Thursday, April 26, 2018

Immigration Bail and the Right to Study

People seeking asylum and others are being denied the right to education by a new immigration status.

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At the start of this year a new immigration status, Immigration Bail, was introduced. Immigration Bail is given to people who are lawfully in the UK but do not have leave to remain.

One of the possible conditions of this status is no permission to study and we know of a number of people, including asylum seekers, who have been told that they do not have the right to study*. We are horrified that people’s right to education is being denied and are working hard to get this changed for everyone on Immigration Bail.

*This is not a blanket study ban, many people with Immigration Bail can still study. People with “must not study” conditions who want to study should seek legal advice, there is more information about what to do here. Please do not contact STAR if you need advice, we cannot give advice to individuals.

What is Immigration Bail?

Immigration Bail was introduced on 15 January and is given to people who are lawfully in the UK and do not have leave to remain. This includes asylum seekers, trafficking victims, care leavers who have not resolved their immigration status, undocumented people, refused asylum seekers and some others.

Immigration Bail is a single status which replaces a group of temporary statuses including Temporary Admission, Temporary Release on Bail and Release with Restrictions. It means that all people who claim asylum after 15 January this year will be given Immigration Bail instead of Temporary Admission. Despite the name, people with Immigration Bail have not necessarily been in detention. You can read the full Home Office Guidance here

No Permission to Study and Immigration Bail

People on Immigration Bail can be subject to conditions including whether or not they can study. The Home Office guidance says that asylum seekers on Immigration Bail should usually be allowed to study unless they have exhausted their appeal rights, have committed immigration offences or are otherwise not entitled to study.

Problems with Immigration Bail & Prohibition on Study

“Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.” Article 26 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights

We are horrified that people’s right to education is being denied and are working hard to get this changed for everyone on Immigration Bail.

Despite commitments from the Home Office that asylum seekers can study, some asylum seekers are being given Immigration Bail forms saying “you are not allowed to study”.

One of the difficulties with Immigration Bail is that it covers people in many different situations from people who have just arrived and claimed asylum to people who have never claimed asylum and are about to be removed. The papers given to people on Immigration Bail are called BAIL20. The form is 4 pages long and the Home Office official who fills it in can choose which bits to tick or cross out. On page 1 there are boxes with these options which the Home Office official can tick or leave blank:

  • you are not allowed to work
  • you are not allowed to study
  • you are allowed to work at:
  • you are allowed to study at:

The Home Office official who fills the form must read the Home Office guidance to understand which box to tick for each person, they can leave all the boxes blank. The guidance is 64 pages long and we think it is very unclear about who has the right to study, so there’s a real chance of confusion and mistakes. We know that asylum seekers are being given Immigration Bail papers which state they must not study, despite Home Office guidance and government statements that this is not the intention e.g. one advice agency in Birmingham assessed 31 asylum seekers with Immigration Bail, 23 have the “must not study” condition.

What to do if you have a BAIL201 notice saying “you must not study”

If you have Immigration Bail and want to know if you cannot study, look at the front page of your Bail201 form. If the box “you must not study” is selected, you cannot study.

If the box on your BAIL 201 form saying ‘you must not study’ has been selected, but you want to start or continue studying a course, you need to get legal advice. Before the “you must not study” condition has been removed, you should:

  • suspend or delay your study, because if you do study you will be breaching your bail condition
  • tell an adviser at your education provider what has happened and ask for their help.

Education Institutions cannot allow people to study if they have the “you must not study” condition. It is very important that institutions do not stop everyone who could fall into this category from studying. Many people on Immigration Bail can still study and many people still have one of the old types of status eg Temporary Admission. Institutions can assist students by:

  • Providing access to legal advice for students to enable them to request the removal of the prohibition on study
  • Allowing students to suspend or delay their studies while they resolve their Bail conditions and supporting them when they return to study

Institutions can find out more about Immigration Bail in this guidance from the UK Council for International Student Affairs

People are being denied their right to education in the UK. Immigration Bail and the Home Office guidance document have created huge confusion and fear among students and educational institutions. We have given our evidence of this to the Home Office and requested that everyone be given permission to study.

EQUAL ACCESS TO EDUCATION IS EVERYBODY’S HUMAN RIGHT!

Posted by STAR team on 26/04/2018 at 02:30 PM