What are immigration re-entry bans to the UK
Re-entry bans are important matter and they occur more often then employer’s and HR teams may expect. The Immigration Rules (Part 9 – Grounds for Refusal) contain a power which allows the Home Office to refuse an application for entry clearance or permission to enter where an individual has previously breached the UK’s immigration laws. This is commonly known as the re-entry ban policy. You may also wish to read our article on General Grounds for refusal here.
Individuals may be the subject of a re-entry ban where they have previously breached the UK’s immigration laws by:
(b) breaching a condition attached to their leave;
(c) being an Illegal Entrant;
(d) using deception in an application for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain (whether successful or not).
Current timescales for Re-Entry Bans – duration of ban
The length of the ban differs, depending on when and how an individual departs the UK. Individuals seeking to come to the UK may be refused entry because they are the subject of a one year, two year, five year, or ten year re-entry ban.
The current length for re-entry bans is as follows:
1 year ban for those leaving the UK voluntarily, at their own expense, within 30 days of their leave expiring
2 or 5 year ban for those leaving the UK voluntarily but at Home Office expense, depending on how soon they depart after notification of a liability for removal
10 year ban for those subject to an enforced removal or deportation, as well as those who use deception in an application
Voluntary departure at individual’s own expense (one year bans)
Illegal entrants, those who breach a condition attached to their leave, and those who overstay their lawful leave by more than 30 days, who leave the UK voluntarily at their own expense are ordinarily subject to a mandatory one year re-entry ban unless they are applying for entry clearance as a Family Member (under Appendix FM of the immigration rules) or they were under 18 at the time of their most recent breach.
Voluntary departure at the Secretary of State’s expense
Individuals who breach immigration laws and leave the UK voluntarily at the expense (directly or indirectly) of the Secretary of State are subject to two or five year re-entry bans. This includes those who leave the UK via an Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme or otherwise voluntarily.
Those who leave the UK voluntarily, but their flight ticket is purchased by the Secretary of State (self check-in removals for example) are also recorded as voluntary departures at the Secretary of State’s expense.
Two year re-entry bans
Individuals who leave the UK voluntarily at the Secretary of State’s expense are subject to a mandatory two year re-entry ban if the date of their departure was no more than six months after the date on which they were given notice of their removal decision or no more than six months after the date on which they no longer had a pending appeal against that decision, whichever is the later.
Five year re-entry bans
Those who leave the UK voluntarily at the Secretary of State’s expense (directly or indirectly) more than six months after they are given notice of their removal decision or more than six months after the exhaustion of their subsequent appeal rights (depending on which is the later date) are subject to a mandatory five year re-entry ban.
In some cases the 6 month time window in which a person must depart to benefit from a 2 year re-entry ban, rather than a 5 year re-entry ban, may be re-set to start again. We do not include those details in our article to limit its length.
Enforced removal, deportation or deception (ten year bans)
A person who is the subject of a deportation order will continue to be prohibited from entering the UK whilst the order is still in force. The criteria for the revocation of a deportation order is contained in the Immigration Rules. A foreign national who is subject to a deportation order can apply to the Home Office for revocation of the order and should normally apply from outside the UK after they have been deported.
A person who was removed from the UK at public expense on a non-voluntary basis (i.e. an enforced removal) will be subject to a 10 year re-entry ban. The context of an enforced removal for the purposes of a re-entry ban is when someone refuses to leave the UK voluntarily and the Department has to enforce their return. This includes the use of detention powers immediately before their departure from the UK, if required.
Where a person has used deception in an application they are subject to a mandatory 10 year re-entry ban. Please see the Home Office False representations & Deception guidance.
Recording departure date from the UK
Once it is confirmed that an individual has departed voluntarily or their removal has been enforced, whoever is responsible at the Home Office for recording their departure must ensure that the date and the manner of the departure is properly and promptly recorded on CID. This is, in part, so that the correct re-entry ban can be considered, and applied if necessary, where the individual applies to return to the UK before their mandatory ban expires.
Illegal Migration Bill
What is the purpose of the Illegal Migration Bill? According to the Home Office factsheet on the Bill, published on 11th May 2023, ‘Anyone who arrives in the UK illegally will be subject to a lifetime re-entry, settlement and citizenship ban.’
The bill amends:
- the Immigration Act 1971 so that those who enter the UK, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man illegally will not be able to lawfully remain (whether temporarily or permanently), or re-enter once removed
- the British Nationality Act 1981 so that those who enter the UK, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man, or a British overseas territory illegally will not be able to become British citizens, British overseas territories citizens, British overseas citizens or British subjects
The bill will include a discretionary power to allow the Home Secretary to waive a re-entry ban so that individuals subject to it, in compelling circumstances, can enter and remain in the UK for short periods of time.