UKREN blog

Friday 27 January 2017

The Home Office’s Hidden Removals

The Home Office’s Hidden Removals

Tomorrow marks the end of Movement for Justice’s fortnight campaign against mass Home Office deportations.  The campaign, which has instigated 25 protests outside embassies in the UK is a bold effort to pressure the Home Office to end the initiative to “Deport first, appeal later” stated clearly in the 2016 Immigration Bill. Al Jazeera reported between 2001 and 2014 nearly 30,000 were removed from the UK on charter flights.[1] However the Home Office is utilizing an alternative method of deportation for EU nationals that seems to be entirely unreported by media: administrative removals.

What is the difference?


A Home Office spokesman told Al Jazeera: "We are clear we will enforce the departure of anyone with no legal basis to remain in the UK who refuses to leave voluntarily. This includes illegal immigrants and foreign national offenders convicted of offences such as murder and rape."[2]

A deportation requires the deportee in question to have committed a criminal offence. UKREN supports Movement for Justice’s claim that innocent people are often sent on chartered flights into dangerous, often life threatening circumstances. Once deported, one is not allowed to re-enter the country for another decade.

Administrative Removals

While one can return to the UK after a year, administrative removals do not require the person in question to have commited any criminal offence. In fact, the Home Office require very little to approval an administrative removal at all.

In the following letter, UKREN amongst other NGO’s sent this statement of concern to the Home Office:

An administrative removal is when someone is sent back to their country because they are not working or looking for work, studying, having sufficient money to not need to work or being the family member of an EU national in one of the previous circumstances.

 This removal process has increased markedly over the last couple of years. Instead of targeting high risk individuals as promised, or those who clearly do not fall under the categories above, ‘administrative removal’ is now being used against people established in the UK, who have family here, and who are often amongst the most vulnerable, and low-paid. Given one of the more immediate consequences of the referendum is a likely economic downturn in the UK, which will have the greatest impact on the poor, more EU nationals are likely to find themselves at risk of administrative removal in the current climate. 

 Removals impose a significant administrative burden on individuals to prove that they are exercising treaty rights. They are liable for instance to have their identification confiscated. As one man said to us “They took my passport away. How can I look for a better job, for employment, without documents? How can I rent a room? All chances are gone. The state does it to stop my independence and welfare. They want me out. It’s just not fair.” 


Both deportations and administrative removals are tearing families apart, as well as violating basic rights of those residing in the UK. We support the work of Movement for Justice, and call on the British government to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living and working in the UK, that their rights under European law will be fully respected. This will ensure that individuals who have established their lives in the UK will not be removed simply on the basis of being or becoming poor or destitute.

Georgia Whitaker 



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