WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE DETAINED
Within 60 days of being notified of your Leave to Remain being suspended, you will be arrested by your regional Immigration Enforcement division. They will most likely come to your house between 6am and 8am to take you into ‘indefinite detention’.
Immigration Enforcement divisions prefer to arrest people during dawn raids.
The UK is unique in Europe as being the only country to have indefinite detention. For example in France the time limit is 45 days. In the UK it could be days, weeks, months or in some extreme cases even years.
They will confiscate your phone.
They will take you to a prison cell until a prison transport van becomes available, whereupon you will be transferred with other prisoners to a privatised Immigration Removal Centre (also known as an Immigration Detention Centre). This journey will probably happen overnight. You will wait inside the Removal Centre for over 2 weeks until finally you are given a court date. The process of induction and detention is different in each Immigration Removal Centre, and so is the delay between your arrest and your court date hearing.
There are 11 Immigration Removal Centres in the UK. Here is a list of all their addresses and contact details so that your friends and family can try to locate you, should you be taken into detention.
Your family, friends, lawyer and case worker will need to track you down manually. They will not be notified of your detention.
Between 2010 and 2015, there were an estimated 12-13 immigration raids a day. Roughly two thirds of these immigration raids conducted by Immigration Enforcement have been found to be unlawful. The Government currently pays £4million each year in compensation to people held unlawfully in immigration detention. This may sound like a lot of money, but it is also an indication that Immigration Enforcement is under no obligation to treat you fairly or humanely. They do not operate with any judicial or police oversight.
Keep your immigration and visa paperwork in a folder that is convenient to reach as you are escorted from your house
Your phone will be taken away. Write a physical list of emergency contacts: your lawyer, your case worker, your friends and family, someone who can care for your children, doctors or hopsitals aware of your medical conditions. Your friends and family should also have a copy of this list
Have copies of all your documents, organised into folders. Keep a folder of copies next to your front door. Give a folder of copies to your friends. Give a folder of copies to your lawyer. These documents are vital evidence and if they cannot be reached, it will prolong the process
Give a friend, neighbour or your lawyer a copy of your room/house key. Only give a key to someone you trust. They will then be able to bring you essential things from your home
As you are arrested, politely ask the Immigration Enforcement officers to take your folder with you – this will save time as they process you in their paperwork, because they will need your passport number, visa number, etc
DO NOT RESIST. You will be scared, shocked, and outraged. However, struggling will not help. It will be more useful if you remain polite and helpful, and it may result in better treatment from Immigration Enforcement
Organising help for yourself will be nearly impossible from inside, so you must let someone know as you are being arrested
Your friends and family can visit you in detention. They need to find out the visiting times, give the detention centre 24 hour’s notice, and bring ID. They need to contact the detention centre to find out what kind of ID they will need. Their photograph and fingerprints will be recorded by the centre on their arrival.
Some Immigration Removal Centres have computers which you can use to email your lawyers or case workers. Some will have fax machines that are often broken. Some will let you use your phone’s SIM card in a communal handset. The SIM from a pre-2000 mobile phone may work in these handsets but a smartphone SIM may not.
The legal fees and lawyer’s expenses will probably be over £6,000.
These centres are category B high security prisons, which often do not provide a variety of necessary medical or psychological care. Access to legal advice is inadequate, and people frequently emerge traumatised or violated.
30,000 people a year are detained in these centres.
Your Home Office case worker must apply for you to be granted temporary admission (also known as temporary release). You can also apply to the Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) via the detention centre for ‘CIO bail’ but this usually requires sureties of £5,000 so it is unlikely in some cases and impossible in most.
Detention Centres each have their own requirements from visitors. Some centres require that visitors pre-arrange their visits, others require you to bring 2 forms of ID. You can find out here about which documents the various Detention Centres require.
If these requests are refused, after 7 days in detention you can apply for a bail hearing in front of an immigration judge. Bail is more likely, and temporary admission is less likely because it has fewer binding conditions.
If your application for bail is refused by the First-tier Tribunal, the Tribunal will automatically refuse any new applications from you for 28 days unless there has been a demonstrable and material change in your circumstances, which you must convince them of in writing when you make your application.
Your bail hearing will probably take place via video link from the detention centre.
If your friends or family attend your bail hearing, they will be in the court room with the Tribunal on the other side of the screen, and it is unlikely that you will see them.
Bail Immigration for Detainees have produced this handbook about getting out of detention, including applying for bail yourself. However we should point out that it talks about the UK Border Agency, which no longer exists. Please be aware there may therefor also be other inaccuracies.
If you know something that should be included on this page, or if any information here is incorrect, please contact us.