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The UK Border Agency has recently published a “consultation on proposed reforms to the immigration appeals process”.

The reforms are designed to “streamline the system” and the Government believes that “once fully implemented, the reforms could reduce the amount of time taken for asylum appeals by nine weeks”.

The consultation document Immigration appeals: Fair decisions, faster justice is on our website, together with details of how to respond to it. Responses to it should reach us no later than 16 October 2008.

The Government are abolishing the right to appeal, in favour of a review by an Entry Clearance Manager ECM), on a number of categories of entry clearance or visa appeals, including those for student visas.

Having personally been involved in several recent cases where visa refusals by Entry Clearance Officers have been overturned on appeal by an Immigration Judge, I am sceptical that a review process will deliver the same results.

Before a case reaches the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT), an ECM is given the opportunity to review and overturn a refusal decision. In the vast majority of cases the ECM stands by or supports the decision of their officers.

The Home Office view is that there will no longer be any need for an appeals process once the Points Based System is fully implemented, as decisions will be based only on factual information.

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