The 'points based system' came into effect on 27 November 2008 for tiers 2 (skilled workers with a job offer, e.g. teachers and nurses) and 5 (youth mobility and temporary workers, e.g. musicians coming to play in a concert). There are significant consequential changes to the immigration rules as well as changes to the rules relating to business and other 'special' visitors. see here and click here
Human Rights Watch accuses the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo of brutally repressing opposition.
VAT rate change: the LSC confirms that all cases concluded before 1st December will attract a VAT rate of 17.5% and all cases concluding on or after 1st December will attract a VAT rate of 15%. They are making the necessary adjustments to their systems. see here
In EA and Others (Public Funds: Housing Association housing) Nigeria  UKAIT 00084 (25 November 2008) the AIT held that where housing is provided by a housing association it will amount to public funds within the meaning of para. 6 of HC 395 if the housing association is acting as the delegate of a local authority in respect of the latter's housing obligations.
In FB (Lone women - PSG - internal relocation - AA (Uganda) considered) Sierra Leone  UKAIT 00090 (27 November 2008) the AIT held inter alia: (1) Given the pervasive influence of the Bondo societies in Sierra Leone, the inferior position of most women in that country and the relative lack of support provided by the community, a woman who has undergone FGM but who has opposed traditional practices is capable of being a member of a particular social group for the purposes of the Refugee Convention. (2) The CA's judgment in AA (Uganda) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 579 is not authority for a wider proposition that lone women cannot be returned to Uganda or, indeed, any other specific country. Nor is it support for the proposition that it is unduly harsh to expect lone women to relocate to the capital city of their country of origin or any other large urban centre. Rather, it is a re-affirmation, in line with AH (Sudan) that such relocation must be reasonable, in other words, that it must not have such consequences upon the individual as to be unduly harsh for her. If survival comes at a cost of destitution, beggary, crime or prostitution, then that is a price too high.
In AM & AM (armed conflict: risk categories) Somalia CG  UKAIT 00091 (1 December 2008) the AIT held inter alia: (1) When considering the question of whether a person is eligible for refugee protection on the basis of exposure to armed conflict, Adan  2 WLR 702 (HL) does not permit decision makers to reject their claims per se. (2) A person may be able to succeed in a claim to protection based on poor socio-economic or dire humanitarian living conditions under the Refugee Convention or Article 15 of the Qualification Directive or Article 3, although to succeed on this basis alone the circumstances would have to be extremely unusual. (3) In the context of Article 15(c) the serious and individual threat involved does not have to be a direct effect of the indiscriminate violence; it is sufficient if the latter is an operative cause. (4) The Opinion of the Advocate General in Elgafaji, 9 September 2008 in Case C-465/07, does not afford an adequately reasoned basis for departing from the guidance given on the law in the reported cases of the AIT on Article 15(c), namely HH and others (Mogadishu: armed conflict: risk) Somalia CG  UKAIT 00022 and KH (Article 15(c) Qualification Directive) Iraq CG  UKAIT 00023. (5) Before the AIT will take seriously a challenge to the historic validity of an AIT country guidance case, it would need submissions which seek to adduce all relevant evidence, for or against, the proposed different view. The historic validity of the guidance given in HH is confirmed. (6) However, as regards the continuing validity of the guidance given in HH, the AIT considers that there have been significant changes in the situation in central and southern Somalia, such that the country guidance in that case is superseded to specified extent. (7) Where a particular route and method of return is implicit in an immigration decision it is within the jurisdiction of the AIT to deal with issues of en route safety on return: see AG (Somalia)  EWCA Civ 1342. But in the context of Somali appeals currently, the method of return is far too uncertain and so any opinion the AIT expresses on such issues can only be given on an obiter basis.
Unfortunately the ILPA training on "The Qualification Directive: The first two years of European refugee law and humanitarian protection" (as heralded in the last two bulletins and scheduled for 2 December 2008) has been cancelled by ILPA due to a lack of bookings.