As a firm, we undertake a reasonable amount of immigration work, however not in every area of this subject.
Immigration and nationality law cover a large field of work.
Our immigration team:
Lawrence Rodkin partner who has undertaken immigration work for over 20 years supported by Michael Abraham, who is our consultant solicitor and also our paralegal and trainee solicitors.
We also have a very close relationship with Shabana Shahab who has had her immigration practice over many years and is in negotiations to become a consultant of our firm. She is a licensed immigration practitioner who concentrates upon business-related immigration law. We refer cases to each other and consult with each other regularly about issues of immigration law, which reinforces our close relationship.
We also work extensively closely with experienced immigration counsel. Our relationship with counsel is such that we can always telephone them for initial advice about complicated issues – generally at no charge or arrange a formal telephone conference at a reasonable cost.
Accordingly, our clients are able to receive the best possible quality advice concerning difficult situations- which are not uncommon in this field of work.
This constitutes a large percentage of immigration work which we undertake and is part of our ethos as a specialist litigation firm.
Nowadays most appeals are upon the basis of human rights,
The right to appeal under the immigration rules has been curtailed.
This is in our view a serious error of justice, and it is only possible to challenge breaches of immigration rules by the Home Office – which administers the immigration agency in relation to the UK, by way of an application for judicial review.
Immigration appeals are undertaken by our firm closely in conjunction with a specialist immigration barrister, who will represent our client at the appeal hearing.
The initial stage is to file a notice of appeal with accompanying grounds of appeal. We usually charge a client for this £900 plus VAT plus the appeal fee which is currently £140. This is split 50/50 with counsel and includes a short telephone conference with counsel.
There are relatively short deadlines to appeal.
There is no time at the pre-appeal stage to consider the case in depth. If the barrister is of the view that the appeal has very limited prospects of success counsel will say so, but the normal position is to submit a protective appeal and then consider the merits afterwards- when there is time to undertake this in detail.
There is a discretion of the first-tier appeal tribunal to extend time in appropriate circumstances, but such an extension of time should not be relied upon, and a protective application will always need to be submitted within time. It is possible to submit the application by (express) post, fax or by email.
Our success rate in relation to immigration appeals is relatively high.
The first appeal is before the first-tier tribunal. There is a further appeal upon a point of law to the Upper Tribunal.
An appeal is like any other litigation appeal. There is the need to prepare witness statements as well as the preparation of an additional bundle of documents for use at the appeal hearing, and where appropriate to secure medical or other expert reports.
The cost of a first-tier appeal can be very easily over £3,000 to £4,000 plus VAT (exclusive of counsel, expert fees, and other disbursements) depending on what work is required and how many witnesses are to be called and what expert reports are required etc.
If you are the subject of an immigration decision which is refused, then please consult us without any delay. On occasions, a right of appeal exists even when the Home Office says it does not within the decision notice. Counsel will advise whether there is a basis of an appeal.
In some cases, counsel will simply advise submitting a new application in the correct format with the correct supporting evidence as opposed to appealing. However, sometimes this is not possible such as in cases where leave has come to an end, and the person will have become an overstayer. In these cases, it is essential to rely upon an appeal to succeed to avoid loss of accrued settlement rights.
Spouse and family applications
This consists of a key element of the work we undertake particularly for spouses and common-law partners- both under national and EEA Rules. The Home Office treats cohabiting partners of two years or more the same as spouses.
We have also successfully argued on appeal that a visa should be granted where there is a durable relationship of under two years.
The method of application has changed – virtually everything now is completed online.
We would normally complete the application in our office or via a telephone conference with our client, using one of our laptops. The documents in support of the application are submitted online as well.
Our costs of assisting with an application can be quite considerable, often easily more than £1,500 plus VAT. The reason for this is that the application forms are now very long, required detailed information, are very difficult to complete, and require voluminous supporting documents.
It is rare that we have a client who can complete the whole of the form themselves and what normally happens is that we usually end up completing the whole of the application form in conjunction with the client.
It is also necessary to prepare a bundle of documents in support of the application, which can be quite extensive to prove cohabitation and financial status etc. It is also not unusual for a human rights appeal to rely upon medical grounds and therefore doctors or consultants’ reports will also be required to support the application.
EEA Applications and Brexit
Brexit has resulted in complications concerning EEA Nationals,
We also assist clients who are applying for citizenship.
The Home Office is currently stringent with the good character requirements, and complications arise where there are items such as a minor criminal offence or overstaying for a period of time etc.
Applications under the Turkish Ankara Agreement
We can assist with such applications, and we also have a paralegal who speaks Turkish.
We no longer carry out work within this area.
23rd August 2019
Simons Rodkin Solicitors LLP