Failed Asylum Seekers May Be Allowed to Stay Over Modern Slavery Claims
“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.”
Even the Guardian admit 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.
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.