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The Home Office‘s police registration scheme previously required certain migrants to register with the police as a condition of their permission to stay in the United Kingdom. As of 4 August 2022, the Home Office abolished this requirement.
At first glance, in the context of rising global tensions, it might seem odd to remove a requirement for the likes of Russian citizens to register with the police. This article will explain why this is a welcome removal of unnecessary administration that does not jeopardise national security. However, the manner of its removal has caused some confusion.
The scheme required the individual to present themselves to their local police station, provide certain details and pay a small fee. They were also required to update the police throughout their stay. The scheme dates back to the First World War when, under the Aliens Restriction Act 1914, migrants had to register or be deported. Failure to comply with the scheme is a criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment. More likely, a failure to comply would have a detrimental impact on a migrant’s immigration status and could affect future applications.
However, since the COVID-19 pandemic it has been increasingly difficult to arrange appointments at certain police stations. As the Home Office already has all of this information, it seems an unnecessary duplication of effort and waste of police resources. Therefore, it is perhaps not surprising that on 4 August 2022 a notice was published, “abolishing” the scheme.
However, this has caused confusion, as the scheme still exists, as a matter of law. In theory, breach of the requirements is a criminal offence. We assume that a legal repeal of the scheme will follow. In the meantime, it seems that no one will be prosecuted for failure to comply with the scheme. However, it may still be advisable for affected migrants to take steps to attempt to register and keep records of this.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Please contact our Business Immigration Law Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.