SDS is recruiting!

SOAS Detainee Support attempts to break the isolation of immigration detention, and supports people to take control of their cases and resist their imprisonment and deportation.  Our vision is a world with no borders or incarceration.

We are currently recruiting two part-time Coordinators to facilitate the group’s support for individuals in immigration detention, and strengthen the group’s impact in challenging the current immigration and detention system.

This role is 12 hours per week, fixed term for 12 months.

Job description and person specification here.

bird nbnp

How to apply:

Send a CV and covering letter addressing the points in the Person Specification to no later than 12pm on Friday 23rd February 2018.

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 6th March 2018.


Training for new visitors to immigration detention: 3rd March

This is SOAS Detainee Support’s Spring Training event. If you want to find out more about immigration detention and how to be a part of SDS as a visitor or as an organiser then this is the event for you!

Saturday 3rd March | 12-5pm | SOAS
Info & sign upnbnn



  • Intro to detention and voices from detention
  • Visiting with SDS
  • Organising with SDS
  • Intro to Immigration Law
  • Visitor Role Plays and Discussion

Workshop for visitors: Bail for Immigration Detainees

A brief introduction to the work of Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID), how legal advice (legal aid and private) works in detention, and up-to-date training on the basics of making a bail application.

Wednesday 31st January, 7-9pm at SOAS.

Sign up here

This training is for visitors, caseworkers, and those in direct contact with immigration detainees only.

8 Reasons to hate the new Bail procedures

Most of Schedule 10 of the Immigration Act 2016 were brought into force this week. Here’s 8 reason to hate them.*

1)   The word Bail has lost its meaning

Bail used to be the process people can apply to get out of prison or detention. No longer. Anybody ‘liable to be detained’ can now be subjected to immigration bail and the punitive conditions bail enables residence requirements, reporting requirements, electronic tagging. Bail is now the word for the raft of community-based control measures now going to be imposed on all people without status. It is an expansion of state power to control their lives and further signals the government’s intent to treat people without documents as criminals.

2)   People who can’t be detained can now be subject to bail conditions

In addition, people who previously could not be detained, can now also be put on immigration bail – including if ‘the Secretary of State is considering whether to make a deportation order against the person’.

3)   There is a wide power of arrest for arrest for people on bail

If an immigration officer has reasonable grounds for ‘believing that the person is likely to fail to comply with a bail condition’, that person can be arrested. The procedures explicitly say that being on bail is no protection from being detained.

4) There are more limitations on when a judge can grant bail from detention

The tribunal is no longer permitted to grant bail for eight days after arrival in the UK or if removal is (supposed to be) within 14 days.

5)   The Home Office can ignore the Immigration Tribunal on bail

As well as being able to ignore some tribunal decisions to grant bail to someone detained, the Home Office can, in some instances, modify the conditions granted by the Tribunal without judicial oversight. This is a bizarre constitutional trickery allows the executive basically to ignore the will of the judiciary.

6)   Section 4 accommodation is no longer exists

Unless one is an refused asylum seeker and can receive s95a accommodation, the Home Office will only provide an address, ‘in exceptional circumstances’ – for example, where there are Human Rights concerns.  This means there will be people in detention who are eligible for bail who have to remain in detention because they cannot get housing. There have been increasing instances of people in detention being released without an address – it is unclear whether this will increase in the absence of s4.

7)   Automatic bail hearings was meant to be a positive reform

The lack of judicial oversight of decisions to detain is a major criticism of the current detention process. Automatic bail hearings after 4 months were won after significant campaigning by reformers. This is another example of the government subversively responding to calls for reform by expanding its own power.

8)   We are likely to see compulsory electronic tagging for people leaving detention in the future

The one positive element of the recent announcement is that they haven’t yet implemented powers to impose electronic monitoring on everyone applying for bail from within detention.


*This is a blunt account of some of the problems with the procedures and obviously lacks detail and exceptions – please look to expert accounts on and other places for better information and look-up BID if you need help with obtaining bail yourself. If any of this information is wrong or misleading please get in touch @tomgk90

Home Office policy to deport EU rough sleepers ruled unlawful

In November SOAS Detainee Support joined NELMA, HASL, Migrants Rights Network and other solidarity groups outside the Royal Courts of Justice in support of a judicial review to challenge the Home Office policy of targeting homeless EEA nationals for immigration control.  The legal challenge was taken by the Public Interest Law Unit (PILU) and NELMA.

In the judgement released on 14th December, the Home Office policy was ruled unlawful by the high court.

More info about the legal ruling on the Free Movement blog.


At the RCJ

NELMA flyer front

flyer — front

NELMA flyer back

flyer – back

SDS Statement – Yarl’s Wood Demonstration

The recent testimonies describing abuse within Movement for Justice came as a shock to many organising groups. SDS, like many others, has had to consider at length how best to respond and proceed when events like this unfold.

In light of the organisation’s response to allegations of abuse, and events that have occurred since, SDS has made the collective decision to no longer attend the demonstration at Yarl’s Wood on Saturday.

We are concerned that the demonstration may not be a safe space for all involved and the reality of this would detract from the solidarity we wish to show with the women inside Yarl’s Wood. We urge people who are planning to go to not do so alone, to look after yourselves and each other.

As in our previous statement, SDS situates itself in a movement that fights for an end to borders and prisons and depends on safe and supportive spaces where the voices of those affected directly by the detention system are centered and listened to. Consequently, SDS feels that there must be a collective responsibility not to recreate structures of violence, oppression and abuse.

We stand in solidarity with those affected by immigration detention, and the hostile environment in the UK. We will continue to educate, strategise and build towards our vision: a world without borders or prisons.

In solidarity,

SOAS Detainee Support


Demonstration: no deportation of homeless European nationals, support the judicial review

Tuesday 21st November, 9am-12pm
Outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, WC2A 2LL

22730412_1710782558955340_9183506603309702798_nIn May 2016 the Home Office introduced new guidance stating that rough sleeping was an ‘abuse’ (later qualified as ‘misuse’) of EU citizens’ right of freedom of movement. The guidance means rough sleepers can now be ‘administratively removed’ (effectively, deported) from the UK – just for sleeping rough.

The Public Interest Law Unit at Lambeth Law Centre and North East London Migrant Action (NELMA) have been granted permission to judicially review this Home Office’s policy of detaining and deporting homeless EU citizens.

On Tuesday 21st November, the first day of the judicial review hearing, SDS, NELMA, HASL, Haringey Anti Raids and others will be outside the court to show the Home Office – and the judge – the extent of public opposition to this most inhumane of ‘hostile environment’ policies.

Testimony from Teofil and Marineta, Romanian nationals detained together at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre (video by NELMA):