Bid likely to be made in October, when a new country guidance case is heard
20th August 2010: Nearly two after the deportation of Zimbabweans was frozen by the Court of Appeal decision, the Home Office is expected to make another bid to deport of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers in October.
The bid will be made when a new country guidance case is heard before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
The development is significant as 20,000 Zimbabweans face deportation from Britain before the end of the year, with relative economic and political stability in the southern African country. The stability follows the formation of a unity government
The Home Office is said to have already done the groundwork and has send a fact-finding team of immigration officers to Zimbabwe.
An official at the British embassy in Harare, Andrew Jones, has told NewsDay newspaper that the findings of the fact finding mission would be used by the UK Asylum Tribunal in October. The aim of the mission was to ensure that the UK Border Agency has the most up to date information.
The UK is one of the many Western countries with a large population of immigrants from Zimbabwe.
The have been seeking asylum after escaping the economic and political instability that gained momentum in 2000. The other countries are New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States
The deportation had come to a halt in November 2008 by the decision in the country guidance case of RN (Zimbabwe).
It reaffirmed in July. In RN, Appeal Court judges had asserted that “those at risk on return to Zimbabwe on account of imputed political opinion are no longer restricted to those who are perceived to be members or supporters of the MDC, but include anyone who is unable to demonstrate support for or loyalty to the regime or Zanu PF.”
They had further added: “The fact of having lived in the United Kingdom for a significant period of time and of having made an unsuccessful asylum claim are both matters capable of giving rise to an enhanced risk because, such a person is in general reasonably likely to be assumed to be a supporter of the MDC and so, therefore, someone who is unlikely to vote for or support the ruling party …”
As a result of the decision, asylum seekers previously rejected were allowed to re-open their claims based on the new findings.
Immigration lawyer Rumbidzai Bvunzawabaya said the Tribunal was likely pick a random case in October. With the agreement of lawyers for the Home Office and the asylum claimant, it would set it down as the new test case to replace RN.
She said the decision in RN was handed down before the formalisation of the power sharing government, and so it could be expected that the Home Office would be well prepared to present positives about the situation in Zimbabwe and argue for the resumption of deportations.