GDPR and Immigration Exemptions

In a few weeks, data protection rules across Europe will experience their biggest change in the last 20 years.  On 25 May 2018, the Data Protection Bill 29017 (that incorporates provisions of GDPR) will come into force in the UK. It will change how businesses and public sector organisations can handle the information of their customers.

The EU’s GDPR website says the legislation is designed to “harmonise” data privacy laws across Europe and give greater protection and rights to individuals. Article 23 of the GDPR allows a number of restrictions that can be implemented by law to limit certain rights on the grounds of national security, defence and public security. One of the exemptions of the Data Protection Bill is for the purposes of immigration control. This allows someone to lose the right to have their personal data protected and the right of subject access if required, on the very vague and broadly ranging grounds of “maintenance of effective immigration control” or “investigation or detection of activities that would interfere with immigration control”

This will clearly have a damaging impact on the right for individuals wishing to obtain Subject Access Requests from the Home Office as there will be a legitimate grounds for the Home Office to deny people ‘s requests for their personal data.

If you are concerned about how GDPR may affect your immigration matter please contact our Immigration Team on 020 3818 5433 or by email at