Consultation Responses: Immigration
We are pleased that the Independent Chief Inspector is undertaking an inspection on Border Force’s approach to victims of trafficking. We are very concerned that statistics show that Border Force rarely identify victims, which suggests that victims are not promptly being identified. We recommend a number of issues for the Inspector to look at.
While it is good that the Home Office is finally moving to issue Short Term Holding Facility Rules (which will govern detention at Larne House), we think they need to be much more focussed on ensuring that vulnerable categories of people are quickly identified and released from detention. This would include victims of trafficking, victims of torture, pregnant women, etc.
We agree with DHSSPS that Independent Guardians should be experts in thier work but believe that the proposed social worker criterion would be too restrictive and may unnecessarilly restrict the pool of potetially qualified applicants.
We believe these proposals are retrogressive and will leave those affected in an even more vulnerable situation by exacerbating instances of destitution. Our experience is that the asylum support system is already insufficient to enable recipients to provide for their 'essential living needs.'
These proposals will compound the hardship experienced by asylum seekers including by reducing NASS support rates for single adults and removing additional payments to children.
In evidence to a Parliamentary Inquiry on behalf of a number of Northern Ireland voluntary and community organisations in 2012 we cited numerous examples of asylum seekers struggling to take care of their children's basic needs. We explained that charities’ resources were extremely stretched and were unable to meet all the needs. We do not support the proposals. Instead, we would ask the Home Office to consider the recommendations submitted to the Parliamentary Inquiry in 2012.
DOJ Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy August 2015
We suggest a number of amendments / new initiatives for Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy. We are particularly keen to ensure that all victims of exploitation (whether victims of trafficking or forced labour) have the same entitlement to support and assistance.
The Group of Experts (GRETA) who monitor the implementation of the Council of Europe’s Trafficking Convention are preparing for their second evaluation of the UK. We have asked the Group of Experts to note a number of positive anti-trafficking developments in Northern Ireland but we also highlight issues that need addressing.
We call for the British and Irish governments to recognise each others’ visas so as to allow for smoother travel between jurisdictions. Concerns about current cross border immigration enforcement operations must be addressed.
We argue that the UK's immigration detention policy is wholly contrary to UNCHR's guidelines and at odds with detention policy across Europe, which is extraordinary and unjustifiable. We also outline a number of Northern Ireland specific detention issues.
OFMDFM: Racial Equality Strategy Oct 2014
We have signed up to the Common Platform paper which has been agreed by organisations working for and with people from BME backgrounds living and working in NI: Sign up to the racial equality common platform
In our short response, we focus our thinking on the immigration chapter and outline some initatives that OFMDFM could include in the Strategy's Action Plan.
NICCY and Law Centre (NI) call for an amendment that will extend Legal Guardianship to all separated children. We argue that a Legal Guardian can help identify victims of trafficking as well as to help protect other vulnerable children from being trafficked.
We call for significant reform of the National Referral Mechanism, including removing the Competent Authority role from the Home Office; putting the NRM on a statutory footing and introducing a right of appeal for those who get a negative decision.
In our view the Morrow Trafficking Bill contains a number of innovative features: it has potential to protect victims of forced labour as well as victims of human trafficking; it gives victims a clear legislative entitlement to support and assistance; it provides for a child trafficking guardian and creates a Northern Ireland rapporteur. We believe all these provisions would be extremely valuable.
In this joint response with Housing Rights Service, we strongly object to the proposal to require landlords to conduct immigration checks on potential tenants.
Children's Society: Parliamentary Inquiry into Asylum Support for Children Law Centre (NI) and Others December 2012
We argue that the asylum support system fails to keep children out of poverty and call for urgent and substantial reform. The response draws upon material provided by a range of NGOs working in NI with expertise in this area and is endorsed by Barnardo’s NI, HAPANI and NICRAS.
We give the Westminster Joint Committee on Human Rights an overview of issues faced by separated children in Northern Ireland and we highlight recent developments and examples of good practice.
We are pleased that PPS is developing guidance. We emphasis the complexity of trafficking cases and highlight the need for PPS to consult with victims more closely. This response is endorsed by Amnesty International.
In a joint response with Amnesty International, we urge DHSSPS to play a full role as a First Responder in adult trafficking cases.
Tribunal Service Bail Guidance for Immigration Judges December 2011
We propose a number of changes to the Bail Guidance that woudl ensure that the detainee is fully aware of the case against her/him. We also urge Judges to require that UKBA substantiates any assertion of an 'imminent removal'.
UKBA: Family Migration October 2011
UKBA: Limits on Non-EU Economic Migration - UKBA September 2011
We object to a cap on migration. However, if a cap is introduced it must contain suitable treansitional arrangements for 'in-country' migrant workers and should not limit dependents or interfere with family life.
We recommend that the Migration Advisory Committee set the migration cap in the most flexible manner possible and that it recommends a Northern Ireland Shortage Occupation List.
The Law Centre is alarmed by UKBA proposals to introduce further cuts to the asylum support system.
We strongly support the joint efforts of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights Commission in pushing for the ratification of the UN Migrant Workers Convention 1990 in both jurisdictions.
UKBA intends to simplify the Immigration Rules. We welcome the proposal to retain discretion that enables UKBA to make positive decisions outside the Immigration Rules in exceptional circumstances. However, we also outline concerns relating to other proposals.
UKBA: Charging for immigration and visa applications December 2009
We oppose UKBA’s proposal to introduce a points based test for citizenship.
UKBA: Oversight of the Immigration Advice Sector August 2009
We are not in favour of a mandatory Early Removal Scheme. We highlight th eimportance of specialist legal advice in respect of all deprtation cases.
BIA: Keeping Children Safe from Harm April 2008
BIA: Visitors Consultation March 2008
Controlled Access to the UK Labour Market for A2 Workers September 2007
BIA: Simplifying the Immigration System August 2007
Home Office: The UK Borders Bill May 2007
Establishing a Migration Advisory Committee January 2007
Home Office Immigration and Nationality Fees (PDF) December 2006
Habitual Residence Test Following the Bhakta Case September 2006
European Union Asylum Qualification Directive August 2006
Selected Admission - Making Migration Work for Britain December 2005
Asylum and Immigration Tribunal Review December 2005
Legal Aid for Asylum Appeals May 2005
New Rules for Immigration Tribunal Procedures January 2005
Transfer of Immigration Detainees March 2004