UKBA Messaging Migrants via Capita

The UKBA contracted a private company called Capita to track down illegal migrants. 

Capita are currently sending out text messages to persons suspected of being in the UK illegally. The messages ask the individuals to leave the UK as soon as possible. A BBC report confirmed Capita are sending messages in error, such errors including asking a British woman, and a man with a valid visa (who has also invested £1M in a UK business) to leave. Capita responded by saying that some information provided by the UKBA, upon which they base their messages, may be inaccurate. 

Not withstanding the fact that the UKBA passed on incorrect data, this action may also be contrary to their duties under the Data Protection Act. Relevant support groups have been in touch with Ofcom and the Information Commission, as well as informing the UKBA that they may be liable to harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act. 

If you receive a text message you should complain to the UKBA via their online form found here.

More when we have it.

Chief Inspector and the Legacy Cases

The Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency is an independent assessor of the agency. Its role is to review the agency's procedures and report to the Home Secretary on its efficiency and effectiveness. Following an inspection, and submissions from stakeholders (such as the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association - who can be found here), a report is published identifying strengths and weaknesses of the agency. Further information on the Chief Inspector, and its most recent reports, can be found here.

The focus for the Chief Inspector is now turning to the agency's handling of the Legacy Cases.

The term 'Legacy Cases' relate to asylum applicants who applied before March 2007, had their application refused, subsequent appeals exhausted, but were not removed by the agency. The agency wanted to resolve the applicant's immigration status once and for all. The agency identified nearly half a million such cases and set themselves a 5-year deadline, ending on July 2011, to complete the review.

However, July 2011 came and went with a large number of cases yet to be resolved. The purpose of the inspection is to determine why the agency failed to meet their own deadline. There are applicants which, despite their best efforts, the agency was unable to locate but the large majority of outstanding cases remain in contact with the agency and most have legal representation. This means the agency has not performed efficiently or effectively in meeting their own deadline. The Chief Inspector will look to the reasons why that is the case and report on their findings.

Some stakeholders, such as ILPA, are also requesting that the Chief Inspector reviews their agency's handling of cases following July 2011. Before July 2011 the agency granted indefinite leave to remain to those they consider suitable for it, but after July 2011 they started issuing discretionary leave instead. It is argued that those applicants who are eligible for leave to remain should be given indefinite leave and not be prejudiced by the agency’s own delays. ILPA's representations (for members of ILPA) can be found here.

We'll update you when the report is published.

UKBA Change of Address

The UKBA are providing a facility whereby individuals, and their legal representatives, are able update contact details online via their website.

This facility is only available for those living in the UK or for those whose applications were made in the UK. The UKBA will send an acknowledgement of receipt and, so long as further information is not required, will update their records within 72 hours.

This facility can be found by clicking here.

Certificates of Approval to Marry

The Certificate of Approval to Marry Scheme was abolished on 9 May 2011.

The certificate of approval to marry requirement was introduced in February 2005 as part of a package of measures by the Government designed to deter persons without indefinite leave to remain from entering into marriages of convenience ('sham marriages') for immigration purposes.

The scheme required persons, who were subject to immigration control, did not hold indefinite leave and who wished to marry (other than in the Anglican Church) or register a civil partnership in the UK, to apply to UKBA for prior approval and pay a fee.

The Courts concluded the scheme to be an unlawful interference with the fundamental right to marry.

New Tier 4 Student Policy

Changes to Tier 4 have come into effect on 21 April 2011. The Government announced that the changes 'deliver a strong migration system which tackles immigration abuse, while allowing genuine students to study at genuine colleges.'

A UKBA summary of the changes are below.

Entry Requirements: Accreditation

All sponsors must have been accredited by either Ofsted and its devolved equivalents, QAA, the Independent Schools Inspectorate, the Bridge Schools Inspectorate or the Schools Inspection Service and all must become Highly Trusted Sponsors.

Sponsors will be required to achieve Highly Trusted Status by April 2012, and ... Read More...

Libyans in the UK

The UKBA accepts that Libyans in the UK may be unable to return due to the current situation in Libya. The UKBA asks that you keep proof of original travel plans as evidence of your intention to comply with your original visa requirements. They ask that you monitor the situation, and make arrangements to return as soon as it is safe to do so.

The UKBA does not, however, confirm how any future immigration applications will be considered if you are forced to overstay your leave. It is likely ... Read More...

Points Based System

If you have been refused permission to enter or stay in the UK under the Points-Based System because you failed to meet a requirement in the policy guidance which is not part of the immigration rules we strongly recommend you contact us, or any other qualified immigration lawyer, to request a review of your case immediately.
Read More...