This is a short briefing from GMIAU and Migrants Organise for immigration solicitors, caseworkers and support workers. Its purpose is to flag that the government’s guidance for reporting conditions was updated earlier this year (May 2022) and that if you are working with people who are reporting in person, you may be able to support them to switch to a less arduous form of reporting.
The guidance makes clear that new asylum applicants should not be required to report until their claim has been refused, “unless exceptional circumstances apply”. It also says “there must be a reasonable suspicion of liability for removal, have been served with a notice of liability to administrative removal, or deportation from the UK, before being required to report.”
The guidance also sets out a “blended approach” to reporting, introducing telephone reporting or digital reporting as an option to replace in-person reporting. The guidance says that the only people not eligible for telephone reporting fall into one of these categories:
(a) foreign national offenders (FNOs)/High Harm/Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) or restricted access cases or persons who are on Restricted Leave
(b) those who have shown a willingness to return home voluntarily and where reporting will aid the process of return
(c) those who have not returned home and who have not engaged with our Voluntary Return programme.
(d) those identified for removal
(e) those who are not immediately removable but have failed to comply with telephone reporting and are currently ‘out of contact’
There has been suggestion that cases will be automatically reviewed as to whether they qualify for telephone reporting. But we suggest caseworkers request telephone or digital reporting for any clients who are currently reporting in person. It has also been made clear to us that people who are reporting by phone will still need to attend in person occasionally. It is possible that these reporting events may carry a higher risk of detention so clients and caseworkers should be aware of this.
We have heard of some requests for telephone reporting being denied even where people do not fall into one of the categories (a-e), but it is not clear why this would be, as well as changes to reporting being denied for people with disabilities. We are concerned that the new guidance is being applied inconsistently across different regions and reporting centres, and may not always be being followed.
We have found that people struggling with reporting conditions don’t always ask for help, but that the burden of reporting is a significant risk to their mental health and wellbeing.
For more information please see:
Reporting and Offender Management v5.0, updated June 2022
Migrants Organise Challenging Reporting Conditions guide, which describes the changed guidance in more detail and advises on how to request changes to reporting conditions
Abolish Reporting campaign website, including statement on telephone reporting
As part of the Abolish Reporting campaign we wish to track responses and refusals to requests to change reporting conditions. Please inform firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com of any refusals of telephone reporting or other irregular responses you receive.