As a direct access immigration barrister who has been practising immigration law since 1999, and indeed started his career working for the Treasury Solicitor, never have I seen such an attack individual’s and family’s human rights. If the 2014 Immigration Act was bad the new 2015 Act puts it in the shade. It seems to me that someone has thought that to try and revoke – withdraw – choose whichever word works for you from the ECHR is going to be prove to be trickier than originally thought that the obvious step would be to legislate step by step to remove any meaningful rights. To insist on article 8 appeals being brought from abroad is in effect to consign such appeals to fail. I struggle to think of any appeal where the main Appellant has not been in the country which has succeeded.
What amazes me further is that this current crack down takes place at the same time as there is the crisis occurring in North Africa and the near East where people are fleeing for their lives. What also gives the lie to the HO and its attacks on migrants / asylum seekers is a study of the relative numbers. There are a massive number of individuals who are coming to Europe for a better way of life – the irony if it is an irony is that the vast majority are heading for Germany. I read someone recently that Germany had some 250,000 claimants whereas the UK had only 25,000. However a reading of the UK press and the right wing press in particular would have one believe that we were facing a horde akin to that of Genghis Khan.
What I also find particularly amazing in the most depressing way is that the UK is a country that is built on immigration. We have benefited from migration from the days way before the Romans to present. All have tended to enrich and further our culture. On top of the migration the British also boasts, if boasts is the correct word, one the largest empires known. One of the key fundamental principles of the Empire was that the UK stood for law, order and justice. Is it any wonder that having conquered, without presumably applying for the relevant visas, vast swathes of the world and taught them English and told them how great we are that they then wish to come and see for themselves?
Personally I would dread to live in a mono ethnic society. A further irony is that the net migration figures go up largely as British people decide to leave this fantastic country, I wonder why?
This post has taken a slightly discursive tack. However the serious point behind it is that there are yet more draconian laws on the way, making it illegal to drive, making it an imprisonable offence to drive, making it harder to rent property, all of which in my view will do nothing for net migration but will increase the black market that exists in this country and force yet more vulnerable people away from the safety of the law.
Having said all of the above, I continue to meet with success in many of my applications both on paper and at appeal and I continue to win a good number of my judicial review applications and I would hope that with adequate preparation and helpful clients that this will continue.
What I would urge upon anyone thinking of making an application or whose leave is due to end is to make the application as soon they can. I would also suggest that if someone is uncertain as to their status or indeed their family’s status that they seek the advice of a reputable lawyer at the earliest available opportunity. As noted in previous blogs I have decided to offer some late night appointments and to work some Saturday mornings in my new chambers, it seemed to me that this was the best way of dealing with people who have busy lives and who have children. In addition I am also happy to organise conferences by Skype or telephone – something that has proved to be growing in popularity.