The Government has released their final immigration statistics for 2016, and what stands out is the decrease in the number of Settlement Visa grants to non-EEA nationals, as well as the post-Brexit rush of EEA nationals applying for EEA family permits.
Settlement Visa and EEA Family Permit Applications: a Tale of Two Categories
The UK Government has released their final batch of 2016 immigration statistics, with the decrease in the number of Settlement Visas awarded during 2016 being the most notable change from 2015. A total of 59,009 Settlement Visa applicants were successful in 2016, which was 31,830 fewer than in 2015 – a drop of 35%. The largest fall was that of a Settlement Visa related to work, which fell by 41%, followed by family and then asylum.
The number of EEA Family Permits awarded increased, however from 30,302 in 2015 to 33,118 in 2016, an overall increase of 9%. This increase is part of an overall trend in the increase of permanent residence grants for dependents of EEA and Swiss nationals, which was treble the 2015 numbers; the 65,195 permanent residence grants during 2016 are the highest on record, and continue to grow.
Why Do the Settlement Visas and EEA Family Permit Numbers Differ So Much?
The fall in Settlement Visa numbers during 2016 can been apportioned to a tightening of the Immigration Rules, resulting in the requirements for that particular visa route becoming more stringent. As the Immigration Rules become stricter and the guidelines more opaque, it becomes more and more important to submit strong applications. Entry Clearance Officers are looking for almost any discrepancy on which to refuse an application, resulting in only the most thoroughly prepared applications being granted a Settlement Visa.
Post-Brexit, there has been a rush of EEA and Swiss nationals making applications to confirm their status in the United Kingdom. This has resulted in the sudden increase in awards of permanent residence documents for dependents, as well as the increase in EEA Family Permits being awarded.
What does the future hold for Settlement Visa and EEA Family Permit Applications?
Whilst the anti-immigration climate continues post-Brexit, it is not unreasonable to think that the trends revealed by the 2016 statistics will continue to rise. Even though EEA nationals may think that their cases are relatively straightforward, it is important to remember, however, that there is a backlog of over 95,000 applications for permanent residence documents made by EEA nationals alone. This means that, should you be considering an application for permanent residence or an EEA Family Permit, then you should act speedily.
Those looking for apply for a Settlement Visa are likely to be the casualty of the Government’s attempts to control net migration figures. The rules are likely to become tighter, and the number of refusals will continue to increase. This means that a thorough application, demonstrating that you meet the requirements is vital.
Using Legal Representation to Apply for a Settlement Visa or EEA Family Permit
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Settlement Visa or EEA Family Permit application.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful Settlement Visa and EEA Family Permit Applications
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.