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Out-Law News 1 min. read

UK Home Office scraps Police Registration Scheme for migrants

The UK Home Office’s decision to scrap the Police Registration Scheme could have been prompted by wider pressures on the civil service, according to one legal expert.

The scheme, which required migrants from 44 countries to register with the police, was suspended with immediate effect earlier this month. In a statement, the Home Office said the scheme was “outdated” and “no longer provides any public protection benefit” to officials or the police.

Alex Wright of Pinsent Masons said Covid-19 could have caused the “significant and sudden change” in the government’s policy. He said: “Initial registration appointments with police were suspended at the height of the pandemic, creating a sizeable backlog that officials may now consider a low priority, given the challenges faced by public services at present.”

Migrants were previously issued with a Police Registration Certificate after providing personal information to officers, including a current address as well details of employers and partners. The Police Registration Scheme also placed a positive obligation on relevant migrants to update the police when these details changed.

Migrants who have been issued with a visa with the requirement to register now no longer need to go to a police station to register, the Home Office said. If a migrant has previously registered with the police, they do not need to take further action.

Wright said: “The registration scheme might also have been duplicating work that is already being done. Biometric data also now plays a much larger part in all visa applications, and everyone is subject to security checks before leave to enter is granted. For many visas, such as for students and skilled workers, universities and employers are already obliged to keep up-to-date records of addresses and personal details.”

Wright added: “It should be noted that this is not the same as reporting restrictions for those with an irregular immigration status who are placed on immigration bail. They will still be obliged to remain in regular contact with the Home Office or face potential enforcement action.”

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