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Home Office Issues New Guidance Stating That Asylum Seekers And Care Leavers Must Be Permitted To Study (10 May 2018)

Date: 10/05/2018
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Home Office Issues New Guidance Stating That Asylum Seekers And Care Leavers Must Be Permitted To Study

Duncan Lewis Solicitors and Garden Court Chambers represent a number of young asylum-seekers who were told by the Home Office that they cannot study. In some cases, we have obtained last minute court orders allowing individual clients to study and sit exams.

See article in The Observer.

We are delighted that on 9 May 2018, on the day of a hearing in one of our cases, the Home Office issued new Bail Guidance stating that asylum-seekers and care leavers must be permitted to study.

How did the study restrictions come about?

  • In January 2018, the Home Office began routinely issuing bail forms (‘Bail 201’) forbidding asylum-seekers to study despite the fact that there is nothing in the law to this effect and it was not previously a standard condition.

  • The restriction has been particularly problematic for care leavers whose local authority support is contingent upon their remaining in education.

  • According to NGOs in this field, large numbers of young asylum-seekers have been prohibited from studying as a result.

  • In response, we have argued in our litigation that the Home Office has unlawfully imposed restrictions on study contrary to the powers afforded to them by the Immigration Act 2016 and that the decisions to impose restrictions are irrational.

What does the revised Home Office guidance say?

See Free Movement article detailing a table reproducing the new study conditions for asylum seekers depending on their status.

  • A clear presumption against a study condition: a person does not have to be given a study condition either permitting or prohibiting studying. If there is any doubt over whether study should be restricted, no such condition should be applied.

  • Consider the impact on the individual: consideration must be given to whether individuals are undertaking significant exams as well as the timescale for their removal.

  • Asylum-seekers should not be subjected to a study condition unless they become Appeal Rights Exhausted (i.e. they have no further right to appeal, known as ‘ARE’).

  • Former Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children must be permitted to study if they are care leavers who have turned 18 and who have an ongoing asylum claim (again, until/ unless they become ARE).

What now?

  • The Home Office will be required to issue new Bail 201 forms to affected asylum-seekers in line with the new guidance. Many should now be informed that they are permitted to study.

  • Study restrictions in Bail 201 forms issued under the previous guidance will continue to apply for asylum-seekers until they have been issued with these new bail forms. This means a significant number of individuals remain affected.

  • In light of this, we will continue to challenge the imposition of study conditions until new Bail 201 forms are issued.

  • We may be able to challenge future restrictions on study, including for individuals with pending fresh claims, as the Home Office may take the view that they are Appeal Rights Exhausted, when, in fact they should be classed as asylum-seekers.

The clients in this challenge are represented by Solicitors Hannah Baynes and Jamie Bell, with the assistance of Caseworkers Helen Seeger and Frankie Boon, under the supervision of Director Toufique Hossain in the Harrow Public Law Team.

Shu Shin Luh and Gráinne Mellon of Garden Court Chambers are instructed as counsel.

If you are an asylum-seeker and you have been told that you cannot study, or you know someone in this position, or you would simply like more information about the matters raised above, please get in touch:

Hannah Baynes: 020 3114 1164 hannahb@duncanlewis.com
Jamie Bell: 020 3114 1184 jamieb@duncanlewis.com

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