How to make a complaint to the Home Office
Bill Gates once said that your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. If the same applies to the Home Office staff who have the unenviable job of fielding complaints about their colleagues from irate migrants and their lawyers, t ...16th August 2023
High Court finds no legitimate expectation of equal treatment in Afghanistan evacuation case
In yet another Afghan evacuation case, the court in KBL v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 87 (Admin) looked at whether the guidance issued for the benefit of potential beneficiaries of the evacuation, known as “Operation Pitti ...26th January 2023
Electronic travel authorisation for non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to enter the EU
The House of Commons Library has put out a helpful note about the upcoming implementation of two schemes: EU Entry/Exit System Due to be introduced by the end of 2023, this will be an automated system for registering travellers each time they enter an ...19th January 2023
“Upgrading” a visa application you have already made
Let’s say you made a normal application for settlement on the UK Ancestry route five months ago and you are still waiting for a decision. You receive word that a family member abroad is sick and you need to travel home urgently. There’s no option ...4th January 2023
High Court determines proper interpretation of an original ‘patrial’ provision of the 1971 Act
In the clause “had that citizenship by his birth, adoption, naturalisation or registration in the United Kingdom”, does the requirement for it to be in the United Kingdom apply to just registration or all of the other means of acquiring citizenshi ...20th December 2022
Unsuccessful High Court challenge reminder to adhere to visa conditions
The High Court has dismissed a challenge to the decision to cancel two individuals’ permission to remain in the UK because they exceeded the number of hours they were permitted to work. Shah & Anor v Secretary of State for the Home Departmen ...9th December 2022
Applicants from Afghanistan may not need to enrol biometrics at the time of an application
The High Court has confirmed that the Home Office is obligated to consider exercising discretion to waive or delay the requirement to enrol biometrics before considering an application in R (KA and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department ...7th October 2022
Section 3C leave is not there to get people to ten years’ lawful residence
Marepally v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 855 is yet another long residence case, this time concerning a defective refusal notice. The appellant wanted to rely on the defect to argue that he had achieved ten years’ c ...5th July 2022
Dishonesty is not a “precedent fact” issue in a judicial review
This was the unsurprising finding of the Upper Tribunal in R (Ashrafuzzaman) v Entry Clearance Officer (precedent fact; general grounds refusal)  UKUT 133 (IAC). The exception is where human rights are involved (more on that later). Although the ...17th May 2022
Briefing: invalid immigration applications
For a UK immigration application to be considered at all, it must be valid. Whether an applicant meets the criteria is a moot point if this first, fundamental requirement isn’t met. Validity is a bit like oxygen: all things being well, it is invisib ...25th April 2022
Can someone who has made an invalid extension application still rely on the 14-day grace period?
How broadly does the decision in R (Afzal) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 1909 protect applicants from the catastrophic consequences of becoming an overstayer after making an invalid application to extend immigration perm ...14th April 2022
How come my Ukraine Scheme visa doesn’t last three years as promised?
As a result of the almost aggressively complex way our immigration system works, not just in law but procedure as well, Ukrainians applying under the Ukraine Family Scheme or Homes for Ukraine may appear to be granted less time in the UK than they wer ...29th March 2022
Statement of changes HC 1118: new and improved UK work visas
No set of amendments to the Immigration Rules is complete without tweaks and additions to the ever-expanding Points Based Immigration System, and statement of changes HC 1118 is no exception. In addition to the changes already outlined by CJ, there ar ...17th March 2022
Court of Appeal game-changer for validity and continuous residence
Masquerading as a somewhat niche decision about non-payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge, R (Afzal) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 1909 is a beast of a case that: Extends the Mirza exception to retrospective invali ...23rd December 2021
Fresh guidance on fresh claims
What amounts to a “fresh claim” for permission to stay in the UK and how should the immigration tribunal handle challenges arguing that someone’s case should be treated as a fresh claim? These were the questions considered by the Upp ...3rd November 2021
Briefing: what is section 3C leave?
If a migrant makes a valid application to extend their leave (permission) to be in the UK before it expires, their existing leave will be rolled over until a decision has been made on the application, even if this is after the original expiry date. Th ...1st November 2021
Can an immigration decision be put on ice during a criminal investigation?
This was the question before the Court of Appeal in R (X and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 1480. The court decided that the answer is “yes”, with some caveats. Challenge to five-year delay pending fraud inves ...19th October 2021
Tweaks to the Immigration Rules on validity, variation and withdrawal
Lurking in the weeds of the latest statement of changes are some tweaks to the procedural requirements in Part 1 of the Immigration Rules. Most take effect today. These provisions may not be the sexiest part of immigration law but they are worth payin ...6th October 2021
Some coronavirus concessions are being written into the Immigration Rules
Scattered throughout the latest statement of changes like needles in a 186-page haystack are three COVID-19 concessions that previously only appeared in Home Office guidance. They will now form part of the Immigration Rules. In immigration law, a conc ...17th September 2021
How excited should we be about the new High Potential Individual visa?
Since the announcement of the new High Potential Individual route as part of the UK Innovation Strategy, there’s been considerable buzz about what it will mean for graduates around the world seeking to move to the UK. Until the new route is mapped o ...4th August 2021
Visit visas can count towards ten years’ long residence
When it rains, it pours, and it has been pouring ten-year long residence cases. Here’s what we learned in just the last year: The difference between “book-ended” and “open-ended” overstaying (and that “book-ended ...21st July 2021
Sponsor changing job is not a reason to refuse a spouse visa
If you meet the financial requirements of Appendix FM at the date of application but your sponsor then leaves their job, do you still qualify for a spouse visa? Yes, the Upper Tribunal found in Begum (employment income; Rules/Article 8)  UKUT 11 ...20th May 2021
When does having a partner disqualify you from keeping a parent visa?
The Upper Tribunal in R (Waleed Ahmad Khattak) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (“eligible to apply”- LTR – “partner”)  UKUT 63 (IAC) has provided helpful clarification on when having a partner can disqualify someone fr ...19th March 2021
People with EU pre-settled status can sponsor family members under Appendix FM
Since 31 December 2020, the list of people who can sponsor a family member under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules has included those who are “in the UK with limited leave under Appendix EU, in accordance with paragraph GEN 1.3(d)”. As the name ...17th February 2021
How new visa rules on invalidity will create more overstayers
The Home Office recently introduced a set of new validity requirements for visa applications under the Points Based Immigration System, such as the Skilled Worker route. This is significant because an invalid application doesn’t extend your permissi ...23rd December 2020
Briefing: what is the English language requirement?
The English language requirement can be generously viewed as the Home Office’s response to the biblical Tower of Babel story: society is undermined by its people’s inability to speak the same language. But as anyone who has ever had the misfortune ...1st December 2020
New, improved English language requirements for immigration applications
The joy of working in immigration law is writing a 4,000 word briefing on the English language requirement, only to see a new provider added to the list three days after it is published, before an entirely new English language section of the Immigrati ...23rd October 2020
Easier access to benefits for family members of people from Northern Ireland
People from Northern Ireland will soon be able to sponsor non-European family members under the light-touch EU Settlement Scheme. The government has recently passed a separate but related measure: the Social Security (Income-Related Benefits) (Persons ...4th August 2020
Briefing: can EU citizens with pre-settled status claim Universal Credit?
It was the worst of times; it was the worst of times. As a result of the Home Office gridlock caused by the coronavirus pandemic, EU citizens seeking to apply for post-Brexit immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme have been disadvantaged in ...28th July 2020
10 of the most absurd things ever to happen to immigration lawyers
The sheer surrealism of an immigration lawyer’s job can perhaps only truly be understood by MC Escher’s architect or Salvador Dali’s landscape designer: you do your best to navigate the impossible, but you can’t help being occasionally hi ...29th May 2020
The Home Office Dictionary
By Alex Piletska and John Vassiliou Welcome to your first day as an Administrative Officer, the most junior civil service grade. We’re sure you will fit right in. To help you get to grips with all the technical mumbo-jumbo that can get in the way of ...7th May 2020
High Court blow for EU citizens with pre-settled status trying to claim Universal Credit
The High Court has rejected an argument that the regulations making it difficult for Europeans with pre-settled status to access most public funds are discriminatory on the ground of nationality. The case is Fratila and Tanase v SSWP  EWHC 998 ( ...30th April 2020
Briefing: what is leave outside the Rules?
Anyone whose life consists of daily references to the Immigration Rules will tell you that the experience can feel a lot like deep ocean exploration in the Mariana Trench: despite constant research, you will still make new discoveries, even when you t ...27th April 2020
Home Office can refuse settlement to those on long-term Discretionary Leave
Where policy guidance says that indefinite leave to remain (ILR) should “normally” be granted after six years of Discretionary Leave, can the Home Office ever depart from this policy? The Upper Tribunal judgment in R (Ellis) v Secretary of ...20th March 2020
Can spouses of British citizens naturalise after just three years’ residence in the UK?
For those forced to make successive, increasingly-expensive applications just to remain in the country that they have made their home, naturalising as a British citizen is often the final rung of a very tall ladder. Like all ladders, the key to succes ...11th February 2020