HomeUK Visa & ImmigrationCriminality and Half 9 of the Immigration Guidelines: so-called “obligatory” refusal grounds...

Criminality and Half 9 of the Immigration Guidelines: so-called “obligatory” refusal grounds won’t at all times mandatorily lead to refusal | Immigration Legislation Weblog | Kingsley Napley

On 1 December 2020, the Grounds for Refusal in Half 9 of the Immigration Guidelines have been amended, offering the House Workplace with wider scope to refuse permission functions and cancel present permission. The grounds embody stricter obligatory grounds of refusal which, when relevant, require that functions for permission “have to be refused” or present permission “have to be cancelled.” However simply how obligatory are they? A current case of ours signifies the presence of a hidden discretion that was as soon as express.

Criminality grounds

Half 9 of the Immigration Guidelines applies to nearly each software for permission to enter and stay within the UK. The grounds cowl myriad eventualities together with the submission of false representations, involvement in sham marriages, owing money owed to the NHS and former immigration breaches. Nonetheless, it’s the “criminality grounds” that maybe mostly create difficulties for candidates. 

One of many new, more durable, criminality grounds is discovered at paragraph 9.4.1, which supplies as follows (emphasis added):

9.4.1. An software for entry clearance, permission to enter or permission to remain have to be refused the place the applicant:

(a) has been convicted of a prison offence within the UK or abroad for which they’ve obtained a custodial sentence of 12 months or extra; or

(b) is a persistent offender who exhibits a specific disregard for the regulation; or

(c) has dedicated a prison offence, or offences, which prompted severe hurt.

This can be a tightening of the earlier criminality floor, below which those that had obtained sentences of greater than 12 months however lower than 4 years stood for obligatory refusal until 10 years had handed for the reason that finish of their sentence (or 15 years within the case of a settlement software).

No discretion?

The brand new obligatory refusal grounds comprise no trace of discretion. The accompanying Grounds for refusal – criminality: caseworker steerage doesn’t provide up any scraps of hope both. In reality, the notably naked part on criminality for functions submitted after 9am on 1 December 2020 consists of solely a direct copy and paste of the “obligatory refusal” guidelines. There are only a few notable {qualifications}, together with that permission shouldn’t be refused or cancelled solely on the idea of an abroad conviction for an offence that’s not recognised within the UK.

In contrast, the steerage in relation to criminality refusal grounds for functions submitted earlier than 9am on 1 December 2020 provides caseworkers appreciable discretion when contemplating refusal below a earlier “obligatory” floor. For instance, the previous iteration of Half 9 included a compulsory floor of refusal the place the applicant had beforehand obtained a sentence of 4 years or extra following conviction (“you could refuse their software”). However the steerage additionally states that caseworkers “should at all times think about if there are any very compelling components which quantity to an distinctive motive why the applying must be granted.” 

The present steerage lacks any examples about what this implies however earlier variations included the next non-exhaustive listing of outstanding and compelling circumstances:

  • Since conviction, the passage of time or the non-public circumstances of the individual have considerably modified such that sustaining a refusal could be so perverse as to undermine confidence within the immigration system
  • There may be dependable proof to recommend the conviction was politically motivated
  • The individual involved intends to make a major funding within the UK – for instance, shopping for or closely investing in a serious firm, so by refusing entry it will not be within the nationwide curiosity

The deletion of any such reference within the steerage referring to post-1 December 2020 functions is an try to make obligatory refusal grounds simply that – obligatory – with no exceptions.

So what will be finished?

A current case of ours involved a consumer (together with his spouse and youngster) making use of for settlement who had obtained a 14-month jail sentence abroad nearly 30 years in the past. Since receiving that conviction, he has turned his life round and develop into a senior worker of a UK firm. His earlier permission functions had been profitable as a result of greater than 10 years had expired for the reason that finish of his sentence. Nonetheless, the amended guidelines meant that his settlement software was refused below the brand new obligatory criminality floor, para 9.4.1.

When neither a request for administrative overview nor pre-action correspondence persuaded the House Workplace to alter its thoughts and train discretion, along with Rebecca Chapman of Backyard Courtroom Chambers, we issued an software for permission to use for judicial overview.

The judicial overview grounds included submissions that the brand new Half 9 and steerage had in impact fettered the SSHD’s residual discretion to grant functions exterior the principles; that Half 9 was extremely vires of part 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, part 3(2) of the Immigration Act 1971 and part 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009; and that the House Workplace had did not undertake the requisite balancing train below Article 8 ECHR.

With out rationalization, the House Workplace determined to not defend the declare and agreed to grant settlement to our consumer and his household, regardless of the applicability of a compulsory refusal floor and steerage that accommodates no scope for granting permission.

This was a incredible outcome for our consumer however left us with an unsatisfactory lack of readability in regards to the reasoning for the House Workplace’s reversal. On the very least, that is an instance that there’s scope to make submissions about exceptionality regardless of the unambiguous language employed within the obligatory grounds and caseworker steerage.

The SSHD at all times has discretion to grant depart exterior of the Immigration Guidelines however that is extremely unlikely to occur when caseworkers should not instructed to think about distinctive circumstances. We name on the House Workplace to replace its steerage to incorporate express reference to this discretion and supply particulars about what’s going to represent distinctive grounds for approval when functions fall for refusal below a compulsory floor.

We welcome enquiries from anybody who’s dealing with refusal or cancellation of their permission below Half 9 of the Immigration Guidelines.  With the introduction of the UK’s Digital Journey Authorisation (ETA) scheme being phased on this yr and subsequent, many extra individuals will discover themselves needing to use for a customer visa and could possibly be topic to obligatory grounds for refusal.

This weblog initially featured on freemovement.org.uk.

Additional info

If in case you have any queries on the above points or another immigration matter, please contact a member of the Immigration Group.


In regards to the writer

Oliver is a senior affiliate within the Immigration Group and Worldwide Safety Group. He has been practising immigration regulation since 2012, with a specific deal with asylum, human rights, detention and deportation issues. He has in depth expertise of representing purchasers of their appeals from the First-tier Tribunal (IAC) as much as the Courtroom of Attraction and has introduced a spread of judicial overview challenges towards House Workplace choices all the best way as much as the Supreme Courtroom.




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