Mr Maplanka’s case has caused a lot of discussion on Social Media and outrage amongst the Zimbabwean Migrant Community. The link below gives background information to the story.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3238172/Father-four-faces-sent-Zimbabwe-gained-nine-stone-no-longer-looks-like-passport-photo.html

This post is intended to discuss the legal issues surrounding his detention and the background to why he was detained in the first place.

Mr Maplanka has had Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK since 2003. His original leave to remain was stamped in his passport. His passport expired and he obtained a new passport which does not have his Indefinite Leave to Remain stamp in it.

The UKVI officials at Heathrow airport were suspicious of his identity due to the significant change in his appearance since he obtained the first passport. It is lawful for the UKVI officials to make further checks and to verify a person’s identity if they are in doubt. The reason why they have to make thorough checks is because of a practise known as “passport loaning”. People who have no right to enter the UK sometimes use passports belonging to other people to enter the UK. This practise has caused the UKVI to be more vigilant in controlling their borders.

It is permissible to travel with two passports but it can cause significant problems as we have seen in Mr Maplanka’s case. In order to avoid problems at Border Control it is advisable to make an application for a Biometric Residence Permit. A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a document issued by the Home Office to migrants as evidence of their immigration permission (also known as leave to enter or remain).

The application can be made on an application form called NTL https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/423215/NTL_04-15.pdf

The cost for the application is £260 per applicant.

If a person has limited leave to remain then the correct application form to use is form TOC https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/423220/TOC_Application_Form_04.pdf

The cost for this application is £183 per person.

Having a biometric residence permit will assist travellers as their finger prints will be in the system and there can be no doubt with regard to identity.

The UKVI can and should have done other checks to verify Mr Maplanka’s identity and in this instance they acted unjustly and unlawfully . Another issue that crops up is that of unlawful detention and compensation for stress and inconvenience . Individuals who are detained by Immigration Officials unlawfully are able to take legal action for compensation. The focus of immigration practitioners has been seeking to obtain release for a client who is in detention. The area of compensation for wrongful detention or other wrongful acts by the immigration authorities has until recently been somewhat neglected but it is an area that is being looked at more often now and should be.

If anyone has ever found themselves in a similar situation or needs further advice on unlawful detention please do not hesitate to contact RBM Solicitors . Webster@rbmsolicitors.co.uk

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