The UKBA has announced that from 25 June 2013 full right of appeal will be abolished for applicants for a family visitor’s visa.
Applications for this type of visa made before 25 June will bear full right of appeal independently of the date of the decision. Those who applied on or after 25 June 2013 will only be able to challenge refusal on the limited grounds of discrimination or the breach of Human Rights.
In July 2012 the government narrowed the definition of “family visitor” removing from the definition uncles, aunts, nieces and first cousins. As general visitors these family members could no longer appeal refusal of a visitor’s visa – the appeal rights remained only for close family members such as parents, spouses, children, and siblings.
According to government statistics, 1 in 3 family visitor visa appeals succeed.
The new initiative is presented as a cost saving exercise. In practice it is more likely to create frustration, impunity and a massive influx of applications for Judicial Review as High Court will have to absorb some of the judicial functions.
It is worth remembering that like other visitors, family visitors will continue to be able to appeal the refusal on Human Rights grounds as long as the refusal interferes with their right to private and family life.