Failed Asylum Seekers May Be Allowed to Stay After Court Sides with One Claiming to Be Modern Slave

The Royal Courts of Justice building, which houses the High Court of England and Wales, is pictured in London on February 3, 2017. / AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

“Hundreds” of failed asylum seekers could see their deportation decisions reversed after a Vietnamese migrant won a case against the government’s decision to deny her refugee status after she was trafficked into the country for forced labour in a cannabis farm and as a prostitute.

The 33-year-old Vietnamese national was recognised as a trafficking victim after being brought to Britain in 2016 and feared being re-trafficked if returned to her home country.

The woman lost her claim for asylum and brought her case against Home Secretary Priti Patel. The High Court sided with the migrant on Tuesday, with Mr Justice Linden saying that the Home Office’s decision was against the Council of Europe’s Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, according to The Times.

Judge Linden said the Vietnamese migrant should have been granted discretionary leave to remain in the United Kingdom so she could pursue human rights and asylum claims based on her fear of being re-trafficked if she returned home.

“The decision-maker did not consider whether the fact that the claimant had made an asylum/protection claim based on the fear of re-trafficking, and therefore needed to stay in this country to pursue that claim, was a basis for granting (discretionary leave for victims of modern slavery),” the judge said.

The lawyer representing the migrant, Ahmed Aydeed, predicted: “The decision will have implications. It will affect hundreds of people if not more.”

The left-liberal Guardian claimed that the ruling meant that “thousands” of alleged trafficking victims asking for leave to remain should have the right granted en masse.

The Home Office responded to the ruling saying that it had not yet decided whether to appeal the decision and denied that the case would automatically overturn all decisions to deport alleged victims of modern slavery.

“The judgment does not state that leave must be granted to all victims of modern slavery but that it may be necessary when a victim is pursuing a claim for asylum based on the fear of being re-trafficked. We are carefully considering the implications of this judgment. A decision on whether to appeal or not will be made in due course,” a Home Office spokeswoman said.

The Telegraph added of the decision that the High Court ruled that migrant victims of modern slavery should be able to work and claim welfare benefits.

Home Office officials have been aware of the loopholes in modern slavery laws, which Ms Patel said last summer were being “exploited” by criminal migrants who had no claim to be considered victims of trafficking and were not eligible to the protections provided by them, for some time.

In her speech on the Nationality and Borders Bill in July, Ms Patel said that while “we will continue to protect victims of modern slavery, by creating a statutory grant of leave for confirmed victims” the law on modern slavery “is being exploited”.

The Conservative Party minister continued: “There has been an alarming increase in the number of illegal entrants and foreign national offenders – including child rapists and people who pose a national security risk — seeking modern slavery referrals, to avoid immigration detention and frustrate removal from the UK.”

Patel gave the example of one migrant whose Indefinite Leave to Remain was revoked after repeated criminal offences that led to jail terms adding up to more than a year. The person was subject to a deportation order, “a decision upheld by the courts”, but “on the day they were due to be removed, they made an asylum claim. Once that was refused, they claimed to be a victim of modern slavery – in relation to incidents from several years before they came to the UK.”

“This person was released from detention and their removal was postponed. They subsequently absconded and went on to commit further serious offences,” she admitted.

In November 2020, most illegals scheduled for deportation were taken off of a fight to their home country after 21 made last-minute human rights appeals, with seven claiming to be modern slavery victims.

The month before, it was reported that there had been several cases of deported migrants illegally returning to the UK using human rights laws to fight their expulsions.

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