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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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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The Supreme Court on the correct approach to parental misconduct and the reasonableness and unduly harsh tests

In relation to the “new” Rules introduced in July 2012 and the new statutory framework set out in Part 5A of the 2002 Act, giving the leading judgement, Lord Carnwath in the Supreme Court, in KO (Nigeria) & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) [2018] UKSC 53 (24 October 2018) had the following stinging criticisms to impart:

 

 

“……….It is profoundly unsatisfactory that a set of provisions which was intended to provide clear guidelines to limit the scope for judicial evaluation should have led to such disagreement among some of the most experienced Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal judges. Rather than attempt a detailed analysis of all these impressive but conflicting judgments, I hope I will be forgiven for attempting a simpler and more direct approach. I start with the expectation that the purpose is to produce a straightforward set of rules, and in particular to narrow rather than widen the residual area of discretionary judgment for the court to take account of public interest or other factors not directly reflected in the wording of the statute. I also start from the presumption, in the absence of clear language to the contrary, that the provisions are intended to be consistent with the general principles relating to the “best interests” of children, including the principle that “a child must not be blamed for matters for which he or she is not responsible, such as the conduct of a parent” (see Zoumbas v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] UKSC 74, [2013] 1 WLR 3690, para 10 per Lord Hodge)”.

 

 

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The Preliminary Information Questionnaire: Are we headed back to an increased use of non-compliance based asylum refusal decisions?

The SEF is back! Not as we know it, but under the guise of the Preliminary Information Questionnaire(PIQ). The Home Office have in recent weeks been sending out the questionnaire to a good number of adults who have claimed asylum, been screened but are yet to be substantively interviewed.

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