End of HSMP
New Tier 1 of the Points Based System begins operation on 30 June 2008, replacing the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) and seven other immigration categories, including business persons, innovators, investors, self-employed lawyers, writers, composers and artists, and the International Graduates Scheme (IGS). Those currently in the UK in any of these categories are invited to apply under the appropriate Tier 1 category when their leave expires.
Local enforcement teams
On 19 June 2008 the UKBA announced that around 7,500 UKBA officers and staff up and down the UK are to be reorganised into 70-80 Local Immigration Teams to ‘focus on local immigration crime’. Introducing a new paper, ‘Enforcing the Deal’, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said that ‘Each local team will enforce the full range of immigration laws, concentrating on intelligence gathering, the disruption of illegal activity, tracking down and detaining immigration offenders and failed asylum seekers, and tackling illegal working’. Companies employing those without the right to work now face fines of up to £10,000 per illegal worker, and from 19 June will be named on the UKBA website.
She also announced that names and addresses of foreign nationals who have been removed from the UK and who have been convicted of immigration offences – will be shared with over 270 financial service, telecoms and utility companies through the database of a new fraud prevention body CIFAS, to assist them in tackling fraud.
Returns Directive not tough enough for UK
The UK is not intending to opt in to a draft directive on detention and removal of those illegally in the EU, which will ensure that removal from any EU member state means expulsion from all, on the basis that it isn’t tough enough, despite complaints by UNHCR, ECRE and others that the draft will violate fundamental rights. Under the draft Directive, which the EP voted to accept with minor amendments on 18 June and which will be adopted by the Council in July, those illegally in any EU country will have between 7 and 30 days to leave on receipt of an expulsion notice, and if they don’t they can be detained pending removal for up to six months, renewable in some cases to 18 months. Expulsion will normally result in an automatic ban on entry to any EU member state for up to five years (more if expulsion follows criminal offences).
UNHCR reports more refugees
UNHCR published its annual report on 17 June. It reported that the number of refugees under UNHCR's responsibility increased from 9.9 to 11.4 million. Nearly half of them are from war torn Afghanistan (around three million) and Iraq (around 2 million). The number of people affected by internal displacement rose from 24.4 to 26 million.
R v Davis UKHL 36, 18.6.08: in this very important criminal case, the HL reaffirms the unacceptability of anonymous evidence and quashes a conviction for murder based on anonymous witnesses.
AM Pakistan v Secretary of State for the Home Department EWCA Civ, 17.6.08: It is counsel’s responsibility to argue all relevant grounds on reconsideration, so that although an immigration judge is not limited to the grounds on which reconsideration was ordered, an appellant cannot complain to the Court of Appeal that the immigration judge failed to address a point taken at High Court reconsideration but not since.
YS Egypt v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 674, 4.6.08 (permission): Tribunal arguably erred in law in accepting as serious grounds for believing appellant had been guilty of terrorism allegations proved ‘to no standard at all’ in an Egyptian court, in respect of which extradition was not proceeded with for want of evidence.
Gichura v Home Office  EWCA Civ 697, 20.5.08: There is no reason to exclude services provided to a person held in an immigration removal centre from the ambit of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
R (Z) v Secretary of State for the Home Department EWHC Admin, 18.6.08: Where an adjudicator dismissed an asylum claim on the basis that he did not believe the claimant's assertion as to his identity and alternatively that, despite the identity issue, the claimant's account of the risk he faced contained discrepancies, later evidence of the claimant's truthfulness about his identity was enough to give rise to a fresh claim under the Immigration Rules r.353, as it was difficult to conceive that the adjudicator would not have approached the discrepancies in the claimant's account differently if he had accepted the basic claim as to his identity.
Ryabkin v Russia(8320/04), ECtHR 19.6.08: The Court held that there was a real risk of ill-treatment contrary to Art 3 in a proposed extradition to Turkmenistan. It also found breaches of Article 5(1) and 5(4) in the applicant’s detention for extradition.
‘Discretion: the chilling effect on gender and sexual identity asylum claims’(Mitre House Chambers Immigration Law Seminars) 1 July 2008, 6.30-8.30pm, Mitre House Chambers, 9 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HA. Cost: £10 + VAT. 1.5 CPD points. Contact Ian Kitchen: tel 020 7307 7100.