Research published by Bail for Immigration Detainees, Medical Justice and Public Law Project shows that migrants fitted with GPS tags experience significant psychological and physical suffering, despite no clear explanation or evidence from the Home Office that tagging is necessary or cost effective.
Over 2,000 people on immigration bail are currently made to wear the GPS tags 24 hours a day, indefinitely, with cases often taking years to close. The latest figures show only 1.3% of people released from immigration detention absconded in the first six months of 2022.
GPS tagging collects more intrusive data than other electronic tagging, and the Home Office is able to access an individual’s ‘trail’ data in a wide range of circumstances. This includes if they make an immigration application involving the right to a family life under Article 8 of the ECHR.
With first-hand testimony from migrants who have been tagged and clinicians who work with them, Every move you make: the human impact of GPS tagging in immigration bail finds that:
- Wearers of GPS tags experience anxiety, stress, discomfort, and pain.
- Many wearers said they had no idea how to challenge the decision to tag them or indeed how their data was being used by the Home Office.
- People have been tagged despite the Home Office being aware of poor mental health or psychiatric conditions and their previous experience of trauma.
- Tagged individuals have reported increased feelings of social stigmatisation, isolation and avoidance of public spaces and activities.
- Tags affect every aspect of people’s daily life and routine, including the ability to exercise, sleep, work, have relationships and care for their children.
- The tags are used alongside strict requirements to report to the Home Office on a regular basis.
- There are a range of practical problems with the tags themselves, including devices failing or chargers not working.