Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Immigration Corner | I don't want to get kicked out of the UK

Published:Tuesday | October 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am in the United Kingdom illegally and I would like to know what options do I have to stay, if any.

- FA

Dear FA,

If persons have broken the immigration rules, for example, by living in the United Kingdom illegally, the Home Office can make them leave. This is loosely referred to as being deported but technically, the correct term is administrative removal.

Prior to being removed, persons will get the opportunity to provide evidence indicating reasons supporting an application to stay in the United Kingdom. If the evidence is rejected, persons can appeal if they have appeal rights, and this information will be on their letter from the Home Office; or they can choose to leave.

If the appeal is not likely to succeed it is recommended that he/she leave voluntarily, because, if unsuccessful, he/she will be banned from the United Kingdom for 10 years if deported. Conversely, if a person chooses to leave, that person can return to the United Kingdom between one and five years, depending on their circumstances and if their application is successful.

 

REASONS TO STAY

 

If the decision to deport has been made by the Home Office, persons will be informed in writing. Persons can respond to their letter with reasons why they should be able to stay in the United Kingdom. How to do this, and the deadline, will be explained in the letter from the Home Office. If a response is made, it should contain reasons that the Home Office will accept, for example, if persons have strong connections and family in the United Kingdom and deportation would go against their human rights; returning to their home country would be dangerous, in which case persons can apply for asylum. As such, persons will either be allowed to stay in the United Kingdom, or the Home Office will begin the process of deporting them.

If a person's argument to stay in the United Kingdom is rejected, the Home Office will send a letter with information about leaving and it will state whether an appeal can be made.

If persons cannot appeal, their only option is to take their case to a judicial review. They will need to do this within three months of receiving the decision. It should be noted that judicial reviews are not a good option for most people, because they are only successful if there has been a legal or administrative error, which does not happen very often; not everyone can apply for judicial review, as it is up to a judge to permit the application. The other option would be to leave voluntarily.

 

Who can appeal?

 

If persons can appeal, an appeal will succeed if they have strong connections and family in the United Kingdom; the original decision racially discriminates against the applicant; going back to their home country would be unsafe; the decision breaks the law or immigration rules. Persons can still leave voluntarily if their appeal fails. Persons can contact their member of parliament if they decide to appeal, as they can get the case looked at again if it is thought that a mistake has been made; ask the Home Office to look at your appeal quickly. It should be noted that persons can appeal again if their first appeal fails, and ask for a judicial review. Further, if the applicants' situation changes and they have new evidence showing they should be able to stay in the United Kingdom, persons might be able to make a new appeal.

After persons have exhausted all their appeals and if they do not leave voluntarily, they will be deported and persons will not be able to apply to return to the United Kingdom for 10 years.

If persons leave the United Kingdom voluntarily and if they pay for their journey home, they can apply to return to the United Kingdom in one year.

Persons can apply to return to the United Kingdom: in two years if they leave within six months of being told to leave; in five years if it takes them longer than six months to leave.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com.