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UK Visas & Immigration Delay

UK Visas & Immigration Delay

If there has been an unreasonable delay by the Home Office in processing your immigration or asylum application where you have suffered a detriment please contact one of our Immigration solicitors or Immigration lawyers for immediate assistance.


Delay cases background


In July 1998 the Secretary of State published a White Paper ' Fairer, Faster and Firmer - A Modern Approach to Immigration and Asylum' setting out its policy in relation to the processing of asylum and immigration applications. There was a large backlog of asylum applications, with the result that applicants were being 'condemned to a cruel limbo of worry and uncertainty over their future'. The White paper set out the objective of ensuring that ' most initial decisions will be made within 2 months of the initial application.


On the 1st January 2001 the Secretary of State and Treasury finalised a Public Service Agreement (PSA) which set a target requiring 60% of asylum applications lodged on or after 1 January 2001 should be decided within 60 days. This led to the Home Office prioritising new cases over old cases. As a result a backlog of over 400,000 unresolved asylum cases developed.


In July 2006 the Case Resolution Directorate (CRD) was established to process the backlog. The CRD gave priority to particular types of applications including cases where it was likely that a decision would be made to grant leave to enter or remain.


In R (Ghaleb) v SSHD [2008] it was accepted that this would include families which would benefit from the 7 year child concession (i.e they included a child who has lived in the UK continuously for more than 7 years) or had a long established family life in the UK.


In R (S) v SSHD [2007] the Court of Appeal held that:

  1. There was an implicit obligation on the Defendant to decide applications for asylum within a reasonable period of time;
  2. The Home Office's practice between 2001 and 2006, of prioritising new applications over old applications was unlawful;
  3. A delay of more than 2.5 years in considering an initial application for asylum was unlawful.


In R (FH et al) v SSHD [2007], Collins J held:

  1. 'Fresh claim' applications by failed asylum seekers were in a different category to 'initial' asylum applications and could be given lower priority;
  2. Delays of 2-3 years in deciding on a 'fresh claim' applications were not unlawful in general;
  3. A delay of more than 5 years in considering one particular application which was 'akin to an initial application' was unlawful.


In FH (Bangladesh) v SSHD [2009] the Court of Appeal held that a delay of 2 years in making a decision on an application for indefinite leave to remain was 'culpable and undue'


In R (MJ) v SSHD 2010 Wyn Williams J held that a delay of 3 years in considering an application for asylum made by a minor was unlawful and that, if an application for a mandatory order had been made for that period, it would have been granted. This case was distinguished from FH et al because it was not concerned with decisions on initial applications for asylum.


In the summer of 2011 the Home Office announced that it had completed a review of all asylum applications made before March 2007 and the CRD was closed. The UKVI announced that all those who had not been granted leave under the exercise were either awaiting removal or were those with whom the UKVI had lost contact. It is thought that there are many thousands within the legacy who do not fit into these categories and that the announcement that the exercise was complete was premature. 


 If you feel that there has been an unreasonable delay on an immigration or asylum application you have submitted and you have suffered a detriment as a result of the delay please contact Duncan Lewis to speak to an Immigration Solicitor or Immigration Lawyer. Legal aid may be available to bring an action to compel the UKVI to consider your application and for compensation against the UK Visas & Immigration for the loss you have suffered as a result of the delay in deciding your application.

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