Immigration bail: Education restrictions for asylum seekers
Update: 15th June 2018:
On 9 May 2018, on the day of one of our hearings, the Home Office changed their bail policy, explicitly stating that asylum seekers and care leavers should be allowed to study.
Young asylum seekers who arrived in the UK as children may be facing new restrictions on accessing education as a result of Home Office legislation. As publicised in the Guardian on 8th April 2018,
The Guardian reported that: 'From January 2018, legal changes mean that anyone claiming asylum is considered to be on “immigration bail” – restrictions that the Home Office applies to asylum seekers until their application to remain in the UK is decided. The restrictions were previously limited to not working, living at a specified address, or reporting to the police or Home Office.
'Yet “significant numbers” of young refugees have been told in the last few weeks that they are also not allowed to study'.
>> Read the full Guardian article
NATECLA's response to the issue
NATECLA is concerned at the present lack of clarity about the basic human right to study.
This right appears to have been removed from some asylum seekers, particularly teenagers and young adults, who may not even be aware that they are on ‘immigration bail’. NATECLA strongly believes in the positive effect of education, especially for the mental wellbeing of individuals who have experienced trauma. We believe that studying promotes integration and motivation, as well as developing skills that will help students into work once they have been granted leave to remain.
We call on the Home Office to:
- ensure that asylum seekers are normally granted bail with a condition that allows them to study
- review the cases of all those who have already been given a no study condition
Useful guidance for ESOL professionals
Coram, the Children's Legal Centre, has published the following advice:
Immigration Bail and Study
Since January, all people who have just arrived in the UK and anyone who is already in the UK but does not have leave to enter or remain will receive a 'Bail 201 form’ clarifying any conditions on their status, previously limited to not working, living at a specified address, or reporting to the police or Home Office. However, now a person may also receive a condition allowing or preventing study. The Home Office guidance on applying these conditions states that:
“There is nothing in the Immigration Rules to prevent asylum seekers studying but if they:
- have exhausted their appeal rights
- have committed immigration offences
- are otherwise not entitled to study
you must not give them permission to study using immigration bail condition.”
Clarity on this guidance and its application is being sought from the Home Office. In the meantime, Coram has produced some useful guidance for those who receive a no-study condition.