The British government has laid the Immigration Appeals (Family Visitor) Regulations 2012 in Parliament on 18 June 2012, which sets out who qualifies for a full right of appeal against refusal of a visa to visit family in the UK.
These regulations will come into effect from 9 July 2012. No changes are being made to the rules governing who can qualify for entry to the UK as a visitor.
These regulations will change the appeal rights of family visit visa applicants, for those applying to visit their uncle, aunt, nephew niece or first cousin, or a relative who does not have settled, refugee or humanitarian protection status in the UK. They will no longer have a full right of appeal if refused. A limited right of appeal will remain for these people on human rights and race discrimination grounds.
The government previously announced on 11 May 2012 that the Crime and Courts Bill will, subject to Parliamentary approval, remove the full right of appeal against all family visit visa refusals. It is expected to come into force by 2014.
Details of the changes were outlined then and are reproduced below.
A clause in the Crime and Courts Bill, will remove the full right of appeal for those applying to enter the UK as a family visitor. Subject to Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent, this change is expected to come into force by 2014. Refused applicants will still be able to appeal on limited grounds of human rights or race discrimination.
In June 2012 we will also introduce secondary legislation which will tighten the family and sponsor definitions in family visit visa appeals. Subject to Parliamentary approval, these changes are expected to come into force in July 2012. Those applying to visit a cousin, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew will no longer have access to a full right of appeal, and to use that appeal right, the family member being visited in the UK must have settled, refugee or humanitarian protection status.
These changes will only affect applicants who have been refused a visa to visit family members. No changes are being made to the rules governing who can qualify for entry to the UK as a visitor.
Consultation Between July and October 2011, the Home Office carried out a consultation on whether applicants refused a family visit visa should have a full right of appeal. 39 per cent of respondents felt that a full right of appeal should not be retained for this category and 28 per cent felt that it should. 33 per cent didn’t comment.
The Independent Chief Inspector will continue to monitor visa refusals where applicants have no full right of appeal and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will use this feedback to improve our application and decision making processes.
Further changes following the 2011 family migration consultation will be announced in due course.
As well as removing the full right of appeal for family visit visas, the Crime & Courts Bill also includes provisions relating to UKBA investigatory and other powers. (The details below have been taken directly from the UKBA’s website)
Crime and Courts Bill
The Crime and Courts Bill was introduced into the House of Lords on 10 May 2012. Subject to parliamentary progress, the bill is expected to receive royal assent by the end of the current session in spring 2013.
In the Queen’s Speech of 9 May 2012, Her Majesty announced that the government would bring forward the Crime and Courts Bill in the second parliamentary session. The bill will enhance the national response to serious, organised and complex crime, strengthen border security and improve road safety by introducing a new drug-driving offence. In addition, the bill will:
lead to a swifter, more open and effective courts and tribunals system deliver significant long-term savings improve transparency in the judicial appointments process increase judicial diversity Crime and Courts Bill and explanatory notes (Opens in a new window) are available on the Parliament website. The progress of the bill through Parliament is also shown.
What will the Crime and Courts Bill do? The bill, which contains three parts (the National Crime Agency, courts and justice and miscellaneous and general) will deliver major reforms to the criminal and civil justice systems.
Part one – the National Crime Agency Provisions in part one include:
establishing the National Crime Agency to prevent and investigate serious, organised and complex crime (including the importation/supply of drugs and firearms; human trafficking; sexual abuse; exploitation of children; and tackling cybercrime) Additional information on Part one of the Crime and Courts Bill
Part two – Courts and Justice Provisions in Part two include:
creating a single county court and single family court to increase the efficiency of the civil and family court systems in England and Wales reforming the judicial appointments process to promote greater transparency and improve judicial diversity introducing flexible judicial deployment to allow judges to move between courts and tribunals increasing the efficiency of fines collection by providing incentives for early payment and compliance, so that, in the event of a default, the offender will be charged the cost incurred for collecting their fine not the taxpayer establishing a specific information sharing gateway that will allow eligibility for certain court and tribunal fee remissions to be checked electronically enabling the introduction, in limited circumstances, of court broadcasting to help demystify the justice system Additional information on Part two of the Crime and Courts Bill
Part three – Miscellaneous and General Provisions in Part three include:
removing the full appeal right for family visa visit cases and in-country appeal rights from individuals excluded from the UK by the Home Secretary strengthening the powers of immigration officers to tackle serious and organised immigration-related crime introducing a new offence of driving, or being in a charge of, a motor vehicle with concentrations of specified controlled substances in excess of specified levels Additional information on Part three of the Crime and Courts Bill
Contact us with any comments or questions about the bill.