UKBA Family Visitor Appeals Abolished & ‘Immigration Bonds’ Introduced

In June 2013, the Home Office announced two important changes to UK immigration policy which indicate that the UK Government is making it increasingly difficult for visitors from different countries, principally in South East Asia and Africa to visit relatives in the UK.

In a statement published by the Home Office on 25 June 2013, it is noted that there will be no right of appeal against the refusal of a family visit visa application, unless the appeal is on human rights or race discrimination grounds. Further Home Secretary Theresa May announced plans for a £3000 immigration bond to prevent “high risk” Asian and African visitors from overstaying in the UK.

Removal of Appeals for UK Family Visitors

The new appeal arrangements apply to anyone who applies to enter the UK as a family visitor on or after 25 June 2013. Under the new system, the Government’s view is that anyone refused a visit visa can submit afresh application instead of appealing and they may re-apply as many times as they like.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said:

“Family visitor appeals make up more than a third of all immigration appeals going through the system, with many applicants using it as an opportunity to submit information that should have been included in the first place.”

The difficulty visitors will face is that although they are entitled to re-apply as many times as they like, it will become more costlier (due to paying Home Office fees on each occasion) and the existence of a previous refusal is likely to trigger more caution and lead to spiral where repeat applications lead to repeat refusals.

Introduction of UK Immigration Bonds for “High Risk” Countries

In June 2013, Theresa May announced a pilot scheme to make visitors from India (as well as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Ghana and Nigeria) pay a £3000 bond when applying for visas. This bond is returned once the visitor leaves the UK.  These countries were chosen because the Home Office figures suggest that a high proportion of visa holders from these countries fail to leave the UK when their visas expire.

Although details are scant, the Home Office plans to roll this out in November this year. If the pilot scheme is successful, Theresa May plans to expand the scheme to include other countries. The scheme would see applicants for UK visas assessed when their application is made. Those considered to pose the highest risk of overstaying would be required to pay bonds of £3000 in order to receive the visa.

Legal Advice for Family Visitors to the UK

If you are planning on visiting family in the UK but have had your visa refused, then contact us and we can review your case. Instructing our firm of expert immigration solicitors and immigration barristers, ensures that you receive a successful result.

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