Are reports of UK Home Office blunders damaging the UK’s Brexit outlook?
Throughout 2017 prominent media sources have made efforts to flag errors made by the UK Home Office in the run up to Brexit. Though many cases feature individuals with immigration needs outside of Europe the disappointing handling of cases has been emphasised by The Guardian, which states ‘… the spotlight on the human cost of the “hostile environment” policy operated by the Home Office… is a taste of what could be to come for EU nationals post Brexit.’
The Guardian has circulated this opinion following the case of Japanese photographer Haruko Tomioka who was in danger of deportation from her London home after the Home Office repeatedly insisted she ought to leave the country and her young son in spite of her marriage to an EU citizen contributing to UK economy. When Haruko applied for permanent residency, her application was met with threats of detention and fines from the Home Office – despite being in a legal situation to remain in the UK.
Haruko told the paper “I remembered clearly when I was called for an interview…the officer told me: ‘We can remove you from the UK anytime. We can separate you from your family’…” Haruko lost her UK driving licence and child-benefit in the ensuing chaos; these were only returned when a volunteer lawyer took up her case ‘who notified the authorities she had entered the UK lawfully “as a wife of and EU citizen exercising his treaty rights”; a fact that Haruko had insisted throughout the two-year nightmare involving numerous calls, meetings and correspondence with the Home Office.
BBC and Metro news have implied Home Office standards appear far from flawless, describing the peculiar international carousel ride of asylum seeker Samim Bigzad between the UK and his native Afghanistan. Samim entered the UK illegally maintaining his life is threatened by Taliban forces. The Home Office placed Samim on a Kabul flight regardless of a legal ruling that he should not be transported whilst his asylum case was appealed. Once Samim’s deportation occurred the High Court accused Home Secretary Amber Rudd of contempt of court as the Home Office had been notified of the ruling before transportation.
The BBC goes on to explain that the ‘Home Office had made an application to the Court of Appeal for Mr Bigzad to stay in Kabul but it was refused. The firm has now commenced contempt of court proceedings against the Home Office for the decision to put him on the flight despite the order and has begun his application for asylum.’ Samim was consequently placed on a flight straight back to the UK where he remains.
The Guardian also credits itself with the rapid correction of the Thies family’s Home Office situation following The Guardian’s publication of their story. American father Patrick Thies was offered employment within the NHS however was prevented from attending his new post when his two adoptive sons were not permitted UK entry, even though Patrick’s wife is British, and their biological son had been admitted previously.
The family were split between two continents and Patrick was close to giving up his NHS role ‘despite the NHS spending £20,000 and nine months recruiting him’ according to The Guardian which goes on to state that ‘…the sudden turnaround by the Home Office, which began almost immediately after their situation was publicised, means the whole family can live in the UK and Thies will not have to give up his position.’
Though each of these circumstances has seemingly been corrected could these Home Office blunders be damaging global opinion of UK immigration practice? In the run up to Brexit has the Home Office gained a negative reputation as a result? If yes, are these types of case report damaging the UK’s Brexit outlook? These are the questions that need to be answered if the UK is to show Europe it has the ability to protect incoming skilled EU Nationals and those whom may wish to remain following Brexit.
Written by Katie Smith - Executive Assistant at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd