Home Office ministers are refusing to abandon their policy of threatening to take the children of rejected asylum seekers into care despite a critical internal report saying it has failed to encourage them to leave the country. Immigration minister Liam Byrne refused, on 21 February, to rule out extending the controversial policy that can lead to the children of failed asylum seekers being taken into care. The policy - under s. 9 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Act 2004 - is being piloted in London, Manchester and Leeds. So far the children of five of the 113 families involved have been taken into care.
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Unaccompanied teenagers claiming asylum could be forced to have dental X-rays to prove their age, immigration minister Liam Byrne has told MPs. click here for news story
New COIR on Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Somalia, Syria, Zimbabwe and a COI key information document on North Korea. more info
On 22 February the IND announced that Lin Homer has written to the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee to update the Committee on work on IND Reform, Foreign National Prisoners, and the Legacy Casework Programme. The update on IND reform includes the move to shadow agency status on 1 April and progress towards implementing the Points Based System.
Also claims of some significant progress made in tackling the 1,013 cases in which a foreign national prisoner was released without deportation consideration. IND have now considered all of these cases for deportation and all but one of the most serious offenders have been brought under control, or their cases have been resolved. From this cohort, 163 deportations or removals have been achieved, 180 are currently in detention and 101 are on bail. Deportation is now considered before release in all cases. Deportation or removals have continued to increase and as at 12 February IND had deported or removed 2,240 foreign national prisoners since April 2006. more info
Revised guidance for work permit holders who are non-visa nationals with a work permit valid for six months or less: If a work permit holder has not obtained entry clearance and they leave the Common Travel Area during the validity of their work permit, their landing permission will lapse. They may be allowed to re-enter during the period of validity of a work permit by presenting the permit again to gain entry clearance. However, the possession of a work permit does not guarantee them automatic re-entry to the UK. The decision to grant re-entry is for the Immigration Service to make. Where an IO refuses re-entry, for example because the basis on which the work permit was first issued has changed, a new work permit would be required for re-entry to the UK. If a work permit holder who needs to travel outside the Common Travel Area within the period of validity of their work permit has reason to believe their permit may not be accepted for the purpose of re-entry, they may wish to consider obtaining entry clearance before they travel. more info
R (AM (Cameroon)) v AIT  EWCA Civ 131
In exceptional circumstances it is possible for a court to grant permission for judicial review of interlocutory decisions of an immigration judge despite the fact that a High Court judge had rejected the applicant's case for reconsideration under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 s.103A. Judicial review jurisdiction is not excluded by s.103A(6) of the Act and a court was arguably not prevented from granting such relief as was necessary where gross procedural unfairness of the kind arguably shown in this case had been established. more info
MA (Palestinian Arabs - Occupied Territories - Risk) Palestinian Territories CG  UKAIT 00017
Merely being a Palestinian Arab in the Occupied Territories, even if male aged between 16-35 from the northern part of the West Bank, does not mean that a person would face on return a real risk of persecution, 'serious harm' or ill-treatment contrary to Article 3 of the ECHR. This Determination, made with the benefit of up-to-date and detailed background evidence, updates and replaces AB & others as country guidance. more info
Huang (respondent) v SSHD (appellant); Kashmiri (appellant) v SSHD (respondent) was heard by the House of Lords between 19 and 21 February: opinions are awaited.
"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 form counsel on Immigration cases without having to first call the Garden Court Chambers Call Counsel advice line. More info