A clause in the Crime and Courts Bill, published today, will remove the full right of appeal for those applying to enter the UK as a family visitor. Subject to Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent, this change is expected to come into force by 2014. Refused applicants will still be able to appeal on limited grounds of human rights or race discrimination.
In June 2012 we will also introduce secondary legislation which will tighten the family and sponsor definitions in family visit visa appeals. Subject to Parliamentary approval, these changes are expected to come into force in July 2012. Those applying to visit a cousin, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew will no longer have access to a full right of appeal, and to use that appeal right, the family member being visited in the UK must have settled, refugee or humanitarian protection status.
These changes will only affect applicants who have been refused a visa to visit family members. No changes are being made to the rules governing who can qualify for entry to the UK as a visitor and genuine visitors are welcome.
Between July and October 2011, the Home Office carried out a consultation on whether applicants refused a family visit visa should have a full right of appeal. 39 per cent of respondents felt that a full right of appeal should not be retained for this category and 28 per cent felt that it should. 33 per cent didn’t comment.
The Independent Chief Inspector will continue to monitor visa refusals where applicants have no full right of appeal and the UK Border Agency will use this feedback to improve our application and decision making processes.
Further changes following the 2011 family migration consultation will be announced in due course.
As well as removing the full right of appeal for family visit visas, the Crime and Courts Bill also includes provisions relating to UK Border Agency investigatory and other powers.