The UK Border Agency has announced 10 wide-ranging pledges for 2009. (1) In March 2009 it plans to open a new immigration removal centre to help remove immigration offenders, Brook House, located near Gatwick in south-east England. (2) In April 2009 the target is to maximise use or the points-based system "to ensure that migration matches the country's needs in hard times." (3) In April 2009 it will start charging migrants to create a multimillion-pound fund "to reduce the impacts of migration on local services" and (4) introduce new technology to help detect drugs and other illegal goods.
(5) In May 2009 there is an intention to "Be tougher on European criminals, removing European nationals who cause harm to our communities," considering European criminals for removal if they have been sentenced to only 12 months in jail. There are also plans to target and deport low-level, persistent foreign offenders who cause harm in their communities but have not been given a prison sentence - for example, those who have continued to offend while on community service. (6) In July 2009 there will be new visa controls, covering nationals of Bolivia, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Venezuela. (7) In August 2009 a new facial recognition technology in 10 terminals, will give British passengers "a faster, secure route through the border." (8) 75,000 compulsory identity cards to foreign nationals will be issued, following their introduction in November 2008 for some categories of foreign national living in the United Kingdom, as expanded to include more categories in February 2009. (9) In December 2009 there will be more screening of passengers against security watch-lists, and the introduction of a new high-tech security centre. (10) In December 2009, the government aspires to deport a record number of foreign prisoners. more info
Jacqui Smith announced three significant changes to support British workers and to be more selective about the migrants coming to the United Kingdom from outside the EEA. From 1 April the Government will strengthen the resident labour market test for tier 2 skilled jobs so that employers must advertise jobs to resident workers through JobCentre Plus before they can bring in a worker from outside Europe; use each shortage occupation list "to trigger skills reviews that focus on up-skilling resident workers for these occupations, which will make the United Kingdom less dependent on migration for the future"; and tighten new criteria against which highly skilled migrants seeking entry to the United Kingdom are judged, by raising the qualifications and salary required for tier 1 (General) of the PBS to a Master's degree and a minimum salary of £20,000. more info
In SS and Others (Sovereign immunity claim, Certificate conclusive) Malaysia  UKAIT 00007 (11 February 2009) the Tribunal found that where an appellant claims State immunity a certificate issued by the Secretary of State under s.21 of the State Immunity Act is conclusive and may not be questioned by the Tribunal.
In AM (Section 88 (2): Immigration Document) Somalia  UKAIT 00008 (11 February 2009) the Tribunal found that a failure (in the decision-maker's view) to produce a document proving identity leads to mandatory refusal under para 320(3). There is a right of appeal against that refusal unless the document sought by the decision-maker falls within the definition of "immigration document" in Section 88(3). An Immigration Judge was entitled to take the view that a statement made by a governmental authority adequately established identity such as to cause the appeal to be allowed. It was undesirable for the Secretary of State to send legal submissions in standard form, setting out some of what are apparently her favourite determinations and judgements, with no comment or indication of which of them are said to be of relevance to the appeal in question, and then to complain of the failure of the Immigration Judge to deal with other arguments.
In NA (Customary marriage and divorce, evidence) Ghana  UKAIT 00009 (12 January 2009) the Tribunal made findings on the need for registration and dissolution of Ghanaian customary marriages. They noted that in general the onus of proving either a customary marriage or dissolution rests on the party making the assertion, meaning that under the immigration rules it is for the appellant to prove that a marriage is valid. It would be prudent to provide registration of dissolution a former marriage to prove a divorce, alternatively to produce a statutory declaration or affidavit produced by family members or other people able to confirm as much.
Natasha Gya-Williams, Atkins Law Solicitors, and Alison Harvey, ILPA, on Friday 6 March 2009, at a venue to be confirmed in Bristol, from 4.00-7.15pm, are giving a course titled "Current challenges for UK Immigration Lawyers".
Rachael Mason, Ernst and Young, and Mahmud Quayum, Camden Community Law Centre are presenting "Entry clearance: all you need to know" on Friday 13 March 2009, London, from 4.00-7.15pm.
See www.ilpa.org.uk for details