Family Visit Appeal Rights

The UKBA are changing the appeal rights for refused family visit visa applications. This is being done, they say, to save money.

The Immigration Minister Damian Green says that they are not stopping anybody from visiting family in the UK (mmm) but it is unfair that the taxpayers have to cover the costs of the appeals. Though, no mention was made as to general poor quality decision making by the UKBA at the visa application stage, which is obviously the cause for many appeals. Instead, Green blames applicants for not preparing the applications properly.

The change will be included in the Crime and Courts Bill, and is expected to come into force by 2014. In the meantime, the UKBA intends to limit the rights of appeal for those applying to visit a cousin, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew. From July 2012 refused applicants will still be able to appeal on limited grounds of human rights or race discrimination. From July 2012 until 2014 those visiting a spouse, children, or parents will continue to have full appear rights.

The UKBA will also limit the rights of appeals for those visiting people with leave to remain other than indefinite leave, refugee status or humanitarian protection status.

We will keep abreast of these changes and update you as and when needed.

The Costs of an Appeal

From October 2011 the Tribunal Service will start charging fees for immigration appeals.

Fees will be set at £80 for an appeal based on the papers, and £140 for an oral hearing. However, the consensus is that, once these rates are accepted, they fees are likely to increase over time.

Where a person asks for a paper hearing, but a judge requests a oral hearing, there will be no charge. A person can apply for a refund where the opposite occurs.

The fees will be restricted to the First-tier Tribunal, so no fees are currently planned for appeals in the Upper Tribunal.

The Tribunal may award these costs against the UK Border Agency if it was clear that they should have accepted the initial decision, and the appeal could have been avoided.

Those in receipt of NASS support, child support, and who qualify for legal aid, will be exempt. Also exempt are appeals regarding deportation, removal, revocation, deprivation of citizenship, humanitarian cases, and detained cases.

Changes to Points Based System Appeals

The UK Border Agency announced that from 23 May 2011 tribunals will not be allowed to consider evidence submitted after they have made a decision to refuse a Points Based System application.

The UKBA say that it will 'stop misuse of the system' and stop 'individuals to drag out their appeal by submitting new evidence at the last minute'. However, what was slightly glossed over (or actually ignored) was their poor decision making, and their failure, up to now, to avoid the appeals (and the costs of those appeals) by simply contacting the applications for the right evidence before making a decision. The UKBA now say they will do this from 23 May 2011.

The Commencement Order is expected to apply to all appeals heard for the first time against refusals under the PBS regardless of the date that the appeal was lodged.

This seems to be an abuse of the legal certainty principle, where grounds of appeal are changed without warning or notice. Particularly, as those who received negative decisions before 23 May 2011 would not have had UKBA caseowners contact them for further information / documents before making that decision. To then deny that information during their appeal is irrational. Also...

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