The difference between being removed from the UK and being deported from the UK

By Amer Zaman

on July 22, 2022

Read Time: 8 Minutes

In casual discussions and reporting around UK immigration law, it can be easy for some people to inaccurately use the term “removal” when they mean “deportation”, and vice versa.

The reality is that there is a distinct difference in the meaning of the two terms, even if both terms refer to some form of involuntary departure from the UK. Being well-informed on the differences between deportation and removal from the UK will be crucial if you are at risk of being forced to leave the country. It will significantly impact on the decisions that you make with the help of immigration solicitors such as our team at Cranbrook Legal.

What is the difference between deportation and removal from the UK?

The distinction between being deported from the UK and being removed from the UK, can be approximately summarised as follows:

  • Deportation refers to the process of removing an individual from the UK “for the public good”; it is the more legally serious of the two events. When a person who is not a British citizen is convicted of a criminal offence, they may be at risk of being forced to leave the country, a processotherwise known as being ‘deported’. In these cases, what typically happens is that the affected individual is handed a prison sentence, and after they have served their sentence but before they are released, the Home Office may request a deportation hearing from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It is at the hearing where the judge will determine whether to hand down a deportation order.
  • Removal, by contrast, is a more routine and less legally serious event. Removals are often referred to as ‘administrative removals’. The term simply refers to the act of removing someone from the UK who does not have the right to remain in the UK – such as if their previous leave to remain has expired, or if they applied for further leave to remain, but their application was refused by the Home Office. An individual may also be removed from the UK if they have leave to remain but have violated their immigration conditions – for example, by working illegally. The Home Office is responsible for carrying out removals.

When might I be at risk of being deported from the UK?

In the words of part 13 of the UK Immigration Rules, which covers deportation: “A deportation order requires the subject to leave the United Kingdom and authorises his detention until he is removed. It also prohibits him from re-entering the country for as long as it is in force and invalidates any leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom given him before the Order is made or while it is in force.”

This section of the Immigration Rules also sets out the circumstances in which a given individual may become liable to deportation, including:

  • Where the Secretary of State regards the person’s deportation as conducive to the public good
  • The person being the spouse or civil partner or child aged under 18 of a person for whom a deportation order has been handed down
  • Where a court recommends deportation in the case of a person aged over 17 who has been convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment

When might I be at risk of being removed from the UK?

There are various examples of immigration breaches that might put you at risk of being subject to administrative removal. These include:

  • If your status requires you to have leave to enter or remain in the UK, but you do not have this leave. This may occur due to you having entered the UK illegally, having been refused leave at a port of entry, or having overstayed your previous permission to stay in the UK
  • If you are found to have violated a condition or restriction of your visa enabling you to enter or remain in the UK
  • If you used deceptive methods to seek or obtain leave
  • If you are a family member of someone else who is being removed from the UK

What are the different types of removal from the UK?

Potentially adding to the confusion for many people surrounding the difference between removal and deportation from the UK, is the fact that there is not just one type of administrative removal from the UK.

The two kinds of removal are:

  • An inland removaltypically occurs as a result of someone breaching their visa conditions – for example, by working when the conditions of their permission do not permit them to do so. In these situations, the individual will be detained while the authorities consider whether or not to exercise discretion in the person’s favour. If a decision is made against the individual being allowed to stay in the UK, they will be escorted to an exit port such as Gatwick Airport, and put on a flight back to their country of origin.

A removal from port, as its name suggests, usually takes the form of a person arriving at a port of entry and failing their landing interview. As a consequence, they are denied permission to enter the country and are removed from the UK. In instances like this of a person being removed from port, the authorities are not required to send them to their home country; they are able to choose any country to which the person can be admitted.

How much notice will I get of being removed from the UK?

If the Home Office intends to remove you from the UK, it is required to give you notice of this. The general notice period between the Home Office’s formal notification that they are going to remove you, and the date they intend to remove you, is seven calendar days if you are not detained, or 72 hours in the event that the authorities do detain you.

If you are detained, those 72 hours’ notice must include a minimum of two working days. In addition, the last 24 hours is required to include a working day, unless the notice period already includes three working days.

In a non-suspensive appeal case – which is a case certified as ‘clearly unfounded’ – there is a requirement for at least five working days’ notice between notice of removal being provided, and the actual removal. In the event of a non-suspensive appeal case having already been subject to an unsuccessful judicial review challenge, the Home Office will be allowed to give just 72 hours’ notice of removal.

A notice period of five working days applies in cases of charter flight removals, which are defined as removals on a plane that the Home Office has specifically chartered for this purpose.

Port cases – such as a non-asylum case where the given person has applied for a visa but was not successful in being granted leave – are not subject to the standard notice periods. In these cases, provided that removal is to happen within seven days of refusal to enter, there won’t be any requirement imposed on the Home Office to give 72 hours’ notice.

How can I challenge a removal?

In the event of the Home Office telling you that you are going to be removed from the UK, it is important to ascertain whether they are permitted to do so in your situation.

If you are in any doubt, our award-winning immigration lawyers can be available to advise and guide you. If we determine – on analysing your situation – that the Home Office does not have the right to proceed with the removal, we can help provide evidence of this to the Home Office, and request that it ceases its removal attempt.

We will also look carefully into the full range of groundsthat you might have to challenge your removal from the UK. Those could include the Home Office having failed to follow the proper procedure for removal, or there being other ongoing legal proceedings in another area of law, such as family law.

How can I challenge a deportation?

In the instance of the Home Office deciding to deport you, there is no longer a right to appeal the actual decision. However, if there are asylum or human rights grounds necessitating that you remain in the UK at the time of the Home Office’s decision, and you are yet to let the Home Office know these grounds or submit an application, it is imperative that you act now.

You will have received a “one-stop notice” at around the time of the Home Office’s deportation decision. This form will require you to state any reasons why you have not already informed the Home Office why you must remain in the UK.

If you make a claim based on a need for protection (asylum) or human rights, and this is refused, there might be scope for you to appeal that decision.

However, if you complete and submit the aforementioned one-stop notice, and you fail to mention asylum and human rights reasons explaining your need to remain in the UK, and then make an application on the basis of asylum or human rights, the Home Office may certify your application. This would leave you without any right to appeal a refusal. In the event of this happening to you, a judicial review may be possible.

Contact the Cranbrook Legal team for assistance with your situation

The wide range of issues and opportunities that can present themselves if you are attempting to prevent your removal or deportation from the UK, simply further underline the importance of having the right legal professionals by your side to provide tailored advice and guidance. Please call 0208 215 0053, or book your free consultation, to discuss your case in greater detail with our friendly and experienced team.

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