On Friday 25th November the Home Office announced that they are reversing their recent implementation of a huge rise in the cost of immigration appeal fees.
The government’s decision to raise the cost of an appeal by over 500% caused outrage among migrant support groups and immigration practitioners. The impact of the huge fees increase was expected to be a sharp downturn in the number of individuals who would be able to afford to appeal immigration decisions.
It is estimated that in 2014 50% of oral appeals were successful, but the price increase would have been the effective denial of an appeal for many people unable to afford the increased fees.
The Home Office has pledged that anyone who had paid fees at the increased rate will be reimbursed the difference between that fee and the previous fee. No timescale for refunds has yet been announced, however.
While we very much welcome the decision to scrap this massive price hike, it should be remembered that this is good news only up to a certain point.
A new restriction on in-country appeals is due to come into effect on 1st December 2016. From that date forwards, all appeals on the basis of family and private life will now be heard out of country unless it is shown that “serious and irreversible harm” would be caused by the individual being returned to their home country.
The new provisions mean that many people with a good chance of winning their appeal will now have to fight their case from outside the UK – leaving behind their families and potentially losing their employment – and go through a lengthy appeals process from abroad.
If you are planning to submit any application to the Home Office, we advise that you contact us for professional legal advice, to ensure that your application has the best possible chance of success the first time round.
Please contact June Holmes in our Immigration Department on 0191 243 8164 to make an appointment if you require any advice and assistance with your immigration matter.