Immigration Bill

JUSTICE is concerned that the Immigration Bill would create a more legally obscure system of immigration control, which places greater power in the hands of administrative authorities without effective means of independent oversight.

  • We regret that the proposal to remove access to an independent determination on appeal from most applicants will – in practice – leave many, if not, most decisions on immigration as a matter of effective administrative discretion. Neither administrative review nor the limited opportunity for judicial review will provide an effective alternative in practice. Administrative review is neither independent nor effective. Government proposals on judicial review – limiting access to review and to legal aid – are likely to render judicial review a remedy open only to those with independent means.
  • In light of these proposed changes to judicial review, we urge Parliamentarians to subject the proposals to expand the Secretary of State’s certification power to remove an individual before his or her appeal is considered, to close scrutiny. These certification powers may mean that the only determination of a case considered before an individual is removed is administrative. JUSTICE considers that the historically poor quality of administrative decision making – with up to 50% of some kinds of decisions being overturned on appeal – should form the starting point for Parliament’s scrutiny of these proposals.
  • JUSTICE particularly regrets the politically charged debate that has been associated with the proposals in Clause 14, which relate to the individual right to private and family life protected by Article 8 ECHR and the Human Rights Act 1998. We reiterate our concern that any attempt to ask Parliament to entirely predetermine the proportionality of fact-sensitive immigration decisions which engage the right to private or family life will either be unworkable or could lead to the violation of the UK’s international human rights obligations in practice.

We share concerns expressed by others about the wider implications of the Bill for equality in the provision of services, access to housing and healthcare across the community and regret that many of the changes in the Bill will have a wider-reaching impact on our communities far beyond immigration (Part 3). Changes to the rules on bail will, in effect, expand the administrative detention of individuals, and will remove important independent safeguards against serious abuse and maltreatment (Part 1, Clause 3). Similarly, the introduction of a general power for immigration authorities to use reasonable force in the conduct of their statutory duties creates legal uncertainty and the need for such a broad based power has not been illustrated (Part 1, Clause 2).