THANK YOU for funding our legal challenge for equal access to justice for EU citizens
On 9 May 2018, the House of Commons passed a Data Protection Bill. The now act includes an immigration exemption that denies people access to their data exactly when they need it the most.
The Open Rights Group and the3million are launching a legal challenge to force the Government to remove this exemption, and are asking for support to fund this claim.
This exemption will affect everyone involved in an immigration case, for example: those seeking refuge in the UK, those affected by the Windrush scandal, the three million EU citizens who will have to submit their applications for a new immigration status after Brexit. If this Bill becomes law, people won’t have the right to access their personal data held by the Home Office.
According to the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, the Home Office has a ten percent error rate in immigration status checks. This exemption would allow these mistakes to go unchallenged. These errors could lead to an application being refused or even deportation.
We thank you for supporting our legal case against the Government so everyone can have equal access to their data and access to justice. We will publicise updates on the judicial review on this page and directly to those who have pledged their financial support.
the3million and the Open Rights Groups have launched a judicial review challenging the UK Government over the inclusion of a specific clause in the Data Protection Act 2018 which, they argue, would unnecessarily restrict the rights of millions of people across the country for the purpose of 'effective immigration control'. Thank you everyone for your support. We couldn't have done it without you.
Update 3/10/2019 - We’re not giving up: Appealing immigration exemption decision
The High Court judgement handed down on 3 October 2019 has dismissed our judicial review challenge to the Home Office regarding the ‘immigration exemption’ contained in the Data Protection Act 2018. Open Rights Group and the3million are disappointed by the judgement in the High Court today, and we have applied for permission to appeal. For a brief summary of why the judge dismissed the review, read the press release by our solicitors Leigh Day.
Open Rights Group and the3million still believe that the immigration exemption in the Data Protection Act 2018 as it stands breaches fundamental rights. It is a blunt instrument, poorly defined and ripe for abuse. Access to data is key to an accountable system, to correct errors that occur at an alarming rate in the immigration system.
The importance of this can’t be overstated. Millions of EU citizens must now navigate the settled status application process to stay in the UK. This exemption removes that ability to correct errors, which could prove decisive in immigration decisions whether to allow a person to remain in the United Kingdom.
We have already won more transparency as a result of this litigation: we now know the exemption is being used, and is being used often. Our case has revealed that the Government has used the GDPR opt-out in response to 60% of its immigration-related data requests since the beginning of 2019.
Open Rights Group and the3million will continue the fight against the immigration exemption, seeking an immigration system and data protection framework that respects the rights of everyone. We will be sending a further update in the next few days, explaining in more detail how we will continue our campaign.