According to the Home Office’s statistics, immigration is down by almost a fifth since its peak in 2010. The UK Immigration Rules are becoming tougher in order to avoid and limit the number of migrants believed to be abusing the system. The number of UK visa applications refused in 2014 has increased and the number of appeals lodged have decreased. Furthermore, under the Immigration Act 2014, the Home Secretary has implemented the ‘deport first, appeal later’ policy as a means to avoid those who are abusing the system to delay their removal.
UK Home Office Statistics Show Decrease in Appeals & Increase in Refusals
According to Theresa May, the UK appeal system is “like a never ending game of snakes and ladders with almost 70,000 appeals heard every year.” However, according to the Home Office’s immigration statistics the number of appeals in asylum cases has decreased since 2010. According to immigration statistics, in the year ending June 2014:
- The HM Courts and Tribunals Service received 6,610 asylum appeals, which is a decrease of 2,144 (-24%) in comparison to the year 2013 (8,754);
- 69% of appeals were dismissed;
- Only 26% of appeals were allowed; and
- 6% of appeals were withdrawn.
The figures shown above are well below the peak in the number of appeals lodged in the UK. According to immigration statistics, in the year ending June 2010, 16,560 asylum appeals were lodged. Although, the number of asylum appeals have decreased since 2010 the figure of the number of appeals dismissed last year are worrying. Furthermore, there are no details as to whether these dismissals were justified.
Further Immigration statistics show in the year ending June 2014:
- 25% of resolved family-related visa applications were refused;
- The number of passengers refused entry at port rose by 6% to 16,886; and
- 8,795 Asylum applications were refused.
During the same period there were fewer deportations, but an increase in voluntary departures. According to the immigration statistics there were 12% fewer (-1,744) enforced removals from the UK. However there was a much larger, 3,940 increase (+12%) in total voluntary departures, to 37,216.
Deport First, Appeal Later
Under Section 17 of the Immigration Act 2014, an Appellant can remain in the UK to bring or continue his appeal if his initial claim was made whilst he was in the UK. If however, the Secretary of State has decided that an appeal is ‘clearly unfounded’ or a person can be removed to a safe third country, the appeal can only take place once the person has left the UK.
In the case of someone liable to deportation who raises a human rights claim, the default is to remove them from the UK to avoid individuals abusing the appeals process. It has become a common occurrence for individuals to delay their removal from the UK by lodging an appeal, so before the appeals process is exhausted they are given the right of appeal from abroad.
This policy has been described as “flawed” as it was recently reported that a Nigerian woman, despite her poor mental health and having a young child were deported after her asylum claim was refused. Fortunately the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, ruled that the UK Government must arrange for the mother and son to return to the UK after being senselessly deported. This one case shows that the policy does not take individual circumstances into account and is just looking to get immigration figures down. Although the aim of stopping the UK appeal process being abused is admirable it also comes with criticism that vulnerable individuals are being put at risk.
Legal Advice on UK Visa Application Appeals
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