The Government suspends the detained fast track asylum process

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice. 8 July 2015

On 2nd July 2015 we were informed that the government was temporarily suspending the detained fast track asylum process. We are delighted with this outcome which came as a consequence of several court rulings which found the process to be operating in an unlawful manner. The charity Detention Action which brought a legal challenge against the fast track process stated that it will mark the end of the UK’s routine detention of asylum seekers. The detained fast track policy has been operating since 2000 and the decision does not mean that the immigration authorities will cease to detain people for immigration reasons. Immigration powers and policies relating to detention remains in place. In the meantime every individual who was detained under this scheme and remains detained will have their detention urgently reviewed at a senior level. Those who meet the general criteria for detention will not be directly affected by the decision to suspend the detention fast track scheme.

Asylum seekers who face removal to a safe third country or who come from a country designated as being generally safe. Those who pose a risk to the public and those who are foreign national offenders, or those who otherwise face the likely prospect of removal, are still liable to be detained or remain detained.

Mediterranean migrant crisis

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees said in a report this month that the majority of the 137,000 who crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe during the first six months of 2015 were fleeing from war, conflict or persecution and therefore it is wrong for the media to refer to those crossing the Mediterranean as migrants only.

The finding of the report states that the majority of those taking to the sea route to Europe are refugees. The number of deaths at sea rose to record levels in April 2015 and whilst many factors contributed to the recent decline, improved European led search and rescue operations beginning in May have had an immediate and positive impact. There has been a major increase in refugees and migrants taking the Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece. More than 85% of those arriving in Greece are from countries experiencing war and conflict. Principally Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. As arrivals increase, reception capacity and conditions remain seriously inadequate. Countries of origin and international communities at large need to do better at preventing and resolving conflict. Transit countries need to develop their asylum systems including reception arrangements and identification processes. The protection of refugees has been the core human value as long as civilisation has flourished and therefore as part of the comprehensive response needed, UNHCR is calling for border responses in a number of places offered through a resettlement family reunification and other legal alternatives. This could be coupled with actions to increase inter-EU solidarity and to address the route causes of displacement.