We’ve been asked to flag up the changes between this edition and the version that came out in 2016.
Firstly, there aren’t too many changes, as the print version of the Toolkit is written so that it will go out-of-date as little as possible. As you’ll see if you’ve got a copy, for information that is likely to be time sensitive (for examples, fees and forms, or very detailed information about legal processes) we tend to put “See online Toolkit for up-to-date information”.
However, many of you will know how much the Home Office like to mess around with the procedures and policies so there are inevitably changes. And then of course there’s Brexit. In the last edition, we debated whether to even include “If the UK leaves the EU…” warnings. In this edition, it’s been changed to “when the UK leaves the EU…”. The immigration system post-Brexit is still not decided, but what this space for new resources from us when the legal picture becomes clearer.
Major updates since the 2016 edition came out
- The ‘Family Migration’ section of the 2016 Toolkit referred to an ongoing legal challenge against the £18,600 salary threshold to sponsor a non-EEA national spouse to live with you in the UK. Sadly, the legal challenge was not successful on the matter of the salary threshold. There were important victories within the legal judgment on this, nonetheless. The judge found that where the financial requirements aren’t met through salary/cash savings, further consideration must be given to alternative sources of income. Also, it was found that the Family Migration Rules and guidance fail to fulfil the Government’s legal duty to have due regard to children’s best interests. Read more here.
- In the ‘Asylum Introduction’ section, we have a lovely new image to illustrate the concept of asylum, the interview, testimony, and persecution:
- In the ‘Claiming Asylum’ section of the 2016 Toolkit, we refer to people commonly having to wait as long as three months between their screening interview and their substantive. We now hear from a lot of people waiting 9-12 months between these interviews.
- We have new, better diagrams of the asylum process! (Thanks to South Yorkshire Refugee Law and Justice for feedback on this). This is diagram of the asylum process (up to the point of the asylum decision) in the new edition:
- In the ‘Dublin Regulations’ section, some more detail about the deadlines for take back/take charge cases has been added.
- We’ve been learning a lot from our Early Asylum Support work in Sheffield. We’ve incorporated a lot of that learning into our legal updates blog and the online version of the Toolkit section on the Asylum Interview. In the print edition, we’ve added:
Some people are now having their substantive interviews conducted via video conference: the person seeking asylum sits in a room in one location, and the Home Office interviewer and interpreter sit in another location, and the interview takes place over a video link.
This means the interview is automatically recorded (which is good), but most people are not given a copy of this at the time of the interview (it is usually sent to their lawyer some days later). This makes it harder for you to check straight after the interview if there were any issues around interpretation or things you don’t think you explained properly.
- Another new diagram – for the process after an asylum or human rights refusal:
- Good news: the “deport first, appeal later” provisions – referenced both in the Appeals and Removal/Deportation sections have been found to be unlawful by the Supreme Court. Read more here.
- In the ‘Judicial Reviews’ section, we have updated the information to reflect the changes around judicial reviews and preventing removal. Read more here.
- A new, simpler diagram to explain the Fresh Claims process:
- Some more good news! In the ‘Detention’ section of the 2016 Toolkit; we refer to the lack of a time-limit for adults in detention. While this is still the case for most adults, successful campaigning meant that a time-limit was brought in for pregnant women who are detained.
- The 2018 edition of the Toolkit includes reference to the automatic bail hearings that will be in place from January 2018; and references to ‘temporary admission’ as a form of release from detention have been removed as this will no longer exist from 15 January 2018.
- Also in the Detention section, we’ve updated the information about the ‘Who shouldn’t be detained, according to the Home Office’s own policy’ to reflect the Adults at Risk policy that was brought in in September 2016.
- In the section on Removal/Deportation in the 2016 edition, we explained that the Home Office was still issuing removal directions but was increasingly using a removal window instead. Now, the three month removal window is the norm and it is very unusual for the Home Office to issue removal directions that specify a time, day and flight number (removal directions are still issued in Family Return cases). Read more in the online Toolkit here.
- In the ‘Re-entry bans’ section, the sentences that read “Generally, entry to the UK will be refused if you fall into these categories, unless … you overstayed for less than 90 days” now reads “less than 30 days” to reflect the changes in the immigration rules.