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Latest UK & International Legal News

Applying Chikwamba v SSHD

The significance of Chikwamba v SSHD [2008] UKHL 40 is to make it plain that, in appeals where the only matter weighing on the respondent's side of an Article 8 proportionality balance is the public policy of requiring an application to be made under the immigration rules from abroad, that legitimate objective will usually be outweighed by factors resting on the appellant's side of the balance. 

Choosing the correct English language test providers

Choosing the correct English language test providers If the visa you are applying for asks you to prove your English language ability, you should use the approved English Language tests list document. The guide for your visa category will also show details of the level of test you must pass. If you are applying from the following countries you should use this list to find out information on how to book a secure English language test. Aruba Benin Bermuda French Polynesia Greenland Guam Guinea Haiti Honduras Kyrgyzstan Mali Mauritania Netherlands Antilles Nicaragua Northern Mariana Islands Swaziland Tajikistan Togo Virgin Islands West Bank The arrangement that the Home Office had with Educational Testing Service (ETS) to provide Secure English Language Testing (SELT) ended on 5 April 2014. As a result Home Office have suspended accepting ETS tests as evidence of English language ability from new applicants. If you wish to make an application you should read the list of providers and take a test with an alternative provider. If you would like to confirm the English language test you need to complete, please contact on 0207-237-3388 or e-mail us at

Ved and another (appealable decisions; permission applications; Basnet) [2014] UKUT 00150 (IAC)

Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Ved and another (appealable decisions; permission applications; Basnet)[2014] UKUT 00150 (IAC) THE IMMIGRATION ACTS Heard at Field House On 19 February 2014 Determination promulgated: 27 March 2014 Before UPPER TRIBUNAL JUDGE ESHUN UPPER TRIBUNAL JUDGE PETER LANE Between BHUPENDRA MAKANJI VED HARSHADA BHUPENDRA VED Appellants and THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT Respondent Representation: For the appellants: Mr J. Chhotu, Counsel For the respondent: Mr N. Bramble, Senior Home Office Presenting Officer (1) A jurisdictional decision of the First-tier Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber, contained in a determination made after the appeal has passed the duty judge "screening" stage, is appealable to the Upper Tribunal: Practice Statement 3.4; Abiyat & others (Rights of appeal) [2011] UKUT 00314 (IAC). (2) Where the First-tier Tribunal has refused to entertain an application made to it for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal, the Upper Tribunal has discretion under rule 7 of the Tribunal Procedure (Upper Tribunal) Rules 2008 to consider an application for permission made to that Tribunal, notwithstanding that the requirements of rule 21(2)(b) have not been met, in that the First-tier Tribunal has not refused (or not admitted) a permission application. It is, however,...

Home Secretary asks for review of how Home Office handles asylum claims on grounds of sexual orientation

Home Secretary Theresa May has asked the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine, to review how the Home Office handles asylum claims on grounds of sexual orientation, BBC News reported on March 28th. The review comes in light of a February report in the Observer about how Home Office officials were under fire for using explicit and "shockingly degrading" lines of questioning when interviewing gay and lesbian asylum seekers. According to BBC News, Theresa May said some gay and lesbian asylum seekers were being asked "inappropriate" questions. The Guardian reported on Saturday that in a letter to the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, May wrote: "We do need to establish that the risk of persecution is real, and this will often depend on whether the sexual orientation of the asylum seeker is as claimed. We seek to establish this at interview through questions about sexual orientation, not sexual behaviour." The letter continued: "It was disappointing therefore to discover that we may not have followed our guidance in at least one case, which was brought to the attention of the media recently and where inappropriate questions appear to have been asked. We are committed to treating all asylum claimants with respect and dignity...

CIFAS named for bank account controls role

he government has named CIFAS as the anti-fraud body likely to oversee proposed bank account controls set out in the Immigration Bill. The controls mean banks and building societies will be required to check all applications for new current accounts with a specified anti-fraud organisation or data-matching authority. Anyone who is in the UK illegally will not be allowed an account. The Home Office said in a statement of intent that CIFAS would be chosen as the specified anti-fraud organisation to hold data on known illegal migrants. The legislation continues the reform of the immigration system so that it is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants. Those with outstanding asylum applications or appeals will not be affected, nor will those who have been granted leave to be here, including refugees. Only data relating to known illegal migrants will be passed on. CIFAS is a leading not-for-profit anti-fraud organisation with many banks and building societies as members. Over the last two years CIFAS and the Home Office have worked with UK financial service providers to avoid fraud amounting to £25million.

Gulshan (Article 8 – new Rules – correct approach) [2013] UKUT 640 (IAC)

The new approach to Article 8 cases is something being challenged by the Home Office. The Court of Appeal has underlined that it is the Strasbourg standards and principles which continue to govern the ultimate disposal of these cases. Confronted with significant concessions by the SSHD, the Court has construed the new Rules, which on their face appeared discordant with article 8, as in fact doing no more than requiring decision-makers to conduct the conventional proportionality exercise, paying regard to all of those considerations identified as relevant by the Strasbourg jurisprudence. In Gulshan, the First Tier Tribunal had allowed the appeal however the Upper Tribunal held that the Judge had erred. The background to the unfortunate Upper Tribunal judgment was that an appeal had been allowed in the First-tier Tribunal. A judge held that it was disproportionate to separate a British pensioner aged 67 from his wife of 34 years with nearly £30,000 of savings only on the basis of the husband commanding insufficient annual income to meet the £18,600 threshold. Cranston J pointedly comments that the 67 year old “does not work and has no income” and holds that the judge had erred in law: The determination in Gulshan also does violence to the Court of Appeal judgment...

Home Office: Evaluation of the new family returns process

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.

Supreme Court dismisses “adopted child” appeal but says rules should be amended

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...

New service standards for applications made in UK

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

What is the definition of public funds

A number of Immigration applications are refused because applicants fail to adhere with the conditions on their visa. The Immigration Rules defines "public funds" as the following: (a) housing under Part VI or VII of the Housing Act 1996 and under Part II of the Housing Act 1985, Part I or II of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, Part II of the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 or Part II of the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1988; (b) attendance allowance, severe disablement allowance, carer's allowance and disability living allowance under Part III of the Social Security Contribution and Benefits Act 1992;, income support, council tax benefit and housing benefit under Part VII of that Act; a social fund payment under Part VIII of that Act; child benefit under Part IX of that Act; income based jobseeker's allowance under the Jobseekers Act 1995, income related allowance under Part 1 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (employment and support allowance) state pension credit under the State Pension Credit Act 2002; or child tax credit and working tax credit under Part 1 of the Tax Credits Act 2002; (c) attendance allowance, severe disablement allowance, carer's allowance and disability living allowance under Part III...