Vanishing Appeal Rights

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Right to an appeal

The Government has been busy over the last few years eliminating appeal rights (ie the right to appeal to the Immigration Tribunals) for unsuccessful visa applicants. This, we presume, is part of the general policy of limiting and restricting immigration. But whether it is a fair method of doing so is a bit of a question. As people such as ex-barrister Tony Blair have pointed out, if there is no right of appeal then decision-makers may be more careless and carefree in their decision-making.

In any event, in the next few weeks full appeal rights will disappear for most categories of visa applicant. Apart from cases involving asylum, human rights, removal/deportation or European law there will be very few categories remaining that retain the full right of appeal.

Settled Status in the UK refers to the immigration status granted to eligible EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens, as well as their family members, who were living in the UK before the end of the Brexit transition period (December 31, 2020). It allows individuals to continue living and working in the UK without any immigration restrictions. Settled Status is part of the UK government’s EU Settlement Scheme, which was introduced to protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members residing in the UK after Brexit. Once granted Settled Status, individuals are granted the right to stay indefinitely in the UK and enjoy various benefits and services.

Challenging Visa Refusals: Administrative Review and Judicial Oversight

But this is not to say that refusal decisions will not be capable of being challenged. Some categories of visa refusal will have or will retain the right of “administrative review”, which is a process by which the decision-making immigration authority reviews the refusal decision made by the decision-making immigration authority. One would not have to be a distinguished professor of law to spot the potential incestuous weakness of such a process.

But there will still be oversight by the tribunals and courts in the form of “judicial review”. Judicial review, which is carried out by the Immigration Upper Tier Tribunal or, in some cases, the High Court, is a process similar to an appeal but not the same. The reviewing Tribunal or Court can declare that a decision was arguably wrong or unlawful, and can direct the decision-maker to retake the decision but this time in the correct way. Only rarely would the reviewing Tribunal or Court substitute its own decision for that of the decision-maker – whereas an appeal tribunal frequently does. However, judicial review can only be applied for when all other avenues of challenge have been exhausted.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK is an immigration status that grants an individual the right to live and work in the country without any time restrictions. ILR is also known as settlement or permanent residency. It allows individuals to stay in the UK for an indefinite period and provides them with a wide range of benefits, such as access to public funds, healthcare, and education.

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