A London immigration solicitor’s reflections on immigration challenges in a hostile environment banner


A London immigration solicitor’s reflections on immigration challenges in a hostile environment

  • Posted on

We recently wrote an article for the top London immigration solicitors’ Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law and the news piece features in the January 2019 edition of the magazine.

Writing the article was a cathartic experience as it got me thinking about how my working life has changed since I first qualified as a solicitor in 2010 and began to specialise in Immigration law. In 2019, I am now a senior solicitor in the Immigration and Public Law department of OTS Solicitors in London.
We always knew that if we followed our dreams of becoming Immigration lawyers no two working days would be the same, there would always be a client needing expert help and new legal challenges. What we had not anticipated back in 2010 was how the Immigration landscape would change and how the hostile environment would affect so many migrant’s lives and those of their families. I am not alone in being shocked by how far the UK has come in 10 short years with many of the best London immigration solicitors commenting on the change in approach to UK immigration law and enforcement.
Back in 2010, like many of the top London immigration solicitors, I was conscious that only about 50% of appeal cases succeeded. Now the figure is a lot lower and just as importantly Immigration laws, rules and regulations have cut down the routes for appealing a UK Visas and Immigration decision. Does that make me regret my career choice as a London Immigration solicitor? Not at all! Like many of the best London immigration solicitors, I think that the hostile environment UK Immigration policy only increased the need for migrants to be able to access specialist legal advice on Immigration law to challenge decisions made by UK Visas and Immigration.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
In what can feel like an increasing hostile environment for migrants, it is important that you get the best London immigration solicitors advice so that Immigration applications and challenges stand the best chance of success. In the event of a rejection or refusal, it is vital that you have expert administrative review, tribunal or court representation.
OTS Solicitors specialise in all aspects of personal and business immigration law and I have particular expertise in:
Asylum and humanitarian protection claims;
• Applications for Administrative Review;
• EU Brexit Immigration matters including Family Permit, Zambrano, Surrinder Singh, Residence Card and permanent residence applications;
• Points based system visa applications including Tier 1 entrepreneur , Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas, Investor Visas; Tier 2 (General) visas; Tier 4 visas; and Tier 5 visas
• Preparation of judicial review applications;
• Certification challenges including Asylum and Human Rights claims where no appeal right has been given;
• Challenges to refusal of entry clearance and visit visas and Indefinite Leave to Remain ;
• Challenges to unlawful detention and to the Detained Fast Track procedures;
• Applications for review in the event of refusal to grant British Citizenship;
• Detention and bail applications;
• Deportation cases;
• Representation at appeals at the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunals.
Please call me on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to me or to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help you.
Immigration law and rights of appeal
Not many of the best London immigration solicitors would have thought that the UK would have reduced appeal routes from 17 to 4 in four tumultuous years of changes to Immigration law and the creation of the hostile environment. However, that is what happened after the implementation of the Immigration Act 2014.
Not only have the routes to appeal Immigration decisions in some classes of Immigration applications been drastically reduced but access to tribunals and courts has also been restricted. This is because of the introduction of the right to an administrative review in some Immigration applications, such as an application under the points based system. To the top London immigration solicitors changing the appeal routes for some migrants from an independent tribunal to administrative review by a Home Office caseworker just did not sit squarely with the concept of fairness and independent review.
Immigration law and judicial review
Frustratingly for a London Immigration solicitor, if a Home Office caseworker carries out an administrative review and rejects the application, normally the only route to appeal the caseworker’s review decision is to apply to court for a judicial review.
Most migrants assume that a judicial review is like an appeal against an Immigration decision made by the Home Office, either after a decision by a caseworker or after an administrative review carried out by a different Home Office caseworker. It is not.
It is far harder to bring a judicial review challenge than it is to launch an appeal. That is because in order to apply for permission to apply for a judicial review, top London immigration solicitors have to rely on public law principles. More importantly, from the point of view of the applicant, if you win a judicial review, the judge cannot substitute his or her own decision and grant the requested Immigration status. Instead, the Immigration matter has to go back to the Home Office.
The rules and procedures for judicial review are so complex and prescriptive that at OTS Solicitors we have a specialist team of Immigration solicitors whose job it is to challenge Home Office caseworker decisions by judicial review or alternative challenge, where available.
Immigration law and Human Rights claims
Many migrants think that it is possible to put forward Human Rights claims at any stage of the Immigration application and appeal process. top London immigration solicitors caution against doing this as in the case of Nirula, a points based system migrant only put forward a Human Rights claim after his initial points based system appeal failed. It was held the Human Rights claim could not be made after the removal decision had been taken.
The Home Office were taking the view that an applicant could not put forward an Immigration rules claim for a review of the refusal of an Immigration application at the same time as submitting Human Rights representations. In the recent long fought cases of Ahsan and Khan, Human Rights grounds were put forward at the same time as the case that the applicants met the Immigration rules. The tactical advantage of this approach is that the applicants would have a right of appeal, subject to certification, and that can mean the difference between the success and failure of an Immigration application.
What the hostile environment did bring home to top London immigration solicitors was the need to rise to the challenge of migrant’s facing reduced routes of appeal against Home Office caseworker decisions and the need to develop new ways to challenge Home Office caseworker decisions, including the use and timing of Human Rights claims. The other benefit of working through the Home Office hostile environment policy I suspect is a keenness amongst top London immigration solicitors to rise to the challenge of helping EU migrants post Brexit to navigate the complex rules of the proposed new Immigration system.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
OTS Solicitors are specialist in Immigration law matters. The firm is recommended for Immigration law in the Legal 500. OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in Immigration law.
As experts in Immigration law, we can answer all your Immigration concerns and help you if you need to challenge a Home Office decision. For advice on any aspect of Immigration law please call me on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.

    Get in touch

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.