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A report commissioned by the Home Office evaluating the new family returns process has been published. You can read the 91-page report here. The report evaluates the conformity to process, welfare and safeguarding, preparation and barriers to return of families. The new family returns process was rolled out nationally on 1 March 2011 following a pilot in the North West of England and London between June 2010 and March 2011. The Home Office says it is a key component of the Government's aim to end the detention of children for immigration purposes. According to a press release, the evaluation report found that the new returns process provided a framework allowing families to take responsibility for their return. Lack of engagement meant that many did not take up this opportunity, and assisted and voluntary return rates did not increase (although they remained steady when the general trend was down). The Home Office commissioned report says the new family returns process had a positive impact on family welfare and safeguarding children. Some areas for possible improvement were identified. The evaluation also reported progress against the 20 child detention review commitments.
Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights today published a report on the Government's Immigration Bill. You can read the full report here or access the sections from here. The report raised significant concerns over the reduction in appeal rights, stating: "We are concerned that the Bill's significant limitation of appeal rights against immigration and asylum decisions is not compatible with the common law right of access to a court or tribunal in relation to unlawful immigration decisions, and the right to an effective remedy. Indeed, limiting rights of appeal to the extent that they are restricted in the Bill constitutes a serious threat to the practical ability to access the legal system to challenge unlawful immigration and asylum decisions, and to enforce the statutory duty to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children when exercising immigration and asylum functions." The section of the report dealing with appeal rights is available here. In a press release, the Committee stated: "The Committee believes that the First Tier Tribunal, not the Secretary of State, should decide whether it is within its jurisdiction to consider a new matter raised on an appeal. It therefore recommends that the Government amends the Bill to achieve...
Following feedback from customers and partners, UKVI service standards have changed for applications made within the UK since 1 January 2014. Processing times for straightforward applications are listed below. If your application is more complex and a decision cannot be made within that time, we will write to you to explain what happens next. Applications received before 1 January 2014 will remain subject to the standards in force at the time they were submitted. Processing times for applications made within the UK Customers applying to remain in the UK on a temporary basis as: a spouse, workers, Tier 1 General and entrepreneurs, students, and organisations seeking to sponsor a worker 8 weeks (10 days priority postal and same day premium) Employers applying in the UK to update and maintain their licence details 18 weeks Customers applying in the UK to remain permanently (or naturalise as British) and applicants from Turkey and Croatia to live, study or work 6 months