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Challenging UKVI decisions

This content applies to England

Challenging decisions of UKVI (formerly UK Border Agency) by way of appeal and judicial review.

Asylum seekers have limited rights of appeal against decisions of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). An asylum seeker may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) if, after s/he has made an application for asylum support, UKVI decides that s/he is not entitled to any support at all, or if UKVI decides to stop providing asylum support (by withdrawal or suspension). In relation to any other decision relating to asylum support, the only other means of challenging the decision will be by judicial review.

Appeals

An asylum applicant whose claim for asylum support has been rejected, or where s/he was receiving support but this has been discontinued, may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). There are very short deadlines, but the these may be extended if it is in the interests of justice to do so. A voluntary organisation, Asylum Support Appeals Project, gives second tier advice to agencies about appeals. The rules governing the appeals procedure only apply to appeals against decisions of UKVI and not, for instance, local authority decisions, which are only challengeable by way of judicial review.[1]

The Tribunal can only hear appeals relating to refusal or withdrawal of support. If the asylum seeker has a complaint against the level, adequacy or type of support that s/he has been offered, s/he can only challenge this by applying for judicial review. Hearings take place in a number of locations around the UK.

More information on how to appeal is available from Gov.uk and the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chambers).

Possible outcomes of the appeal

On the basis of the evidence presented by the parties, the Tribunal may decide to:

  • dismiss the asylum applicant's appeal
  • allow the appeal and subsequently grant asylum support[2]
  • allow only part of the appeal, for instance by stating that the applicant is entitled only to financial support, but not accommodation, or
  • remit the appeal to UKVI for reconsideration of the decision.

Once an appeal is dismissed, UKVI may refuse to consider another application for asylum support, unless her/his circumstances have changed materially since the last application.[3] Some decisions of the First-tier Tribunal may be appealed to the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). 

Travel expenses

UKVI should pay the travel expenses of the asylum applicant.[4]

Judicial review

An asylum applicant who disagrees with the Adjudicator's decision may be able to challenge it by applying for judicial review. This is the method that s/he will also have to use if s/he wants to challenge the level, type, or adequacy of support that has been provided by UKVI. Where UKVI has rejected an applicant who is clearly eligible for asylum support, this is likely to be reversed on application for judicial review. It may be possible in this situation to use arguments based on the Human Rights Act 1998 to interpret the exercise of the public body's discretion.

Section 4 support

If a person's claim for asylum has been refused, and s/he is no longer an asylum seeker for support purposes and destitute, s/he may still be able to obtain section 4 accommodation and subsistence from UKVI.[5]

For more information see the page Negative asylum decision.

[1] Asylum Support (Appeals) Procedure Rules 2000 SI 2000/541.

[2] s.103(3) Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

[3] s.103(6) Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

[4] Policy Bulletin 28.

[5] s.4 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

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