Reports from unannounced inspections on four immigration short-term holding facilities (Colnbrook near Heathrow Airport, Reliance House and John Lennon Airport, Liverpool and Sandford House, Solihull) noted that detainees spent unacceptably long periods locked in single rooms; there was a lack of information and independent advice for people facing imminent removal; staff lacked information about detainees' previous periods of detention, particularly in police stations; and that more than a third of detainees said they had felt unsafe. More info
A new quota for the Sectors Based Scheme Food Manufacturing sector has been agreed, which applies to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals only, has been set at 3,500 permits. More info
Copies of the first report by Mrs Costelloe Baker (covering refusal decisions made between January and December 2005) were placed in the libraries of the House of Lord and the House of Commons on 11 January 2007. The Monitor wrote "Many Entry Clearance Officers do indeed base decisions on facts, evidence and the Immigration Rules, but others look careless and casual"; and noted that "More than half of the sample included no specific mention of the [immigration] Rules at all" and that "More seriously, some Entry Clearance Officers do not know the Rules and do not bother to check." More info
Immigration Minister Liam Byrne stated "We requested applications in 2004 to accelerate the process of identifying those who qualified, giving priority to applications submitted before 31 December 2004. Late applications were considered but not prioritised. We believe we have identified all families who might qualify under the exercise but will consider others if they come to light." See House of Commons - 17 Jan 2007 : Column 1193W. More info
The hearing of the appeal in AA (Zimbabwe) II concluded on 16 January 2007 and judgment has been reserved. More info
A Freedom of Information Act disclosure on Self-harm in Immigration detention recorded figures on self-harm in immigration detention for November 2006. More info
In Case C-229/05 P the ECJ reversed the decision of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities of 15 February 2005 in Case T-229/02 PKK and KNK v Council  ECR II-539, and accordingly ruled that the application of Osman Ocalan to challenge Council Decision 2002/460/EC of 17 June 2002 (specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism) on behalf of the PKK was admissible.
In Salah Sheekh V. The Netherlands (Application no. 1948/04; 11 January 2007) the European Court of Human Rights found that the situation in the "relatively unsafe" areas of Somalia (Mogadishu and Kismaayo and the area around these towns, the provinces of Bay, Baykool, Lower and Middle Juba, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Gedo, Hiran and Galgaduud; as opposed to safer zones that comprised the provinces making up Somaliland and Puntland, the south of Mudug and the islands off the coast of southern Somalia) for members of the Ashraf minority are such their return would foreseeably expose them to treatment in breach of Article 3. It might render the protection offered by that provision illusory if, in addition to the fact that he belongs to the Ashraf, an applicant was required to show the existence of further special distinguishing features. It was most unlikely that a member of the Ashraf minority from the south of Somalia would be able to obtain protection from a clan in the "relatively safe" areas. More info
In Jia (Free movement of persons)  EUECJ C-1/05 (09 January 2007) the European Court of Justice ruled that, having regard to Akrich, Community law does not require Member States to make the grant of a residence permit to third country national family members subject to the condition that those family members have previously been residing lawfully in another Member State. To determine whether an individual was a dependant family member, the question needed to be posed as to whether they needed the material support of the Community national their spouse in order to meet their essential needs in the State of origin or the State from which they have come at the time when they apply to join that Community national. Proof of the need for material support may be adduced by any appropriate means. More info
In SK (FGM, ethnic groups) Liberia CG  UKAIT 00001 (08 January 2007) the Tribunal ruled that whilst the position of women in Liberia is improving in many respects, in particular as regards the action being taken to punish those who commit rape, there is nevertheless sufficient evidence of societal discrimination against women to make them a particular social group in Liberia. Whilst it could not be said that all women were at risk, women in Liberia belonging to those ethnic groups where FGM is practised were also a particular social group. They remarked that credibility will usually have an important part to play in determining whether a woman is at real risk of FGM. In the case of a woman from a rural area in Liberia, internal relocation to Monrovia or some other urban centre will not be available unless her circumstances are such that she will be able to survive economically and resist pressure from any family or other members of her ethnic group who may be in that place: such instances are likely to be rare. More info
In NM (No retrospective cancellation of leave) Zimbabwe  UKAIT 00002 (20 December 2006) the Tribunal stated that where there has never been any valid decision on an immigration application, that of itself would deprive the Immigration Judge of jurisdiction to hear an appeal against such a decision, leaving the original application outstanding before the Secretary of State awaiting decision. The case turned on the power to cancel leave, and the Tribunal found that there was no power to cancel leave retrospectively, so that where at the time the application was made the applicant had leave, no subsequent decision of the respondent could change that fact. More info
SK (illegal entrant: leave to enter) Nigeria  UKAIT 00003 (22 December 2006) found the Tribunal reviewing the old case of Akhtar in the Court of Appeal, wherein it was found that a person who breaches the terms of his temporary admission is liable to be detained as an illegal entrant, although in such circumstances the Secretary of State is not bound to treat such a person as an illegal entrant. However it was wrong in principle to accept that a person who commits any breach of the terms of his temporary admission, however minor, automatically becomes a person who has entered illegally. An appellant is not entitled to rely on their own wrong so to require the Secretary of State to treat them as an illegal entrant with the consequence that policies appropriate for illegal entrants might apply to them. More info
In Mahmood (R on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department 2006 EWHC 228 (Admin) the Administrative Court doubted that the Secretary of State can simply rely on reassertion of the underlying power under which a person has been detained (whether that is to be found in paragraph 16 of the 1971 Act 2nd Schedule or anywhere else) to re-detain that person after he has been released by the Tribunal under paragraph 22, where the effect of such a decision is to undermine the basis on which the Tribunal reached its decision.
ILPA and the British Institute for Human Rights are putting on a conference "Article 8 : Migrants and their rights to a family and private life" to take place on Friday 9 February 2007, Kings College, London.
Contact their training department via www.ilpa.org.uk or 0207 251 8383
HJT Training Comprehensive Four Day Course on LSC/Law Society Accreditation Exams 12-15 February 2007; Revision Day Saturday 17 February 2007. Book via www.hjt-training.co.uk or 0208 303 3013
"Free" Advice from Specialist Immigration Counsel
For the period 1 January 2007 to 30 March 2007, solicitors firms or advice agencies which have LSC Contracts (or are LSC Quality Mark holders) will be able to seek and obtain written advice from counsel on Immigration cases without having to first call the Garden Court Chambers Call Counsel advice line. Click here for more details