Deliberate and calculated: How the Home Office prevented access to the Immigration Health Surcharge Portal on 7 January 2019

In a deliberate and calculated move, the Home Office jumped the gun, in practice enabling the doubling of the Immigration Health Surcharge to become effective on 7 January 2019.

 

The effect of the increase to the charge is set out in a recent blog post: Doubling of the Immigration Health Surcharge: Paying through the nose to obtain a UK visa

The Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2018 No. 1389 was made on 18 December 2018 and is to the following terms, amongst other provisions:

 

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Effect of the “repatriation agreement” between the Zimbabwean and UK authorities: Breach of claimant’s confidentiality or careless exposure to risk?

If brought to  full life without regard to due process and safeguards, the repatriation agreement between the UK Government and the Zimbabwean authorities might have the effect,  on the one hand of creating refugees out of the very people sought to be removed and on the other, breach of their confidentiality.

 

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Zimbabwean Government deals hard blow to UK resident Zimbabweans: Returnees consent no longer required to enforce removals to Zimbabwe

 

There appears to be no hiding from the glaringly obvious: following on from a previous blog post, Is Mnangagwa’s New  Government paving the way for  UK mass removals of failed Zimbabwean Asylum Claimants ?, the Zimbabwean authorities have indeed now fully sold out on the many undocumented Zimbabweans living in the UK. I say sold out as the Zimbabwean government is apparently ready to welcome with open arms thousands of Zimbabweans who have accrued lengthy residence in the UK, yet offer them absolutely nothing of any enduring substance on return. One only has to look at the current country conditions as they relate to Zimbabwe.  Return is to a place of desolation and despair for the majority of those being targeted for return.

 

Undocumented Zimbabwean nationals therefore now  face forcible return to Zimbabwe – whether or not they have  given their consent to the Emergency Travel Document(ETD) process. This much is evident from the new UK Country Returns Guide updated on 3 December 2018.

 

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Court of Appeal takes Tribunal Judges to school: Pay heed to importance of country guidance caselaw

It is most strange that it should staunchly be maintained before the Court of Appeal that Home Office Presenting Officers are aware of country guidance caselaw, yet a supposedly sufficiently experienced Home office Presenting Officer voluntarily made a concession that was inconsistent with relevant  country guidance caselaw with the result that, also placing  reliance upon that concession, an Upper Tribunal Judge allowed an appellant’s appeal.

 

Even stranger still is that it subsequently emerged that neither the Presenting Officer nor those that represented the Appellant had referred to nor relied upon applicable country guidance ceselaw in the Upper Tribunal.

 

 

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Part 1: How not to fall foul of the new application process and ensure a valid Home Office application

A new Home Office application process is now in operation, although confusingly and inexplicably, it currently also co-exists side by side with the “old” system that was in place prior to 2 November 2018.

 

Although confusion might initially arise in the next few weeks in relation to the operation of new process, it is very important that as the  process gradually comes into flow, that applicants keep a close and continual eye on UKVI announcements and updates, introduction of relevant new or amended Home Office Policy guidance and most importantly, pay close attention to the contents of the very first page of published paper application forms and accompanying Guidance as regards the circumstances in which paper application forms can continue to be used in the interim.

 

The operation of the new process will inevitably affect the validity and acceptance of applications.

 

Part 2 of this post will set out the new Home Office application process and some commentary, whilst for now the Rules and updated Guidance are considered in conjunction of each other as set out below.

 

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