Nearly 800 foreign criminals are being removed from the UK as tough new ‘deport first, appeal later’ measures really begin to make their mark.
Powers introduced in the UK Government’s flagship Immigration Act 2014 are cracking down on the ‘appeals conveyor belt’ often used by criminals from overseas to delay their removal from the UK. More than 300 have already been removed while nearly 500 more are currently proceeding through the system.
Non-suspensive appeals came into force last July, meaning that UK Home Office officials can now deport criminals before they have the opportunity to launch spurious claims under the Human Rights Act or otherwise falsely claim asylum.
Those individuals deported then have the right to launch an appeal from their own country rather than “clogging the British justice system”, in turn costing UK taxpayers time and money in fighting the cases through the courts.
The new powers have seen a number of criminals deported despite them having family members in the UK, reinforcing the Government’s stance that the right to a family life should not override the rights of wider society.
Attempting to cheat the system
Commenting on the news, Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “Foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crime in Britain should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them. The countless appeals and re-appeals lodged by criminals attempting to cheat the system cost us all money and are an affront to British justice. Non-suspensive appeals are allowing us to deport foreign criminals more quickly and more efficiently than ever before, and I want to see them used as often as possible.”
Brokenshire added: “Alongside tougher crime-fighting measures, improved protection at the border and greater collaboration between the police service and immigration enforcement officers, the Immigration Act 2014 will help us deliver an immigration system that’s fair to the people of this country as well as legitimate immigrants while being tough on those who flout the rules.”
The Act has also slashed the number of appeals available to foreign criminals from 17 to just four. They’ve been denied the right to appeal against deportation simply because they do not agree with decisions made.
Under the new rules, once a decision has been taken to deport a foreign criminal the individual concerned will have to lodge any appeal and all papers their lawyers think are relevant to their attempts to stay from outside of the country. This puts the breaks on delaying tactics often employed by criminals desperate to thwart UK justice.
Previously, it was commonplace for criminals to submit to the courts reams of new, unconsidered ‘evidence’ creating legal delays while Government lawyers studied the new paperwork.
The non-suspensive appeals measures will work alongside other powers in the Immigration Act 2014 to speed up the justice system and make it more efficient.
Background to the latest statistics
The figures quoted are taken from internal management information data compiled by Home Office officials between 28 July 2014 – when the first Immigration Act Commencement Order was laid and when the amendments to the EEA Regulations came into effect – and 17 December 2014. They’re provisional and therefore subject to revision.
All of the cases mentioned here are associated with non-suspensive appeals for deportees. These are contained in Section 17(1) and 17(3) of the Immigration Act 2014 (certification of Human Rights claims made by persons liable to deportation) and, in respect of EEA nationals, in Regulations 24AA and 29(3) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 (as amended) (Human Rights considerations and interim orders to suspend removal, and effect of appeals).
Regulation 29(3) provides that an appeal against a deportation decision no longer automatically suspends removal proceedings.
*Further regular information on removals and voluntary departures can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly Immigration Statistics publication