Suggested letter to MPs – New Plan for Immigration

Dear  Friends

If you have not already signed one of the many template letters opposing the Bill, which are being circulated by the Refugee Council, Detention Action and others,  you might like to crib from this letter which I have sent to my MP.

It identifies our Quaker position and refers to the New Plan for Immigration which took up so much of our time earlier this year.   It does not cover everything of concern.

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Concerns about New Plan for Immigration consultation process

QARN signed this letter: 30 April 2021: Guardian: ‘Sham’: 200 groups criticise UK government consultation on refugee policy

Bodies say survey is poorly designed, rushed and may exclude refugees from responding

Almost 200 organisations have branded a government consultation on fundamental changes to refugee policy “a sham”.

A total of 192 refugee, human rights, legal and faith groups have signed a public statement condemning the six-week consultation on the government’s New Plan for Immigration as “vague, unworkable, cruel and potentially unlawful”.

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Child Citizenship Registration Fees model letter to MP

This is self-explanatory, please write to your MP and let us know what they say:

Dear Member of Parliament, Child Citizenship Registration Fees

As your constituent (address supplied), I am asking if you would kindly contact the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to ask them to give effect to the recent decision in the Court of Appeal (R v SSHD EWCA Civ 193 – Feb 2021) and reduce the per capita child citizenship fee from £1,012 to the administrative cost, which is £386. The decision binds the Home Secretary only to a review, not to a figure, but it would be reasonable to expect this reduction in view of the radical change of culture promised in the Comprehensive Improvement Plan drawn up last September to reflect the Lessons of Windrush Learned.

I would also like you to ask them to review all immigration fees downwards in advance of the same claimant taking a case to the Supreme Court to annul the Fees Regulations of 2017 and 2018. It is clear that most of the immigration fees currently being charged are unaffordable to individuals and families, many of whom have already had to go into debt over recent years because of excessive Home Office fees.

Yours sincerely,


25 March 2021: This was discussed in Parliament – click here for the Hansard link, but your attention is drawn to this extract, Meg Hillier speaking:

2.58pm I will just say, though, that the Minister let the cat out of the bag, rather, when he talked about the rationale behind the fees being the benefits likely to accrue to the applicant. I would say we should also think about the benefit of the applicant to the UK, which has been ably highlighted by, among others, my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Siobhain McDonagh). The Minister also talked about paying for the costs of other parts of the immigration system, so this does cross-subsidise, and I think we need to look very carefully at that principle.

UK’s £1,000 child citizenship fee ruled unlawful by appeal court

18 February 2021: Guardian: Court upholds ruling that Home Office failed to assess best interests of children in setting the fee

Home Office fees of £1,000 for children to register as British citizens are unlawful, the court of appeal has upheld in a landmark ruling.

The high fees that children or their parents are expected to pay to secure British citizenship have been controversial for many years. Children who have a right to register as British citizens but may be prevented from doing so due to the high cost or lack of access to legal advice risk losing out on rights and benefits.

Thursday’s ruling found that ministers had failed to assess and consider the impact of this fee on children and their rights, pointing out that for some families it was “difficult to see how the fee could be afforded at all”.

The Home Office charges £1,012 for a child to register for citizenship. However, the process costs about a third of that, at £372. The Home Office says the profit is used to fund other areas of its work.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/feb/18/uk-unlawfully-charging-1000-for-children-to-become-citizens

Corporate Watch report on UK Border regime

Throughout history, human beings have migrated. To escape war, oppression and poverty, to make a better life, to follow their own dreams. But since the start of the 20th century, modern governments have found ever more vicious ways to stop people moving freely.

The UK border regime includes the razor wire fences at Calais, the limbo of the asylum system, and the open violence of raids and deportations. Alongside the Home Office, it includes the companies running databases and detention centres, the media pushing hate speech, and the politicians posturing to win votes. It keeps on escalating, through Tony Blair’s war on refugees to Theresa May’s “hostile environment”, spreading fear and division.

This book describes and analyses the UK’s system of immigration controls. It looks at how it has developed through recent history, the different actors involved, and how people resist. The aim is to help understand the border regime, and ask how we can fight it effectively.

NB: we will be glad to send copies for free to asylum seekers and other people without papers. For other people and groups fighting the border regime, we can send at cost price or whatever you can afford to donate.

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World Refugee Day: plea to give sanctuary to child refugees

Quaker.org.uk: Quakers are among more than 250 faith leaders who have written an open letter to the Prime Minister, asking him to commit to offering child refugees a safe route to asylum in the UK.

three people in emotional hug

The signatories to the letter include the former Archbishop of Canterbury and Church of England bishops, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, rabbis representing Reform, Liberal and other Jewish denominations, the former president of the Hindu Forum of Europe, the lead Catholic Bishop for Migrants and Refugees plus numerous senior leaders from the Baptist, Methodist, United Reformed, Salvation Army and Quaker traditions across the UK.

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Court: bar set too high for NHS surcharge and visa fee waivers

Guardian: 21 May 2020 Tribunal says if migrants can prove they cannot pay fees then they should not have to do so

The Home Office asked the family to pay £7,665 in visa fees and the health surcharge, even though the family produced evidence to the court of having just one penny in their savings account. The Home Office said they did not meet the destitution test because a friend was giving them accommodation and they were getting basic support to survive from their church and a food bank. …
[…] The court ruled that the Home Office was applying the wrong test for whether or not people should have to pay thousands of pounds for their visas and NHS surcharge… Read more

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Idea for a Zoom reading meeting

QARN ‘Excessive fees: leave to remain in the UK’ leaflet:  In these times of online meetings, here’s a suggested format for considering the important issues raised in this leaflet.  Gloucestershire AM has recently had a good experience of this.  Having originally planned a whole ‘faith in action’ day on refuge and asylum issues, we had to alter it to a zoom event instead. Continue reading “Idea for a Zoom reading meeting”

Vulnerable people paying for immigration system

Excessive fees: applications for Leave to Remain in UK: see the QARN leaflet of April 2020 here: https://www.qarn.org.uk/homepage/new-qarn-leaflet-excessive-fees-leave-to-remain-in-uk-april-2020/

Actual costYou will find a list of fees and actual cost on the gov.uk website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-fees-transparency-data

Information from other sources: Continue reading “Vulnerable people paying for immigration system”