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With the recent ratification of the Immigration Act 2014, there has been a lot of talk around what the changes actually mean from a practical perspective, and what it could spell for UK immigration as a whole. We asked a senior member of our legal team, Abigail Solomon, for some clarification on the new Act, and the impact it is expected to have on immigration from an expert perspective.
1. What is the Immigration Act 2014 from a legal point of view?
From a legal, as well as a practical point of view, the biggest change that has been brought about by the new legislation is the changes to appeal rights. Most appeal rights have now been taken away for refused applications, putting a much greater emphasis on getting the initial visa application right.
The new legislation will also have a big impact on detained persons and those subject to deportation orders. Appeal rights for those facing deportation will be restricted and those seeking to apply for bail will also face greater restrictions.
2. What impact will it have on people who are considering submitting a visa application?
As I mentioned, the emphasis is now on getting the initial application right as most of the rights to appeal will no longer be available. Applicants who are refused the first time around will have to reapply rather than appeal, which is a much more costly process and, in the UK, you may only be able to submit one further application, if that one is also refused then there are potentially no further options. It is crucial that anyone considering a new application ensures that they get advice and guidance from a knowledgeable source in the first instance.
3. Roughly what percentage of future applications will be effected by the Immigration Act 2014?
This is very difficult to say or to envisage, but this new legislation will certainly impact many. I would strongly suggest that anyone seeking to make an application either from within the UK or from overseas, seeks professional legal advice before proceeding to make an application. Our team of lawyers will be able to provide a full and honest opinion and provide a full merits assessment in order to assess whether an application is likely to succeed or not and if not what other options there may be.
4. Will the Immigration Act 2014 have a significant impact on immigration levels?
I don’t think it will have an impact on actual numbers overall. The main provisions in the act are geared towards removals rather than immigration in terms of those looking to enter the UK. It also doesn’t have much effect on EU immigration, so I think that the actual numbers will remain similar.
5. Who will be most affected by the changes the Immigration Act 2014 has made to immigration law?
The main effects will be on those who are relying on the Human Rights Act or the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), particularly Article 8, the Right to a family and private life.
6. Are there any people who are set to benefit from the changes? If so, who are they likely to be?
As far as I can tell so far, there are no applicants who stand to benefit from the changes. The rights to appeal being taken away stands to make it difficult for those whose applications are turned down. There may still be other options, but they could potentially be more expensive or not as accessible. Again, I’d urge people to take expert advice on how the changes may affect them and their applications.
7. Can you give an example of how the Immigration Act 2014 might work in practice?
If someone’s visa has been turned down and they believe the decision was unfair, then they could use the Judicial Review process. Some decisions are manifestly wrong and they can be addressed through Judicial Review.
8. How can they minimise impact on their application?
The best way to minimise the impact is going to be to get the initial application right first time. We always strongly advise to get expert advice and guidance with applications anyway, but now this is absolutely essential. The potential consequences of getting the initial application turned down are now much more severe than before the Immigration Act 2014.
If you have any concerns over how the Immigration Act 2014 may affect your visa application then consult a member of our legal team for expert immigration advice on 0844 887 0111, or click here to find your local IAS office contact number.
Interview by Red Cow Media.