Immigration and asylum | The Guardian
Data laws could harm EU citizens' attempts to stay in UK, court told
Thu, 17 Jan 2019 17:26:45 GMT

Judge grants hearing of judicial review request after being told millions cannot access records

Millions of EU citizens could find it difficult to assert their right to remain in the UK after Brexit under Home Office rules denying them access to their personal records, the high court has been told.

The practical impact of the regulations will be to prevent those pursuing immigration claims from obtaining key material about their cases, said Ben Jaffey QC on behalf of two civil rights organisations.

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This won’t hurt: the Syrian medics helped back to work by UK startups | Ammar Kalia
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 06:00:14 GMT

All too often, Britain fails to use the valuable professional skills that refugees bring to the country. But social enterprises are now enabling newcomers to make the most of their talents

Hussam Allahham knows how to save a life on the operating table. He has done it many times in his home city of Damascus. He can fix broken limbs, amputate, remove tumours and replace organs. As a general surgeon he has had plenty of practice with a scalpel and stitches, both in Syria and while in a refugee camp in Italy.

In short, he’d be a useful addition to a health service anywhere. Only, in his new adopted home of Cardiff, Allahham, 36, cannot practise. He has tried to regain his standing as a surgeon but prohibitively expensive language tests and requalification exams have prevented him.

The jobcentre didn’t care that I am a doctor and can contribute to the country, I had to find any work

Related: The Syrian refugee aiming to become an Olympic swimmer

How many people apply for asylum?

Related: Human dignity is in danger. In 2019 we must stand as one to survive | Ai Weiwei

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Revised UK child citizenship character test 'still poor'
Tue, 15 Jan 2019 15:53:18 GMT

Guardian reported last year that hundreds of children had had applications denied

The government has updated its guidance on how the “good character” requirement should be applied to children in citizenship applications, but campaigners say the move does not go far enough and are calling for it to be scrapped entirely.

Campaigners had previously criticised the guidelines for failing to differentiate between young people who had grown up in the UK and wanted to register as British citizens, and adult arrivals looking to naturalise.

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No-deal Brexit: Poland and Czech Republic to allow Britons to stay if UK crashes out
Tue, 15 Jan 2019 07:49:12 GMT

Emergency laws being written to enable Britons to remain and work in the two countries in event of no-deal Brexit

Two more European Union states, Poland and the Czech Republic, have said they are preparing emergency laws to allow Britons to stay to work in their countries legally in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Czechs say their draft law will mean the estimated 8,000 Britons living in the country are exempt from normal immigration laws until the end of the December 2020.

Related: UK nationals in Berlin assured of residency in event of no Brexit deal

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Sadiq Khan demands changes to post-Brexit immigration plan
Mon, 14 Jan 2019 06:00:29 GMT

In letter to home secretary, London’s mayor says Windrush lessons haven’t been learned

Sadiq Khan has written to the government to demand changes to its planned post-Brexit immigration policy, saying that forcing long-established EU nationals to pay fees to stay showed ministers had not learned the lessons of Windrush.

In a letter to the home secretary, Sajid Javid, the Labour mayor said the wider immigration policy, including plans to restrict immigration to people earning above £30,000 a year, would badly damage London’s economy.

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Schools census used to enforce immigration laws, minister says
Sun, 13 Jan 2019 15:52:52 GMT

Families in England providing data on children without informed consent, say campaigners

The government has revoked parents’ right to retract information on their children’s nationality and country of birth submitted to the schools census, months before Brexit throws the immigration status of 3 million European residents into doubt.

Officials from the Department for Education (DfE) collected the data on 6 million schoolchildren in England, before it was halted last June in the face of opposition from critics who said it was an attempt to turn schools into internal border checkpoints.

Related: England’s schools face staffing crisis as EU teachers stay at home

Related: Pupil data shared with Home Office to 'create hostile environment' for illegal migrants

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Immigration curbs after Brexit will 'pull rug' from the Highlands
Sat, 12 Jan 2019 12:20:05 GMT

MSP says white paper will harm area’s economy, which is facing ‘demographic timebomb’

The UK government’s immigration white paper “completely pulls the rug from under the feet of businesses and communities in the Highlands”, according to the Scottish National party’s Kate Forbes, one of the area’s most vocal representatives.

The Scottish government warned last Thursday the government’s white paper on immigration would cut the number of workers from Europe eligible to work in Scotland by up to 85%. Forbes identified a “failure of imagination” from politicians who spent so much of their working lives in densely-populated cities that they cannot fathom there are areas of the country where that is not the case.

Related: The post-Brexit immigration plans at a glance

Related: Scottish Highlands feel the strain as tourism surge causes disruption

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The Stansted 15 stood up for justice. And now I stand up for them | Letter from Catherine West MP
Fri, 11 Jan 2019 16:49:13 GMT
Activists who peacefully seek to defend people’s right of access to justice should not be facing the prospect of life imprisonment under legislation designed to tackle terrorism, writes the Labour MP Catherine West

Two of the Stansted 15 human rights activists who peacefully intervened to stop a deportation flight are my constituents. People who stand up for asylum seekers aren’t terrorists and they shouldn’t be treated as such (Stansted 15 protesters launch appeal against their terrorism convictions, 8 January).

The Aviation and Maritime Security Act was brought in after the Lockerbie bombing to update and enhance protections for airports and ports. Yet it is being used in this context to prosecute peaceful protesters. Indeed, this will be the first time it has been used against non-violent activists.

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UK frees asylum seeker facing deportation to DRC
Fri, 11 Jan 2019 15:12:56 GMT

Decision to allow Otis Bolamu to return to Swansea welcomed by community supporting him

A Congolese asylum seeker who was due to be removed from the UK on Christmas Day has been released from detention, a decision that has been welcomed by the community in Swansea that is supporting him.

Otis Bolamu, 38, a survivor of torture in his home country, is a keen churchgoer as well as a volunteer at his local Oxfam bookshop, and many members of the community, alongside Welsh assembly members and MPs, joined together to protest about his detention and call for his release.

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Guardian and Observer charity appeal closes at more than £1.1m
Fri, 11 Jan 2019 12:14:41 GMT

Readers gave an average of £77 each to benefit charities supporting destitute migrants

The Guardian and Observer 2018 charity appeal has raised £1,127,000 for charities whose work with destitute and homeless migrants and UK citizens helped expose the Windrush scandal.

Thousands of readers had each donated an average of £77 by the time the appeal closed at midnight on Thursday. The total includes estimated gift aid, and will grow in the next couple of weeks as stray cheques come in.

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What is going on in Brexit – and what might happen next?
Fri, 11 Jan 2019 01:00:16 GMT

Your no-frills primer to the UK’s departure from the European Union

Confused by the latest developments in the UK’s fraught departure from the European Union? Here’s your no-frills primer to what’s going on in Brexit – and what might happen next.

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Putting the migrant ‘crisis’ in perspective | Letters
Thu, 10 Jan 2019 17:27:30 GMT
Readers respond to reports and commentary on the recent boat crossings in the English Channel

No, the offer of citizenship to Poles after the second world war did not go “almost unnoticed” (Afua Hirsch, Journal, 3 January). There were many shouts of “Poles go home” fostered by trade unions whose members had the audacity to call them “fascists” for not going back to a country where many would be murdered by Stalin’s puppet regime.

This to a people who made the first moves in deciphering the Enigma machine, invented the first effective mine detector, arguably saved Britain by contributing pilots in the Battle of Britain, contributed more troops to the allied effort than any but the major allied powers, smuggled out V1 and V2 rocket parts to assist the defence against these, played major parts in Italy, the Middle East and Arnhem, and were refused participation in the victory march at the end of the war for fear of offending the Soviets.

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Ministry of Justice workers to stage two-day strike over pay
Thu, 10 Jan 2019 16:50:46 GMT

Cleaners, security guards and receptionists at department demand London living wage

Cleaners, security guards and receptionists at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) are to stage a 48-hour strike to demand the London living wage.

The action by outsourced workers has been coordinated by the United Voices of the World (UVW) trade union, members of which are overwhelmingly immigrants.

Related: Ministry of Justice cleaners begin three-day strike over pay

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Lib Dem bill would let asylum seekers work in UK after three months
Thu, 10 Jan 2019 12:42:13 GMT

Proposed legislation relaxes ban on seeking work within 12 months of asylum claim

Asylum seekers would have the right to work after three months of arriving in the UK under a bill introduced in parliament by the Liberal Democrats.

The move on Thursday by the Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine comes as calls grow for a relaxation of the rules.

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Labour should back another referendum | Letter
Wed, 09 Jan 2019 17:41:11 GMT
The party must announce its support for a public vote so that voters can have the final say on whether to leave the EU, write 33 Labour members

As EU migrants and Labour members, we call on our party to campaign against Brexit. We refuse to be silent in the face of a policy that is an attack on our rights and on the communities our party represents. It is proper, indeed essential, that Labour now follows the policy established at its conference in September. This is to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal, to call for an immediate general election, and to consider campaigning for a public vote.

There is no contradiction whatsoever between campaigning for an election and campaigning for a referendum. When Theresa May’s deal falls in parliament next week, Labour must announce its support for a public vote so that the people can have the final say. We hope that such a referendum can be achieved under a Labour government, following a general election.

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Guardian and Observer appeal passes £1m for Windrush charities
Wed, 09 Jan 2019 11:46:36 GMT

The five charities provide legal advice to migrants affected by ‘hostile environment’ policies

  • You can donate to our appeal here

The Guardian and Observer 2018 appeal has raised more than £1m for five charities that helped expose the Windrush scandal, with two fundraising days still to go.

Generous readers pushed the appeal past the milestone on Monday evening, four weeks after the campaign opened in early December. The appeal closes at midnight on Thursday.

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There's still time to give to our appeal and help end injustices like Windrush | Katharine Viner
Mon, 07 Jan 2019 16:15:32 GMT

Guardian and Observer readers have shown their solidarity with the Windrush generation by donating £920,000 to our charity appeal, which closes Thursday

  • Please donate to our appeal here

Our charity appeal for 2018 sought to celebrate the work of five charities that helped bring the Windrush scandal to light, and raise vital money so they can continue to fight for justice for those whose lives have been turned upside down by the hostile environment policy. With your help, we’ve achieved both. It’s a fantastic achievement: thank you.

Thousands of readers have donated to the appeal – we have so far raised more than £920,000 for our five charities, and there are still three days to go before it closes (at midnight on Thursday). The average individual donation has been about £75. As always, Guardian and Observer readers have shown extraordinary generosity. In a harsh and often cynical world, the appeal feels like a small beacon for justice, tolerance and compassion.

Related: ‘This country welcomed me. Now it’s my turn to welcome others’: how readers were inspired to donate

The Guardian and Observer charity appeal 2018 closes at midnight on Thursday. Please donate here.

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‘This country welcomed me. Now it’s my turn to welcome others’: how readers were inspired to donate
Sun, 06 Jan 2019 09:00:07 GMT
In the last week of our appeal, readers explain why they pushed the total to more than £850,000
• Please donate to our appeal here

The 2018 Guardian and Observer charity appeal has already raised more than £850,000 for five charities who helped bring the Windrush scandal to light.

The charities provide legal assistance, advice, advocacy – and often welfare support – for migrants and UK citizens facing injustice, homelessness and destitution caused by “hostile environment” immigration policies. The Guardian’s award-winning coverage of the Windrush scandal highlighted how the charities’ work helped ensure people were not unjustly detained or deported, and in some cases ensured they received the vital NHS treatment wrongly denied to them.

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France steps up efforts to prevent Channel crossings
Fri, 04 Jan 2019 19:04:01 GMT

French authorities to improve cooperation with UK and increase their coastal surveillance

The French authorities have set out plans to prevent people in small boats risking the dangerous Channel crossing to England after the Royal Navy agreed to deploy a vessel to the Strait of Dover.

Measures being taken include improved cooperation between law enforcement agencies and more surveillance and security on beaches along the northern French coastline.

Related: The Channel migrant ‘crisis’ is really a tale of British hypocrisy | Afua Hirsch

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Martin Rowson on the deployment of a navy ship in the Channel – cartoon
Fri, 04 Jan 2019 17:18:59 GMT
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