“Immigration exemption” ruled unlawful under GDPR

When the “immigration exemption” became law as part of the 2018 Data Protection Act, it threatened the data rights of all UK residents, including British citizens. Open Rights Group and the3million responded by taking the Government to court.

We argued before the UK High Court that the exemption, used by the Home Office to deny people access to their personal data, is far too broad and imprecise. Administrative errors are notoriously common in immigration cases, but if residents can’t access their own data they’ll have little chance of overturning mistakes.

In October 2019 the judge ruled against our challenge, but we succeeded in pushing the Home Office to reveal it used the exemption in 60% of immigration-related requests for data. The Home Office also pledged to inform all future data subjects whenever they use the exemption. 

Victory on appeal!

With the help of our supporters, funding for an appeal was raised and on 26 May 2021 the court of appeal unanimously found that the UK immigration exemption is incompatible with Article 23 of the GDPR.

Our work on the immigration exemption has led to the new Immigration, Data and Technology project.

The Story So Far

Government does the bare minimum to update the Immigration Exemption

ORG and the3million took the Government to court several times before the Government accepted that the Immigration Exemption was unlawful.
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Government disregards Court’s Immigration Exemption ruling

This week the House of Commons and the House of Lords will consider the Government’s proposed legislation regarding amendments to the immigration exemption.
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Newsletter: Immigration, Data and Technology

Welcome to the May edition of Immigration, Data and Technology!
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Immigration, Data and Technology newsletter

Welcome to the third edition of Immigration, Data and Technology!
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Europe cannot rubber stamp the UK’s data laws

The United Kingdom is currently awaiting a decision from Europe on whether it provides adequate standards of data protection.
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Data & Immigration update – February newsletter

Welcome to the second edition of Immigration, Data and Technology!
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Immigration sector privacy concerns

As part of ORG’s work in the area of immigration we have consulted 30 organisations on their priorities and needs.
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What is at stake with the immigration exemption legal challenge?

The immigration exemption in the Data Protection Act 2018 will remove key data protection rights for everyone in the United Kingdom.
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The Data Protection Bill’s Immigration Exemption must go

The government has introduced a sweeping “immigration exemption” in Schedule 2, Paragraph 4.
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