If you or a loved one is at risk of being removed from the UK, it’s natural to feel frightened and overwhelmed. Confusion around legal terms can make the process even harder. Whilst “deportation” is commonly used to refer to any involuntary removal of immigrants or refugees, this is not its legal meaning in the UK.
So, what is the difference between removal and deportation in the UK? In this post, we’ll clarify the terms, examine who may be at risk, and explain whether you can challenge these rulings with a UK immigration solicitor.
What is the difference between removal and deportation in the UK?
There is a clear difference between removal and deportation in the UK.
“Removal” – refers to an administrative removal. This applies to individuals who have been found not to have the right to remain in the UK.
“Deportation” – applies specifically to immigrants or refugees who have been convicted of a criminal offence. These removals are enforced for “the public good” and are more difficult to challenge.
Am I at risk of removal from the UK?
There are several circumstances in which you may be at risk from removal from the UK. These include:
- If you don’t have leave to remain in the UK and have not applied for it
- Your previous leave to remain has expired
- Your current immigration or asylum claim has been refused
- You have violated the conditions of your UK visa
- You are a family member of someone who is being removed from the UK
If you are unsure of your immigration status, you should speak with an immigration solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
Home Office removal policy requires you to be given proper notice before your removal. If you are not detained, the general notice period is seven calendar days.
If you are detained, the notice period is reduced to 72 hours, but this must include at least two working days. The final 24 hours must also include a working day, unless the period already includes three working days.
There are further variations in notice requirements for appeals cases, charter flight removals and port cases. You can read the full requirements on the Right to Remain website.
Am I at risk of deportation from the UK?
Even if you have a criminal conviction, this doesn’t automatically mean you’re at risk of UK deportation. If the offence has no prison sentence, or if you’ve committed a first-time offence with a prison sentence of under twelve months, it is highly unlikely that you will face deportation.
However, if your conviction requires a prison sentence of over twelve months, then you will automatically be considered for deportation. This also applies to refugees. You are also at risk of UK deportation if you have committed repeat offences of any sentence length.
If you believe you may be at risk of deportation, it’s important to seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in immigration law.
Can I challenge a removal?
Yes, there are several grounds for challenging a removal from the UK.
In some circumstances, you absolutely cannot be removed from the UK. This includes if you have an ongoing asylum claim or are appealing a refusal of your claim.
If you have not informed the Home Office that you have cause to stay in the UK on grounds of asylum or other human rights issues, then you need to make them aware as soon as possible.
Alternatively, you may be able to stop the removal if you have other ongoing legal proceedings within the UK – for example, in the family courts.
If you’re unsure about which grounds apply to you, it’s essential to seek legal advice. Expert immigration solicitors can provide evidence of your claim to the Home Office, and request that your removal proceedings be stopped.
Can I challenge a deportation?
Unfortunately, there is no longer a right to appeal a decision for UK deportation.
However, if you have reason to remain in the UK on asylum or human rights grounds, then you should inform the Home Office immediately.
When the Home Office decision was made, you should have been issued with a “one-stop notice”. This form requires you to provide any reasons for why you need to remain in the UK (that you haven’t already informed them of).
If your claim on asylum or human rights grounds is refused, then you can appeal. However, if you failed to mention these reasons in the “one-stop notice”, then the application may be certified by the Home Office, giving you no further recourse to appeal. If this happens, a judicial review could be an option.
Expert legal support for immigration removal and deportation
If you’re facing removal or deportation from the UK, it’s essential to seek legal advice and support from expert immigration lawyers. At Osbourne Pinner Solicitors, we’re highly experienced in immigration law, so we can support you through every step of the process. Through an initial no-fee, no-obligation consultation, you can tell us about your circumstances and get tailored advice to take your case forward.