvests, and timely visa processing. The report states it is ‘crucial’ that experienced, capable employers can sponsor workers under a robust enforcement system. It also recommends expanding the Skilled Worker route to include lower-skilled roles facing shortages, with reduced costs and flexible English requirements. Overall, the report stresses immigration policy must bolster the agricultural sector’s labour force.

To download the full report, click here




  • Form – Apply to change your permission to allow access to public funds has been updated on 1st August 2023. To access the updated form, click here


  • Transparency data: Migrants detected crossing the English Channel in small boats – last 7 days has been updated on 2nd August 2023. To download the latest data, click here


  • Guidance: Afghan schemes: funding instructions 2023 to 2024 has been updated on 2nd August 2023. To view the latest information, click here


  • Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents has been updated on 1st August 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here


  • Guidance: Debt to the NHS: Border Force officer guidance has been updated on 1st August 2023. To view the Guidance, click here


  • Guidance: Immigration Rules archive: 19 July 2023 to 24 July 2023 has been updated on 1st August 2023. To view the Guidance, click here


  • Transparency data: Home Office procurement pipeline has been updated on 1st August 2023. To download the latest data, click here


  • Transparency data: Windrush Compensation Scheme data: June 2023 has been updated on 1st August 2023. To download the latest data, click here 

  • Guidance: Immigration Rules archive: 29 June 2023 to 16 July 2023 and Guidance

  • Immigration Rules archive: 17 July 2023 to 18 July 2023 have been updated on 31st July 2023. To view the updated archives, click here and here


  • Guidance: Fingerprinting detained individuals has been updated on 31st July 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here

  • Guidance: Marriage or civil partnership in detention has been updated on 31st July 2023. To view the updated Guidance, click here


  • Guidance: Lesbian, gay and bisexual detained individuals has been updated on 31st July 2023. To view the updated Guidance, click here


  • Collection: Support for Afghans to find settled accommodation has been updated on 28th July 2023. To view the Collection, click here



  • Guidance: Continue your asylum claim has been updated on 27th July 2023. To view the updated Guidance, click here


  • Guidance: Streamlined asylum processing has been updated on 27th July 2023. To view the updated Guidance, click here


Keep yourself updated with the latest news, please subscribe to our mailing list here 

Subscribe and receive updates of the happenings in the law & training events and £10 coupon!  

Your Cart