Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Immigration Corner | Immigrant entitled to bail?

Published:Tuesday | November 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I have a relative who is in the United Kingdom in detention due to an immigration matter and I was wondering whether she would be entitled to bail.

- RM

Dear RM,

I do not know specifically why your relative is in detention over there, but I can provide you with some general information.

Persons can apply for immigration bail if the Home Office is holding them on immigration matters, and they may be released from detention if they agree to obey some conditions. These persons can apply whether they are held in an immigration removal centre, a detention centre or a prison; however, they must be held on immigration-related matters.

Persons may find it hard to get bail if they: have broken the terms of bail before; have a criminal record, and the judge believes that they might re-offend. If persons were refused bail in the last 28 days prior to making a bail application, they probably will not get another hearing unless their situation has changed significantly.

If they are refused bail, they will be provided with a written statement explaining the reasons for refusal. If persons get bail but are due to be removed from the country within the next 14 days of the refusal, they will not be released without permission from the Home Office.

Persons need to apply to one of the following for bail: the first-tier tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber); a chief immigration officer - if their detention started less than eight days ago; the home secretary, if their detention started more than eight days ago. Also, if persons have appealed to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, then the application should be made to them. If persons have a solicitor or a legal adviser acting for them, they can help them with a bail application.

When applying for bail from the tribunal, persons should fill out form B1. If applicants are unable to download the form themselves, they can ask the staff at the place where they are being held, or alternatively, ask the tribunal to send them the form. Please see contact details below.

- First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) customer.service@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk

- Telephone: 0300 123 1711

- Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It is advisable to find out about call charges.

If persons have a tribunal appeal hearing scheduled, they should send the form to the tribunal or hearing centre where it is happening. Otherwise, ask staff at the place where they are being held so that the application can be faxed to the right venue. Persons can also find the address of the venue using the A to Z list.

 

NOTICE OF HEARING

 

There will be a hearing to decide if persons should be granted bail. This will happen a few days after the application is received. They will receive a 'notice of hearing' to state when it is. It is quite likely that the applicant will not be in the room for the hearing, and it is more likely to happen over a video-link instead.

Persons are more likely to get bail if they have a place to stay. The application is also more likely to succeed if persons have at least one surety. This is a person who will pay money if the applicant breaks the terms of bail; makes sure the applicant stays in touch with the authorities; can attend the applicant's bail hearing. Persons must ensure that they provide information in the application form about where they will live and particulars of the sureties.

If persons are granted bail, it will have conditions attached. If persons do not follow the terms of their bail: they may be returned to detention; the applicants or their sureties may have to pay the money agreed at the hearing.

Notwithstanding, the aforementioned persons can ask to change some conditions, for example, if persons need to move to a new address. Persons should ask the Home Office, or the immigration official that they report to can advise on how to do this. It should be noted that the Home Office may not agree to the change. If they do not, persons can apply to the tribunal.

- 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