In the aftermath of Brexit, the EU Settlement Scheme emerged as a lifeline for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family members wishing to secure their immigration status in the UK. This scheme, operated by the Home Office, has been pivotal for those who wish to apply for settled or pre-settled status, ensuring they can continue to live, work and access public services in the UK beyond 30 June 2021.
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However, not all applications under the EU Settlement Scheme are successful. If this is the case individuals should go through the EU Settlement Scheme appeal process or, the alternative, administrative review. The need for an appeal or administrative review arises from the realisation that errors can occur during the Home Office decision making process.
This could be on the part of the applicants or due to mistakes made by decision-makers in the Home Office. Whether due to a refusal letter, an offer of pre-settled status when you believe you qualify for settled status, or a refusal to issue an EUSS family permit, it’s essential to know your appeal rights.
In this article our Co-Founder and senior Immigration Solicitor, Dr Bernard Andonian discusses the EU Settlement Scheme Appeals Process.
Understanding the EU Settlement Scheme (ESS) Appeals Process
An EU Settlement Scheme Appeal is as a formal request for a First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) to review and potentially overturn an original decision made on an application by the Home Office.
When Can You Appeal?
The deadline for appeal submission is 14 days after receiving a refused decision. If this timeline is not stuck to, you might lose your right of appeal unless there are exceptional circumstances. The countdown starts from the date on the decision letter, so keep this in mind while planning to submit an appeal.
How to Initiate the Appeal Process
The appeal process for the EU Settlement Scheme is relatively straightforward but requires careful attention to detail. Below we will discuss the possible steps for the appeal process.
1. Complete the Appeal Form
Before initiating the appeal process, gather all relevant documents, such as those proving residency or refuting any claimed grounds for refusal in your original application. This evidence will form the basis of your appeal or administrative review.
The appeal form, known as IAFT-5, is a vital step in the appeal process. It provides the First-tier Tribunal with your grounds for appeal and any other issues you believe were in the original decision. Carefully complete this form to present your case in the correct manner and maximise your chances of success.
2. Submit the Appeal
Before you can submit your appeal, you must pay the court fee. This fee is £80 without an oral hearing and £140 with a hearing. You may pay this fee online or by cheque. Always check the latest guidance from the tribunal on the correct amount and payment methods.
Upon completing the IAFT-5 appeal form and payment of the court fee, your next step is to submit your appeal. Submitting an appeal involves sending your completed form and supporting evidence to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).
Make sure you keep proof of your submission, such as an email receipt or postal tracking number, to ensure you can demonstrate your compliance with the 14-day deadline for submission.
3. Prepare for the Appeal Hearing
From the moment you receive your refusal letter until the day of your hearing, your primary focus should be building a strong case for your appeal. This will involve reviewing the Home Office’s reasons for refusal and the regulations they cite, gathering supporting evidence, and constructing a compelling argument against the original decision.
4. Seek Legal Representation
While it is not a requirement, seeking legal representation can significantly increase your chances of a successful appeal. An immigration lawyer or barrister can provide invaluable guidance of the immigration law, rules, and regulations surrounding the ESS and UK immigration.
They can assist you in preparing a convincing statement, navigating potential issues with your story, and also representing you during the hearing. You can call our immigration team for a consultation and see how they can assist you.
5. Attend the Appeal Hearing
This is a formal procedure where you, or your barrister or lawyer, will present your case to a judge in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).
You may be able to provide oral evidence, and the Home Office’s representative (the ‘Presenting Officer’) will also be given an opportunity to argue their case based on the original decision. This is not a process to be taken lightly, as your immigration status in the UK is at risk.
When presenting your case, it’s important to remain focused on your grounds for appeal, as stated in your appeal form. Reference the supporting evidence and maintaining a calm and respectful demeanour throughout the hearing.
If you’ve engaged a barrister or lawyer, they will help you prepare for any questions the judge or the Presenting Officer may pose. Their experience can guide you in effectively engaging with the judge and the process.
6. Receive the Appeal Decision
Once the hearing concludes, the judge will make a decision. This decision may be given on the day, but it is more common for it to be made in writing at a later date. Possible outcomes include your appeal being allowed, meaning your application decision has been overturned, or your appeal may be dismissed, upholding the Home Office’s original decision. Occasionally, the case may be ‘remitted’ or sent back to the Home Office for reconsideration.
7. Next Steps
Your path following the hearing will depend on the outcome. If your appeal is allowed, you’ll need to liaise with the Home Office to adjust your immigration status. If your appeal is dismissed, and you believe there was a legal error, you may have the option to apply for a Judicial Review or appeal to the Upper Tribunal.
It’s essential to seek legal advice if you’re considering these options as they are complex and require a thorough understanding of law and process.
Learn more about how to win an immigration appeal.
EU Settlement Scheme Administrative Review
Sometimes when an appeal is not permitted, an administrative review may be offered by the UK Home Office. An EU Settlement Scheme Administrative Review serve as an alternative route for those who believe a case-working error has occurred which led to the refusal of their application. However, it’s vital to note that new proof cannot be introduced during an administrative review. For situations where fresh supporting evidence is available, you may need to submit an application anew or opt for an appeal.
Eligibility for Administrative Review
The opportunity to apply for an immigration administrative review isn’t available for all decisions. If you were granted pre-settled status while believing you were eligible for settled status or if your application was refused altogether, you might be able to apply for an administrative review. The decision letter you receive will explicitly state whether you’re eligible for this route.
How Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors Can Help
At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we understand the reasons behind why EU Settlement Scheme applications are refused and the complications with the appeal process. Our team of experienced lawyers specialise in immigration law and has a long-standing track record of successfully helping individuals with their appeals and judicial reviews. We can assist you right from understanding the grounds for your refusal to representing your case at the tribunal.
Our team can help you understand the Home Office’s decision letter, prepare a compelling bundle of supporting evidence, and craft a persuasive argument to challenge the original decision. We aim to ease your burden and navigate this complex process on your behalf, offering a combination of expertise, commitment, and personal care that sets us apart.
Whether you need assistance understanding the reasons for your refusal, wish to challenge the decision, or require representation at your hearing, Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors is ready to help. We invite you to take the initial step towards a successful appeal.
Call us today to schedule a consultation and see how we can support you on your journey towards securing your immigration status in the UK.
FAQs about EU Settlement Scheme Appeals
Your appeal letter should then directly address the given reasons, providing any additional evidence or clarification to support your case. You should follow a structured format, starting with your personal details, the decision you’re appealing, and then a clear outline of your grounds for appeal.
Several variables, such as the particular circumstances of the case, the general quality of the evidence supplied, and the appeal’s justifications, can affect the likelihood that an EUSS family permit appeal will be successful. It is challenging to give an exact percentage because the data is not publicly available.
The EU Settlement Scheme can be contacted via the ‘EU Settlement Resolution Centre’. They offer both telephone and email support. You can reach them by calling the number (0300 123 7379) provided on the official Gov.uk website, or you can send them an email.
The length of an EUSS administrative review process can vary, but typically, you can expect a decision within 12 months from the date the review request was received. If more information is needed or in complex cases, the process may take longer.
Several things can provide help with the EU Settlement Scheme appeals. However, for the best results, particularly if your case is complex, you may wish to consider seeking the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer, like Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, who can provide expert guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.
Ask our Expert Legal Team
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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.
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Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.