05-07-19 – Sopra Steria no longer provides immigration consultation services

The outsourcing company Sopra Steria, which is responsible for processing visa applications filed in the UK, has stopped offering immigration counselling to its applicants after numerous complaints from solicitors. The UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services, acting on behalf of the Home office through French company Sopra Steria, advertised legal assistance to visa applicants for a separate fee. They recommended a company, World Migration Services, which is owned by BLS International. It is worth to mention that BLS itself handles the processing of visas applications as a subcontractor o...

27-06-19 – UK border control for short-term students

Home Office published updated Guidance for institutions with non-visa national students, which states that students for short-term courses (up to 6 months) from non-visa countries should not use electronic gates (E-Gates) while passing through passport control at the UK border, unless they have separately obtained entry clearance. This applies primarily to citizens from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America, who can since recently pass through passport control in a simplified way without seeing a border officer. In accordance with Part 3...

24-06-19 – Upper Tribunal has the right to cancel the decision on permission for judicial review of the immigration case

The Court of Appeal confirmed that the Upper Tribunal has the same powers as the High Court and can overturn the decision to grant permission for judicial review. In case of  R (Singh) v EWCA Civ 1014, Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019], the Upper Tribunal cancelled the previously granted permission for judicial review of the case, because the Home office was unable to attend the hearing due to a misunderstanding of the parties.

24-06-19 – The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that "Surinder Singh" visa category applies to extended family members of EU citizens

The Court of Justice of the European Union in the case of Banger (EEA: EFM - Right of Appeal) [2019] UKUT 194 (IAC) ruled out that extended family members of EU citizens have the right to file visa applications under "Surinder Singh" route. The court also confirmed that such applicants can either lodge appeal against the decision of Home Office or start judicial review.

19-06-19 – The Supreme Court found that the UK violated the residence rights of hundreds of thousands of Europeans from A8 countries

On 19 June 2019, The Supreme Court dismissed the Home Office’s appeal in the case of Gubeladze [2019] UKSC 31. This decision affects the interests of a large number of EU citizens from the so-called “A8” countries, who joined the European Union in 2004. These include the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. When new countries join the EU, self-employed workers from these countries have direct access to the labour market in other member-countries. However, the same does not apply to employed workers or employees. By law, existing EU members may imp...

14-06-19 – Home Office loses half of all immigration appeals

New statistics published by the Ministry of Justice shows that the percentage of successful appeals for the applicants is the highest in the entire history of keeping the records. Applicants won more than 50% of appeals to the Immigration Tribunal in the past financial year. Most of them were appeals against the decision of the Home Office to refuse the applicant to stay in the UK. Last year 58% of Human Rights appeals and 50% of EEA Free Movement appeals were won. However, appeals in the area of asylum seeking were less successful. In 2018/2019 the court decided on approximately 45,000 cases....

13-06-19 – Tribunal rejects government proposal for fast-track asylum appeals

The Tribunal Procedure Committee refused to return the accelerated service of processing asylum appeals to applicants in immigration detention centres. The Tribunal noted that any such system would require a large number of special protective measures to maintain some semblance of a due procedure, and that it would not speed up the process anyway. The Committee also noted that appeal cases are generally processed fairly quickly. Appeals by applicants held in immigration detention centres currently take an average of 11 weeks from the time the application is received until the time the decision...

07-06-19 – Bona fide travellers will be able to obtain Schengen short stay visas in simplified way

The EU Council adopted amendments to reform the current visa procedures for those, who intend to travel to the EU for touristic purposes. New rules will also contribute to the fight against illegal migration. New rules will allow for faster and easier procedures for those traveling legally. In particular, the visa application can now be submitted six months (instead of the current three months) prior travelling  and no later than 15 days before the start date of the trip. It will also be possible to fill out and sign the application in electronic format. In addition, frequent travellers with p...

31-05-19 – The Court of Appeal found the procedure of assessing the age of asylum-seekers illegal

In the case BF (Eritrea) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019], the EWCA Civ 872 Court of Appeal ruled that the Home Office policy regarding assessing the age of asylum seekers is illegal. Immigration rules require a completely different approach for asylum seekers who have not yet turned eighteen. For example, Home Office generally cannot put minor children to detention centres. In the above-mentioned case, the immigration officer and the city council of Newport decided that the applicant had reached the adult age. According to them, he was about 26 years old. However, two indep...

30-05-19 – Update on Innovator visa, May 2019

End of an era or the true hardship of the Innovator visa route The new innovator and start-up visas went live on 29 March 2019 to replace the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route, which is now closed to new applicants, and the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route, which will close from 6 July. The word from practitioners is that so far there have been no applications made, as there is a lot wrong with the new innovator visa route. The new innovator route was long expected and was deemed to be a nice idea, in particular in the light of the Migration Advisory Committee’s 2015 review of entrepreneur visa....