22nd October 2015
Nomoshkar (Bengali)!

Once again Home Office ignores evidence to relentlessly pursue the goal of creating a hostile environment for migrants, with the Immigration Bill now threatening to put landlords who don't check the immigration status of tenants in jail for five years.  Had the HO actually wanted to keep an open mind about the issue, it would have waited till the review was complete, and taken on board concerns raised as part of the pilot in the West Midlands.  Instead the HO knew from day one what it wanted, and the review appears to be a tick box exercise only.  It is bemusing that politicians seemingly have carte blanche whereby they can ignore evidence to simply do as they please.

It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that forcing landlords to be immigration officers will result in preferences given to those with pale skin and British accents. Those who look or sound different, even if they are British, may well have to fork out more for rent; those who don't have a British passport, but are here legally, also face difficulties, because of the multitude of visas and permits, which some landlords just won't take the trouble to understand.  Those who happen to be here unlawfully are likely to be exploited further or end up on the streets. It's a no win situation.

No doubt Theresa May (described by a comedian as having all the compassion of stage 4 bone cancer)  will think this is the price to pay if you want to live in the UK, and if you don't like it, then your leaving can only aid her net migration target.

On a more positive note....further to our putting a family in touch with Russia Today, we have received another request from a former BBC journalist who has covered family migration.  She is interested in speaking to divided families in Somerset, Wiltshire or Gloucestershire.  If this is you, please let us know.
Over the last few years, I've come across many cases of people detained at UK ports.  A few involved unnecessary handcuffs, many involved tears and all took hours or even days from the individual's life, subjecting them to bullying and scare tactics. 

The case that really got to me though is Alois Dvorzac, an 84 year old, who lost not just hours or days because of our immigration officers, but his entire life.  Like many of you, I have elderly non-British relatives.  Simply imagining their being subjected to the treatment afforded to Mr Dvorzac, I feel myself engulfed with rage. 

Mr Dvorzac was on his way from Canada, hoping to see his daughter in Slovenia. An inquest jury heard this week that Mr Dvorzac was not a danger to the UK public - just that his papers weren't in order. Thus I cannot fathom why we would handcuff him at all, and why only remove them once his heart stopped? I cannot understand why medical advice was ignored, or what sort of human beings are being bred at the Home Office who can tell a doctor expressing concern for her patient's welfare that it wasn't any of her business?!

Sadly I don't imagine SSHD will take responsibility for the failings within her department.  Another life chalked up to collateral damage to counter what she seems to perceive as the whole world wanting to come to our shores to strip the gold off our pavements.

A script for a mini-play written by one of our members, Kit Walkham, has been accepted. 'Red book, blue book' features a child playing with a doll sent by her absent dad, and will be one of several mini-plays shown as part of the same events in Plymouth and London.  Links to tickets below.

Monday 26th October Plymouth
(Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard) as part of BETA.
Sunday 1st Nov & Monday 2nd Nov Clapham (London)
Bread and Roses pub theatre. 
Aaron & Kano - British citizen Aaron is forced out of the UK because he fell in love with a woman from Japan.
Last week I mentioned Colin Yeo/ILPA wrote to the European Commission, citing about 30 refusal letters as examples - from you guys - on how Home Office has been not been correctly implementing requirements under Surinder Singh. Concerns raised include:
  • Centre of Life: not in line with a 2014 court judgment, O & B vs Netherlands, yet over 70% of the sample gives COL/integration as reason for refusal.
  • Length of residence: Courts say three months sufficient. However, 25% of our sample were refused because of this reason, even though they had been residing in the other member state for at least 3 months. In one case, HO mentioned an expectation of 18-24 months!!
  • Activity: HO recognises only work as valid activity invoking SS rights. However courts have said any genuine exercise, be it study or self-sufficiency, is fine.
  • Jobs and money: In over 35% of the sample HO stated sponsor not having a job before their move, or insufficient UK savings/employment was a reason to refuse.  These are not valid requirements. You do not need a job offer before moving to the other member state, nor do you need any savings or UK employment to return.
  • Motive and knowledge of SS: Several examples were given of knowing the law (by way of applicants being aware of SS and COL), or not providing a motive for exercising treaty rights, given as reasons for refusal.  Yes, HO really did clearly suggest that having done your homework in knowing what the requirements were, meant you were trying to deceive them !
  • Application form: Colin also mentioned the length and content of the UK RC form as yet another obstacle to the exercise of free movement rights.
See here for a a summary of the refusal letters, which also forms part of the submission to the EC and this for some useful references on free movement.  We will let you know once we hear back from the EC on this.

Once again, thanks to all those of you who have shared (and continue to share) your refusal letters, which meant the complaint submitted carries more weight, as it is linked to real-life examples of HO behaviour.


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