On 19 December 2011 the UK government’s Ministry of Justice brought in new charges for some asylum, immigration and visa appeals and introduced new procedures for submitting appeals against refusals.
Fees of £80 for a ‘paper consideration’, a decision made by an Immigration Judge on papers without a hearing, and £140 for a full oral hearing at a tribunal will be applied to appeals against decisions taken on or after 19 December 2011.
The government said that ‘users of the appeals system who can afford to pay, should contribute to the system’s cost’.
The fees have been initially set at ‘low levels’ of around 25% of the full cost of administering the appeal system. The government considers that ‘it is an appropriate balance between low, affordable fees which enable access to justice, and a meaningful contribution towards the costs of the Tribunal’.
Applicants who want to lodge an appeal against refusal decisions dated on or after 19 December 2011 from outside the UK will be required to submit their appeals directly to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in Leicester and will no longer be able to send them to the visa application centre overseas that made the initial decision. For more information about this process please see the Ministry of Justice website.
Applicants who want to appeal a decision dated before 19 December 2011 from outside the UK are still able to send their appeal to the visa section that made the initial decision. For further information about this process please see the Appeals section on the UK Border Agency’s website.
The UK Border Agency will be introducing a new online payment facility, available shortly, which will allow applicants to make an appeal and payment online for decisions dated from 19 December 2011. Appellants must be able to pay using a MasterCard or a Visa credit or debit card or be submitting an appeal which does not require a fee to be paid. Appellants can ask another person to pay the fee on their behalf using their payment card details, with their permission. For more information about submitting appeals online please see the Ministry of Justice website. Source: UK Border Agency.
The new fees should not deter people who want to refuse immigration decisions which they feel are genuinely unfair or have not followed the Immigration Rules. However, it should cut the thousands ‘let’s have a go anyway’ appeals which have absolutely no hope of succeeding and no genuine grounds and merely clog up the system and cost millions of pounds.
Professional immigration appeals specialists will only take on appeals which have a fair chance of succeeding. OISC registered Level 3 Immigration Advisers such as Bison UK will not submit appeals unless there are grounds of appeal and they feel there is a good chance of overturning the refusal decision.
Whilst you can submit your own appeal without using an adviser or lawyer, applicants should consider taking advice before firing off an appeal form, as this will later be taken into account as part of your case. Most advisers will offer an initial consultation for a small fee where you can get professional advice on your case for you submit your appeal.
Oral appeals, which are heard before an independent Immigration Judge at a full hearing in the First-tier Tribunal, usually have a greater chance of success than an ‘on papers’ appeal, especially if the form is poorly drafted.
At a hearing you, or your legal representative, will have the opportunity to submit a ‘bundle’ outlining your case and argue your case before a Judge.
If you have been refused by the Home Office or UK Border Agency and would like advice on how to appeal against a refusal please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk