November 13, 2018

Rejection of applications as invalid,

Kousar & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 2462 (07 November 2018)

Giving guidance on the scope of the earlier Basnet [2012] UKUT 113 (IAC) principle concerning the the Court of Appeal has unanimously held that the rejection of an application owing to the applicant’s failure to tick the right box was lawful and the evidential flexibility policy did not apply. Irwin LJ said that the FTT had no jurisdiction to hear an appeal against an application in the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category of the Points-Based System (PBS) that had been declared invalid where the applicant had not been able to show that the necessary steps were taken to authorise and effect payment of the application fee because of a failure to tick the correct box authorising the Home Office to take payment. >The court took the opportunity to reiterate that the PBS is a deliberately complex set of rules. Significantly, the system is intentionally bureaucratic with the result that “the process of acquiring or demonstrating the acquisition of the relevant points is painstaking.” Prior to attempting to switch into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category, Mrs Shabana Kousar entered the UK as a Tier 4 (General) student in December 2010 and renewed her student leave for a further two years until August 2014. Upon making her last minute Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) application, Mrs Kousar correctly completed the form but she overlooked the essential requirement that she needed to tick the box giving authority for the £1,093 fee to be paid.

No dispute arose about her ability to pay the fee or regarding the fact that her dependant husband and two children’s linked applications did not suffer from this defect. Whereas the last minute Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) application was made on 14 August 2014 – a day prior to the expiry of Kousar’s student leave – the Home Office for once acted dutifully and corresponded with her on 15 August 2014 advising her that the requirements of the relevant fees regulations had not been met and therefore her application was invalid. The clearance of her family’s fees did not matter and the sum of £3,279 was refunded into her account since the main applicant’s application had not been charged owing to the failure to tick the right box.
A fresh application, which was refused on the merits, was validly made after Kousar’s leave had run out. She also unsuccessfully challenged the first refusal by way of judicial review and the UT found that she had no right of appeal and that her application was not validly made but that the refusal of the second application on the merits was arguably not unlawful.
The judicial review claim was eventually struck out in January 2016 but in December 2014 Kousar had also quietly filed an appeal against the first refusal to the FTT

November 2, 2018

UK Visas and Immigration – New services for UK visa customers

On Friday 2 November 2018 we have received this letter form the Home office

Dear colleague,

We recently wrote to you about UK Visas and Immigration’s (UKVI) new services for UK customers, which includes the opening of new Visa and Citizenship Application Service centres across the UK. We are pleased to announce that appointment booking for these centres is now live.
There will be 6 core Visa and Citizenship Application Service Centres in the UK, delivered by our partner Sopra Steria, which will cater to the vast majority of customers applying for citizenship and to extend their stay in the UK for study or work.
The first centre will open in Manchester on 9th November 2018. This opening will be followed by Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and Croydon. In addition, there will be 50 enhanced service centres nationally for increased convenience, which will be available to customers for a small fee, and a premium lounge located in London. All centres will be open by the end of November. Sopra Steria will offer a range of optional and chargeable added-value services at these locations. More details can be found on gov.uk.
About these new services

UKVI’s new streamlined services will allow individuals to submit all necessary evidence and personal information to support their application quickly and securely through a simpler journey. There are a range of benefits, including:

• A streamlined online journey for most application types, with an intuitive easy-to-use form making it easier to apply and giving the option to purchase additional services for convenience or speed;
• A modernised, digital and more secure process to submit key evidence and personal information, with most customers able to retain their passports and other valuable evidence rather than sending them separately to UKVI;
• Speed and convenience, with the ability to make applications and upload evidence from home;
• More flexible on-demand, mobile application services, for example at university campuses, employers’ offices or individual customers’ homes;
• Enhanced support for vulnerable customers through a range of financial support for travel costs and mobile services, delivered through new Service and Support Centres.
There will be a small number of customers who either require more face to face support with their application from a trained UKVI caseworker or are in a position of vulnerability. These customers will be offered free appointments in 7 dedicated Service and Support Centres, which will be open from January 2019. This will enable experienced UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) staff to better understand the customer’s circumstances, validate evidence, and take appropriate action to support them. Until January 2019, these customers will continue to use the current process.
For any questions relating to these new services, please contact: FrontEndServicesTeam@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Premium sponsors, please contact your licence manager for any questions relating to these new services.
UKVI and Sopra Steria look forward to working with you to deliver an improved customer service and application process.
Regards,

UK Visas and Immigration.

October 17, 2018

New asylum policy on non-Dublin third country cases

The Home Office has published a new policy document entitled Inadmissibility: EU grants of asylum, first country of asylum and safe third country concepts, all about non-Dublin third country cases. It covers Immigration Rules 345A-D on asylum claims where the claimant has:

1. lready been granted protection in another EU country (rule 345A)
2. Already been granted protection in a non-EU country which is considered safe (rule 345B)
3. A “sufficient degree of connection” to a non EU safe country to be removed there (rule 345C and 345D)

There are few if any such cases as far as I’m aware, so the time spent writing the policy was no doubt time well spent.

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