Month: May 2020

What is the impact of coronavirus on immigration detention centres?

Throughout the last two months, we have seen that the coronavirus is very contagious; we have witnessed that it can spread very quickly, especially in crowded places. Immigration detention centres are some of the places where an outbreak of the coronavirus will put the lives of many immigration detainees at risk.

Furthermore, a recent article published in the Guardian highlights another issue with immigration detention centres; that there are immigrants who have been unlawfully detained. As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the release of some detainees has been delayed. There are two reasons for this:

1) detainees who were particularly vulnerable to contracting coronavirus were placed in solitary confinement for a minimum of three months;

2) detainees cannot be removed to their home countries because of the pandemic. This means that the detention of such detainees may have become unlawful.

According to the leaked data from the Home Office released by the Guardian:

The Home Office is only supposed to detain people if there is a realistic prospect of removing them from the UK. Yet two people who have received letters telling them to stay in their cells for the next three months come from countries on a Home Office list of about 50 that officials cannot currently remove people to because of coronavirus.’

(‘Revealed: at-risk immigration detainees ‘to be put in solitary confinement’’ by Diane Taylor, published in the Guardian on 02 April 2020)

If an individual is still in detention that is unlawful, it may be possible to:

  • Challenge the unlawful detention in Court;
  • Challenge the detention procedure;
  • Ask the Court for compensation; and
  • Ask the Home Office or the detention centre for a formal apology.

Sterling Law is here to help those who have been victims of unlawful detain. In addition to the above, we can advise whether a human rights claim can be brought depending on how long the detention was and what treatment was received in detention.

If we are instructed on behalf of an individual to challenge their unlawful detention at Court, we will represent and guide them throughout the entire court process. Our immigration specialists have significant experience in dealing with the same or similar complex immigration cases.

If you or a member of your family are in a similar situation, or you know somebody who has been detained unlawfully, please contact us on contact@sterling-law.co.uk .

Refusal on Suitability grounds

Sterling Law successfully appealed refusal on Suitability grounds.

The client came to the UK on a visit visa, overstayed and became pregnant. The baby tragically died. She afterwards entered a relationship with a settled person and applied for leave on that basis. The application was refused and we successfully appealed to the First-Tier Tribunal.

The application was refused on Suitability grounds due to NHS debt from maternity services. However, the judge found it unreasonable not to exercise the discretion given the tragic and traumatic circumstances of losing the baby and the fact that the client was committed to settling the debt. It was held that the Suitability ground does not apply.

The appeal was allowed on Article 8 grounds outside the rules. Although the client did not meet the threshold of insurmountable obstacles, it was recognised that her return would be difficult, especially as she is currently pregnant and given her traumatic experiences.

You can contact us at contact@sterling-law.co.uk 

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Photo credits: stillmiracle.com

Daughter-in-law of an EEA national can stay in the UK

Our immigration team achieved great success in representing a client in her appeal against the Home Office’s decision to refuse issuance of the Residence Card as an extended family member of an EEA national.

Our client, a Ukrainian national entered the UK as a Family Permit holder and was residing in the UK as an extended family member of an EEA national (her father-in-law was Portuguese).  Our client lived with her husband and son, whose residence in the UK was also dependent on the same EEA national.

The family applied for Residence Cards under the European Community law. However, the Home Office refused to issue our client and her family Residence Cards on the basis of insufficient evidence of dependency on their EEA sponsor.

In the refusal letter the Home Office stated that printed envelopes and package labels showing our client’s address were insufficient evidence to prove that she was part of the household of the sponsor in Ukraine or UK. Also, there was not enough evidence to demonstrate that she was financially reliant upon the sponsor in Ukraine or the UK.

The family subsequently appealed against the Home Office’s decision to refuse their applications.

Shortly after the appeal was lodged, the Home Office issued Residence Cards to our client’s husband and son as direct family members of the sponsor. The client herself, however, was refused.

The client contacted one of our experienced immigration lawyers, Nozima, who successfully represented her in bringing an appeal against the Home Office decision. Sterling Law submitted that the client was dependent upon the sponsor both in Ukraine and the UK and formed part of the sponsor’s household in the UK, moreover, she was financially dependent on the sponsor in the UK and thus, the refusal to issue residence card was wrong in all the circumstances. After reviewing all the ample evidence, the First-Tier Tribunal decided that the Home Office’s decision to refuse to issue a Residence Card to our client was wrong. The Tribunal stated there was sufficient evidence to show that our client and her family were financially dependent on the sponsor and that she was part of the sponsor’s household in the UK:

‘…money transfers from the sponsor to the appellant and her family members in the Ukraine … are significant in value and extensive covering a significant period of time…’

And:

‘substantial evidence of a reliable nature to demonstrate that the appellant is part of the sponsor’s household in the UK … includes official documentation including the application for National Insurance number, HMRC documentation, confirmation of residence of all parties from the landlord and registration with a GP at the sponsor’s address…’

Therefore, the appeal was allowed and the client was permitted to stay in the UK with her family and obtain residence card, which allows her to exercise more rights in the UK, including the right to work.

Are you an extended family member of an EEA national and have been refused/or want to apply for a Residence Card/ pre-settled status to stay in the UK? If you are in a similar situation or should you have any other immigration-related query or issue, please do not hesitate to contact us on contact@sterling-law.co.uk.

 

 

Photo credits: stillmiracle.com