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Stephen Vokes - Paragraph 276ADE (1) (vi) of the Rules

Although there is Home Office guidance as to “very significant obstacles to the applicant’s integration into the country to which he would have to go” it appears to me to be open to argue that by examining a persons’ links to the UK it is possible to submit that they would not be able to re-integrate if it means having a normal life by the standards of that country.

In concrete form FM was an Afghani asylum seeker who came to the UK whilst a minor, and had integrated into British society. He claimed that he could not now reintegrate into Afghani society because his formative years as a teenager had lead him to a “Western” life style which would be alien in Kabul. It was also claimed that he would not now fit into Afghani society because of his background, and as a result would be destitute if returned because of the alien culture.

The matter reached the Upper Tribunal, and after error of law was found by the President, Upper Tribunal Judge Finch heard the appeal on this point under Paragraph 276ADE (1) (vi). Evidence was called from the former foster parent of the Appellant as to the fact she was subsidising a young former asylum seeker who had been placed with her, who had been returned to Afghanistan because he would have been destitute without her financial support. Other evidence was called in respect of television program making on the fate of young returned asylum seekers and the Tribunal reviewed the academic evidence in relation to young Afghani asylum seekers.

However after reviewing the evidence the appeal was dismissed on the basis that the Appellant could form an adequate private life by the standards of Afghanistan; which was the proper test and not the standards in the UK. Given the precariousness of private life even in Afghanistan for these young men this conclusion is perhaps not self-evident.

There is indeed a further challenge before the Upper Tribunal to be heard by a panel on the same point with expert evidence being called on the vexed question of the return of young failed asylum seekers to Kabul. It will be interesting to see what conclusions are made.

Stephen Vokes