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Increase In Immigration Appeal Fees Limits Immigrants From Challenging Home Office Decisions

The Ministry of Justice has today increased some immigration and asylum appeal fees by up to 500%.  This is against the backdrop of a consultation in which 142 out of 147 respondents indicated that they were opposed to the proposal.

The New Appeal Fee Structure And Its Effects

The following is the new fee structure imposed by the Ministry of Justice from 10 October 2016:

  • To apply for an oral hearing at the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber), the fee has been increased from £140 to £800;
  • To apply for a paper decision from the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber), the fee has been increased from £80 to £490;

These changes are introduced by the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Fees (Amendment) Order 2016.

The following new fees are not yet in force but will be introduced at a later date, once necessary procedural changes have been introduced:

  • A new fee of £455 will be introduced to apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber) for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal;
  • A new fee of £350 will be introduced to apply for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal;
  • A new fee of £510 will be introduced for an appeal hearing in the Upper Tribunal.

This huge jump in immigration appeal fees will impact a broad range of families and individuals, from EEA citizens and their family members wanting to be granted rights of residence in the UK ahead of Brexit, to vulnerable individuals applying for asylum in the UK.

If the appeal succeeds, the Tribunal will reimburse the appeal fee in full.  However, this is unlikely to assist many.  One of the lingering problems with the immigration appeals system is that appeals tend to stretch over several months, sometimes even years. Even a successful appellant can be left living from hand to mouth if the appeal proceedings go on for a long time. For example, to reach an Upper Tribunal hearing, it will now cost an appellant up to £2,115.  If additional family members are appealing at the same time then the figure will be higher.

The government has introduced several exemptions to provide protection to destitute and vulnerable immigrants. For example, immigrants with a Home Office waiver are exempted from paying any fee for appeal tribunal proceedings.  But the fact remains that the new immigration appeal fees are, to say the least, rather univiting for appellants of moderate means.  It is worth noting that the Government plans to provide guidance and clarification on the Lord Chancellor’s power to exceptionally grant fee remissions, which could turn out to be crucial for many of those who do not come within any of the exemptions but are nevertheless practically unable to pay the increased appeal fees.

The new immigration appeal fees would perhaps not be so unwelcome if the Home Office made reasonable decisions in the first place. According to statistics published by the immigration tribunal, of all cases that were heard between April and June 2016, 32% of unrepresented appellants managed to win their case at the First-tier Tribunal, whilst 42% of appeals succeeded at the First-tier Tribunal with the help of a legal adviser.  Thereafter, 32% of Home Office decisions were overturned in the Upper Tribunal.

Contact Our Immigration Appeal Barristers Today

At Richmond Chambers we have an excellent record of overturning Home Office immigration refusal decisions on appeal.  If you are seeking expert legal advice and representation in relation to an appeal before First-tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our online enquiry form.


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