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Do I have permission to live in the UK?

Do I have permission to live in the UK? It’s a question we’ve been asked many times over the last few days and months from people who’ve lived in the UK for many years but are now wondering what their legal status is.  We’ve had enquiries from many local people, born in Jamaica and other Commonwealth countries and arrived in the UK in the 1970s. They are now scared about their citizenship and rights to basic services in the UK.

The Guardian newspaper has done a fantastic job of highlighting the plight of people who have been cruelly affected by the Home Office’s insistence that people prove their right to be here despite having lived in UK for the vast majority of their lives.  In the worst cases the windrush generation have been threatened with deportation, held at detention centres, faced large bills for NHS services, and been made redundant.  Our very own James Wilson has been involved in the case of Paulette Wilson, who was held in Yarl’s Wood detention centre and came very close to being deported. Thankfully she now has received a biometric residence permit and is in the process of gaining British Citizenship and damages from the Home Office for the treatment she suffered.


For everyone else who is in a similar position, we are glad to see that, finally, pressure on the government, from a wide range of individuals and organisations including from David Lammy MP and David Harewood has led to an apology from the Home Secretary. The gov.uk website has been recently updated too.


For anyone who is worried about their immigration status and right to remain in the UK, work here, and access services, this is the latest advice from the Home Office.


It explains the legal position, acknowledges that the documents asked for can be difficult to source, but also states:

“We are clear that no one with the right to be here will be required to leave. There will be a solution available for your situation.”


The information also explains some of the options available to you and contains links to the forms needed, along with examples of the evidence needed.  We know that this isn’t easy to wade through if you are unfamiliar with the process. We’ve been giving out lots of advice and information to concerned residents recently and will continue to do so.  We hold a series of free immigration advice sessions each month, no appointment is needed, if you need our help simply turn up. If you can’t make any of these sessions then you can also contact us.

Commenting on the situation, Sanjeev Sharma said: “Unfortunately I am not shocked by the way the Home Office have treated these types of cases. The Home Office has never applied a common sense approach to cases. Instead they put the onus on the applicant to provide evidence, evidence that is often in the possession of the Home Office. This is why it is important that before any applications are made you obtain legal advice to ensure your application has the best chance of succeeding.”


For advice please contact our Immigration Department.



GDPR – Could this be the end to Subject Access Requests in immigration cases?

Making Subject Access Requests to the Home Office is an important tool for legal representatives in establishing a person’s immigration history in the UK. They can provide invaluable details about previous applications made, the evidence relied upon and even contain the caseworker’s notes during the consideration process of previous applications.

However, this could all change following the introduction of The EU General Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR), which comes into force on 25th May 2018. The GDPR is to regulate how organisations in the UK deal with data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. The UK must give effect to the GDPR and have introduced the Data Protection Bill 2017 which will replace the Data Protection Act 1998.

The Data Protection Bill 2017 introduces an immigration control exemption in Schedule 2, Part 1, Paragraph 4. This states:

4(I) The GDPR provisions listed in sub-paragraph (2) do not apply to personal data processed for any of the following purposes –

  • The maintenance of effective immigration control, or
  • The investigation or detection of activities that would undermine the maintenance of effective immigration control, to the extent that the application of those provisions would be likely to prejudice any of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b).

Simply put, this means that the Home Office are under no obligation to respond to a Subject Access Request if they consider the above exemption applies.

Whilst there are some heavyweight organisations like Liberty and ILPA pushing for this exemption to be removed, as the Bill moves through Parliament, it is still of some concern to those working in this area and even more so to individuals who will need to make Subject Access Requests.

The advice for now would be to make Subject Access Requests to the Home Office as soon as possible, particularly if you have a lengthy and complicated immigration history in the UK.

If you need any assistance with this, then please contact us on 0121 346 4556 or by email on enquiry@jmwilsonsolicitors.com and we will be happy to help.

You can find the Liberty’s briefing paper on this subject here