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8 May 2018

50% of asylum decisions overturned on appeals

Figures released last month show that nearly half of initial asylum decisions by the Home Office are later overturned through the appeals process. The number of appeals being upheld has increased over the last three years.

This has prompted the Law Society to issue a strongly-worded statement claiming that the current system “undermines the rule of law.”

Joe Egan, the president of the Law Society, explained: “Almost 50% of UK immigration and asylum appeals are upheld – clear evidence of serious flaws in the way visa and asylum applications are being dealt with.

“Solicitors, charities and the media have long reported huge delays and unreliable decisions in many areas of immigration – from business and worker applications to family, children and asylum cases.

“We know there is good practice in the Home Office and officials who clearly want to make a difference, but each error or delay may – and often does – have a devastating effect on someone’s life.

“In the worst cases, adults and even children are forced to wait years for a decision – and while they wait their life is on hold: they cannot plan, may not be allowed to work, travel or access a wide range of state support.”

The Home Office has defended this statistic by saying that appeals are upheld for a variety of reasons, mostly due to new evidence being presented.

Nevertheless, as Gherson immigration specialists point out, this is an issue that needs to be fixed before Brexit kicks in as the UK Visa and Immigration service is likely to face possibly the biggest influx of applications in its history when EU nationals living in the UK seek to settle their status post-Brexit. This will increase the need for a reliable and efficient immigration system, making improvements more pressing than ever.

The concern surrounding this post-Brexit system comes as the Migration Observatory think tank warned that thousands of EU nationals entitled to live in the UK could inadvertently become illegal residents after Brexit because they will struggle to complete the necessary paperwork. This could be due to already being in a vulnerable position in the UK, for example suffering from social and cultural isolation, or living in poverty or lacking sufficient English language skills. For others, becoming inadvertently illegal could also result from them simply not realising they need to apply.