Last week the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine, published his report on an inspection of applications to enter, remain and settle in the UK on the basis of marriage and civil partnerships.
The inspection examined how the UK Border Agency (UKBA) deals with these applications and focused on assessing the consistency of decision-making across different locations and work-streams.
The full report can be read here and some of the key findings can be summarised as follows:
- In most cases, the decisions on marriage applications were found to be reasonable when assessed against the Immigration Rules.
- All applicants in the file sample had been checked against the Police National Computer and the Home Office Warnings Index.
- The Agency had a backlog of 14,000 requests from applicants to re-consider decisions to refuse them further leave to remain, which was growing by approximately 700 per month. A further backlog of 2100 cases which were awaiting an initial decision was also discovered.
- The UKBA was not adopting a consistent approach to the requirement that applicants should be able to maintain themselves without recourse to public funds.
- Overseas UKBA entry clearance applications were failing to consider Human Rights when refusing an application under the Rules.
- Specific consideration of the best interests of children was not being made when refusing entry clearance applications where either the applicant or the sponsor had a child in the UK.
- The percentage of allowed appeals in marriage cases was deemed too high.
The UKBA has published its detailed response to the report which can be viewed here.
The UKBA accepts the Chief inspector”s recommendations although they state that they have no legal obligation to consider the 14,000 requests for reconsideration and that they have already taken steps to deal with these cases. In addition, they state that initial decisions have already been made in the further 2100 cases highlighted by the report.
If you require assistance with a UK Family immigration matter, get in touch via email or call us on 0207 001 2121 and one of our experienced consultants will be pleased to assist you.