Q&As

Does an immigration officer need a warrant to enter a client’s home address?

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Produced in partnership with Gary McIndoe of Latitude Law
Published on LexisPSL on 04/08/2017

The following Immigration Q&A produced in partnership with Gary McIndoe of Latitude Law provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Does an immigration officer need a warrant to enter a client’s home address?

Immigration officers have wide—but far from unlimited—statutory powers to enter an individual’s home without a warrant issued by a JP or (in Scotland) a sheriff.

Powers derive primarily from the Immigration Act 1971 (IA 1971) and have been amended multiple times over the years in order to widen powers of entry and arrest for immigration officers.

An immigration officer has the power to enter and search, without a warrant but importantly with the authorisation of a chief immigration officer or above, any premises where they believe on reasonable grounds that a suspect is, in order to make an arrest for a range of suspected offences. What amounts to ‘reasonable grounds’ is an objective test, with the burden of proof lying on the immigration officer to establish that such grounds exist.

The specified offences are:

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