CIFAS named for bank account controls role

Saturday, March 8, 2014 @ 12:03 PM
Author: icslegal

he government has named CIFAS as the anti-fraud body likely to oversee proposed bank account controls set out in the Immigration Bill. The controls mean banks and building societies will be required to check all applications for new current accounts with a specified anti-fraud organisation or data-matching authority.

Anyone who is in the UK illegally will not be allowed an account.

The Home Office said in a statement of intent that CIFAS would be chosen as the specified anti-fraud organisation to hold data on known illegal migrants.

The legislation continues the reform of the immigration system so that it is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants.

Those with outstanding asylum applications or appeals will not be affected, nor will those who have been granted leave to be here, including refugees. Only data relating to known illegal migrants will be passed on.

CIFAS is a leading not-for-profit anti-fraud organisation with many banks and building societies as members. Over the last two years CIFAS and the Home Office have worked with UK financial service providers to avoid fraud amounting to £25million.

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Gulshan (Article 8 – new Rules – correct approach) [2013] UKUT 640 (IAC)

Sunday, February 23, 2014 @ 01:02 PM
Author: icslegal

The new approach to Article 8 cases is something being challenged by the Home Office. The Court of Appeal has underlined that it is the Strasbourg standards and principles which continue to govern the ultimate disposal of these cases. Confronted with significant concessions by the SSHD, the Court has construed the new Rules, which on their face appeared discordant with article 8, as in fact doing no more than requiring decision-makers to conduct the conventional proportionality exercise, paying regard to all of those considerations identified as relevant by the Strasbourg jurisprudence.

In Gulshan, the First Tier Tribunal had allowed the appeal however the Upper Tribunal held that the Judge had erred.

The background to the unfortunate Upper Tribunal judgment was that an appeal had been allowed in the First-tier Tribunal. A judge held that it was disproportionate to separate a British pensioner aged 67 from his wife of 34 years with nearly £30,000 of savings only on the basis of the husband commanding insufficient annual income to meet the £18,600 threshold. Cranston J pointedly comments that the 67 year old “does not work and has no income” and holds that the judge had erred in law:

The determination in Gulshan also does violence to the Court of Appeal judgment in MF (Nigeria). At paragraph 49 of MF the Court notes, obiter, that an ‘insurmountable obstacles’ test would be incompatible with Article 8. My understanding of that passage is that in assessing a human rights case, that is therefore the wrong test to apply. In Gulshan, Cranston J seems to read this as meaning that the words should still be used in assessing cases, but that they should be read down so as not to mean what they say so that an assessment under the rules is still one that is human rights compliant. That sounds like legal gymnastics to me. An insurmountable obstacle is one that literally cannot be surmounted, after all. History is littered with remarkable and exceptional stories of human endeavour that surely teach us almost no barrier is insurmountable to us.

The determination then displays what one would have thought was a basic legal error in going on to reference the insurmountable obstacles test (said obiter in MF to be the wrong one) in the cursory and rather rude Article 8 assessment at the end. There is no consideration of the pertinent issue of whether, like the young, the imposition of a high minimum income threshold on the old and retired might well be a disproportionate interference with their right to a family life.

Has your application been refused? We specialise in helping clients win appeals against decisions made by the Home Office in the UK or by Entry Clearance Posts abroad. Our success rate on appeals for the last 6 months is over 95%. Contact ICS Legal on 0207 237 3388. 

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Home Office: Evaluation of the new family returns process

Saturday, January 18, 2014 @ 04:01 PM
Author: icslegal

A report commissioned by the Home Office evaluating the new family returns process has been published.

You can read the 91-page report here.

The report evaluates the conformity to process, welfare and safeguarding, preparation and barriers to return of families.

The new family returns process was rolled out nationally on 1 March 2011 following a pilot in the North West of England and London between June 2010 and March 2011.

The Home Office says it is a key component of the Government’s aim to end the detention of children for immigration purposes.

According to a press release, the evaluation report found that the new returns process provided a framework allowing families to take responsibility for their return. Lack of engagement meant that many did not take up this opportunity, and assisted and voluntary return rates did not increase (although they remained steady when the general trend was down).

The Home Office commissioned report says the new family returns process had a positive impact on family welfare and safeguarding children. Some areas for possible improvement were identified.

The evaluation also reported progress against the 20 child detention review commitments.

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Supreme Court dismisses “adopted child” appeal but says rules should be amended

Saturday, January 18, 2014 @ 04:01 PM
Author: icslegal

Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights today published a report on the Government’s Immigration Bill.

You can read the full report here or access the sections from here.

The report raised significant concerns over the reduction in appeal rights, stating: “We are concerned that the Bill’s significant limitation of appeal rights against immigration and asylum decisions is not compatible with the common law right of access to a court or tribunal in relation to unlawful immigration decisions, and the right to an effective remedy. Indeed, limiting rights of appeal to the extent that they are restricted in the Bill constitutes a serious threat to the practical ability to access the legal system to challenge unlawful immigration and asylum decisions, and to enforce the statutory duty to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children when exercising immigration and asylum functions.”

The section of the report dealing with appeal rights is available here.

In a press release, the Committee stated: “The Committee believes that the First Tier Tribunal, not the Secretary of State, should decide whether it is within its jurisdiction to consider a new matter raised on an appeal. It therefore recommends that the Government amends the Bill to achieve its purpose in a way which does not appear to make the scope of the tribunal’s jurisdiction depend on the consent of one of the parties to the appeal before it. The Committee is also not satisfied with the Government’s reliance on the continued availability of judicial review to challenge the Secretary of State’s certification that a human rights appeal can be heard out of country, having regard to the unavailability of civil legal aid to bring such a claim and the proposed reforms of judicial review.”

The report also found the Bill could give rise to homelessness and discrimination.

The press release stated:

“The Committee accepts that the measures in the Bill serve the legitimate aim of immigration control, but is concerned that some of them may be applied in practice in a way which breaches human rights in particular cases.

The Committee is particularly concerned about the risk of the new provisions relating to residential tenancies giving rise in practice to homelessness, in breach of the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment in Article 3 ECHR, in the case of people who have no right to remain in the UK but face genuine barriers to leaving. The Committee is also concerned to ensure that these measures do not give rise to an undue risk that migrant children will be exposed to homelessness or separation from family members. The Committee urges the Government to explain fully to Parliament the safeguards that exist to mitigate the impact of these provisions on children.

The Committee is also concerned that the provisions in the Bill on access to residential tenancies may heighten the risk of racial discrimination against prospective tenants, notwithstanding the fact that such discrimination is unlawful under the Equality Act. The Committee is asking the Government not to commence these provisions until the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Government Equalities Office are satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards in place to prevent such discrimination from arising in practice.”

Dr Hywel Francis MP, the Chair of the Committee, said: “My Committee is especially concerned about the restrictions on accessing residential tenancies according to immigration status, as these may expose children, and other migrants who have no right to be in the UK but face genuine obstacles to leaving, to the risk of homelessness, and could be applied in a way which is racially discriminatory. We likewise believe that the Bill’s significant limitation of appeal rights against immigration and asylum decisions, when considered alongside other proposals such as a residence test for legal aid and restrictions on judicial review, represent a serious threat to the practical ability to access the legal system to challenge unlawful decisions.”

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New service standards for applications made in UK

Saturday, January 18, 2014 @ 11:01 AM
Author: icslegal

Following feedback from customers and partners, UKVI service standards have changed for applications made within the UK since 1 January 2014.

Processing times for straightforward applications are listed below. If your application is more complex and a decision cannot be made within that time, we will write to you to explain what happens next.

Applications received before 1 January 2014 will remain subject to the standards in force at the time they were submitted.

Processing times for applications made within the UK

Customers applying to remain in the UK on a temporary basis as: a spouse, workers, Tier 1 General and entrepreneurs, students, and organisations seeking to sponsor a worker 8 weeks (10 days priority postal and same day premium)
Employers applying in the UK to update and maintain their licence details 18 weeks
Customers applying in the UK to remain permanently (or naturalise as British) and applicants from Turkey and Croatia to live, study or work 6 months
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