I am writing this based on my humble experience as an immigration advocate fighting mostly for our Filipinos detained and due for removal direction also known as deportation.
I read a story of a people inside the detention of acting like insane or drinking washing up liquid or hitting the wall with their skulls. I can understand their frustration in principle because it is really heart-breaking to be detained in this country especially if you are a good citizen.
I am detailing here the top tips to give you a likelihood of getting you out of detention, legally and I have taken this from some experience and others from readings and observation from my other barristers and solicitors friends and colleagues.
- Make sure you keep all documents that are sent to you by the Home Office, or by your legal representative.You may be tempted to destroy documents which seem unimportant to you. DO NOT DESTROY OR THROW AWAY ANY DOCUMENTS. However unimportant a document may seem, it could be important to your case. Keep any refusals of bail, bail summaries, or letters from the Home Office relating to your case.
- If you fax the Home Office, make sure that you keep a copy of the letter and the fax receipt which shows that your letter was sent. Fax receipts can be kept as evidence that you have written to the Home Office. It is their duty to respond to you if you contact them. If you can prove that they have not replied, it could help you with your case.
- Try to remain polite at all times to Removal Centre staff, Home Office officials and immigration judges. You may believe that you are being badly treated. You may also feel a sense of anger and frustration at your situation. However, if you behave in a way which is considered rude or aggressive, this may be used against you as an argument to keep you detained.
- Write to your caseworker to ask for Temporary Admission and find out about the progress of your case. This will not only keep you informed, but will also show the court that you are taking steps to progress your case. This could help you to get released.
What is bail?
Bail is when those who are detained by the Home Office UK Visas and Immigration are released by an immigration judge, on certain conditions. All immigration detainees have the right to apply for bail if they have been in the UK for at least 7 days.
Asking a legal representative to apply for bail: A legal representative, such as a solicitor, is the best person to ask for advice on bail or to make a bail application for you. It is part of their job to consider making applications for your release.
Ways to Get Released from Detention
There are five ways to get released from detention:
- By Temporary Admission / Temporary Release
- By Chief Immigration Officer Bail
- By Bail from an Immigration Judge
- By the High Court
- If your main immigration case is successful
Temporary Admission/Temporary Release: If the Home Office decides not to keep you in detention any longer they will let you live in the UK while your case is being sorted out. This is called Temporary Admission or Temporary Release. Sometimes the Home Office will release you on Temporary Admission without giving you any reason. You can write to your Home Office Case owner, dealing with your case to ask them to release you on Temporary Admission. There is no formal application form for this, you should simply write a letter to your case owner. You should receive a response within a few days. If you are refused Temporary Admission you can still apply for release by bail. Make sure you keep a copy of any letters that you write asking for Temporary Admission. If you do not receive a reply, and you then apply for bail from the Immigration Judge, it will be helpful to show the Judge these letters. She or he will see that you have not received a reply and may ask the Home Office to explain why they have not responded to your request.
Chief Immigration Officer Bail (CIO bail): This is bail which is granted by a Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) who is part of the Home Office. You can apply for CIO bail by writing to the Home Office at your Removal Centre and asking them for CIO bail. They will pass your request to the relevant CIO. Normally the CIO likes to have two sureties who can offer a lot of money (at least £5000 each). This sort of bail is hard to get so this handbook only shows you how to apply for bail from an Immigration Judge.
Bail from an Immigration Judge: I will deal mainly with bail from an Immigration Judge because this type of bail application is the only independent review of your detention. You can ask the Immigration Judge to release you even if you don’t have a lawyer to help you.
By the High Court: The High Court of Justice (usually known as the High Court) is one of the Senior Courts for England and Wales. Among other things, the High Court can look at the way decisions have been made by other Courts and authorities (including the Home Office). If the Home Office has detained you without following the law correctly, you may be able to ask the High Court to determine whether your detention is within the law or not. This is called an “application for Judicial Review”, or ‘JR’. Going to the High Court is complicated and expensive and normally you would need a solicitor and legal aid to help you do this.
If your main immigration or asylum case is successful: If you are successful with your main immigration or asylum case you should be released because the authorities no longer have the power to detain you.
What is a surety? A surety is someone who promises the court that he or she:
- Can make sure you keep contact with the authorities if you are released from detention.
- Will pay money if you run away (abscond) or do not keep to conditions set by your release, but may pay less (or nothing) if the surety has tried to stop this from happening.
Accommodation with a friend or relative The person offering you accommodation needs to be legally in the UK. He or she does not need to be British. The accommodation provider will usually need to show:
- An identity document – for example, a passport, driving licence, or status papers (refugee status papers, indefinite/exceptional leave to remain papers).
- If he or she rents the accommodation, the tenancy agreement/rent book and a letter from the landlord (if it is unclear from the tenancy agreement that the person has permission for people to stay there).
- If he or she owns the accommodation, the mortgage documents or other evidence that he or she owns the house/flat. Your bail application will be stronger if the person offering accommodation comes to court. The Immigration Judge may refuse the application if the person offering accommodation does not come to court. If the person cannot come to court, the Immigration Judge will sometimes accept a letter which explains why he or she cannot come to court and confirms the offer of accommodation.
The Reasons Why I Should Be Granted Bail
1. WHY I WILL NOT ABSCOND (tatakas) You need to give reasons why the judge should trust you to keep to any conditions that are set for you if you are granted bail. The Home Office will argue, both in the bail summary and in front of the judge, that if you are released, you are likely to run away.
Here are some arguments you can use:
- Perhaps the Home Office is mistaken when they say you have broken rules in the past. If they have made a factual error in your monthly progress reports, or in the bail summary, you should point this out to the judge.
- Perhaps you are waiting for a decision on your immigration case or on an asylum claim, or have an appeal to stay in the UK. Naturally, you wish to wait for a positive decision, and absconding or breaking bail conditions would damage your case. You should argue therefore that you have no interest in running away while your case is being decided.
- Perhaps you have sureties, or you will be living with family or close friends. In this case, you can make the argument that you have a strong reason to stay in one place. This is particularly the case if you have a child to look after, or an elderly relative or someone with an illness.
- Perhaps you yourself have a medical condition, or a problem that needs treatment, which means that you must stay in one place in order to keep receiving treatment. In such a condition, you are unlikely to run away.
- In some cases, the Home Office will have strong reasons for believing you will abscond. You might have broken conditions of release in the past, or stopped signing on for whatever reason. In this situation, it might seem unlikely that a judge will trust you a second time. However, there are arguments you can make:
- Why did you abscond the first time or break your conditions? If you explain the reason to the judge, perhaps they may be sympathetic. Has something changed since the time when you broke your conditions? Perhaps you used to have an addiction problem, which you are now addressing, or perhaps you had an accommodation problem, which prevented you from signing regularly. If you explain how things are different now, the judge may be more likely to trust you.
IMPORTANT: Everything you say in court will be far stronger if you can prove it with evidence. For example, if you claim you have a medical condition, it is far better to present a doctor’s report than to expect the court to rely on your word.
REMEMBER: If you have broken conditions or absconded in the past, it is better to admit to this in front of the judge, as this will show that you are honest about your mistakes. If you try to excuse yourself, you might appear untrustworthy.
2. WHY I WILL NOT BE REMOVED SOON You should always remember that you are detained for a reason, and that reason is to REMOVE YOU FROM THE UK. If you can successfully argue that your removal is not likely to happen within a reasonable timescale, then you should be released. Of course, there is a lot of argument about what the word ‘reasonable’ means in that last sentence. The Home Office nearly always say that a removal will take place ‘imminently’, although the removal may not happen for days, weeks, or in some unfortunate cases, months.
Here are some arguments you can make:
- Perhaps you still have a case in court, or a judicial review. As long as you have a case in the UK courts, your removal cannot take place. Therefore, why shouldn’t you be released until the case is ended?
- Perhaps the country to which you are to return is currently processing travel documents, because you do not have a valid passport. For some countries, this process can take a long time – another reason why you should not be kept in detention whilst the Home Office and your embassy arrange your removal.
- Perhaps the political situation in your country prevents your removal there, even when there are travel documents. In recent years, removal to countries such as Zimbabwe, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya has been problematic. If you are aware that removals are not happening to your country, you should ask to be released until removals begin again.
- Perhaps you have simply been in detention a very long time. If the Home Office has been arguing for several months that your removal is ‘imminent’, then maybe they are wrong about this.
The Hearing Date
How will you know the date of the hearing? The Court will write to tell you the date when you will be going to court. They will do this by sending you a one-page document called a ‘Notice of Hearing’. If you do not get the Notice of Hearing, ring the court to check what is happening on 0300 123 1711.
Sometimes there are delays but you should receive your Notice of Hearing within one or two days from when you faxed your bail application form.
What to do when you get the hearing date
- Tell your sureties the court date so they can come to court.
- Tell the person giving you accommodation the court date so that they can come to court.
- Tell anyone else who is supporting your application the hearing date if they want to be present at the hearing.
- Check that an interpreter will be available (if you have requested an interpreter on your bail form) by telephoning the Court.
- Gather all the documents you need for your hearing.
Here is a list of documents you may need for court:
- A copy of your bail application form.
- A copy of the statement you have prepared.
- The bail summary.
- Your surety needs to bring their original passport (not copies) or identity document.
- Your surety’s’ bank statements for the past 3 months.
- Your surety’s proof of income like wage slips or benefits letters for the past 3 months.
- Your accommodation provider needs to bring proof that he or she owns the property. A mortgage statement is normally enough. If your accommodation provider is renting a property they will need a letter from the landlord giving you permission to stay at the property (or show their tenancy agreement if this allows them to have people to stay in the property). You can’t stay with someone who is living in Home Office asylum support accommodation unless they are a member of your immediate family.
- Any other documents which you think will help you. These could include requests for Temporary Admission or requests to see your monthly review forms (IS151F forms) where you have received no reply; documents to show that you have a medical condition; documents to show that you have co-operated with the travel documentation process but have not been given travel documents.
What happens before your hearing?
- When you make an application for bail the Home Office must respond with a “bail summary”. This is a document which explains why you are being detained. The Home Office will put into this document all the reasons why they think you should not be released.
- You should be sent a copy of the bail summary 24 hours in advance or at the latest by 2pm on the day before your bail hearing.
You need to go through every point of the bail summary and think how you can respond to each point to argue your case. You may want to write down the points that you want to make in court so that you do not forget them. If there are parts of the bail summary which are wrong, make a note of these so that you can calmly point these out to the Judge.
If you are only given the bail summary when you get to court, you can ask the Judge to give you more time so that you can prepare your arguments before going into court. It is reasonable for you to ask for one or two hours to do this if you are only given the bail summary on the day of your hearing.
Day of the hearing
- The time of your hearing is on your notice of hearing. But the judge has to hear several hearings, so you may have to wait for yours.
- Most hearings are now held by video link. You will be in a room in the removal centre, and you will see the court on a TV screen. Source- BID UK
Keep praying! Good luck.