Impact of the coronavirus on Immigration Tribunals
One other important impact of the coronavirus is on the running of Immigration Tribunals. Indeed, to challenge a Home Office’s decision refusing a visa or British citizenship, the person concerned (who is called the ‘appellant’) must apply to the Immigration Tribunal (First-tier Tribunal) for permission to appeal the Home Office’s decision.
When and if the permission to appeal is granted, the appellant can choose to have a hearing. This is advisable as oral evidence will serve the appellant’s credibility in their arguments. The hearing will be scheduled approximately 6 months later in general.
A hearing for an immigration case is the gathering of the judge, the Tribunal clerk, the appellant, their representatives and Counsel (if any), their witnesses and the Home Office’s representatives. The hearing is also open to the public in most cases.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, it is now strongly advised to avoid any unnecessary gathering of people. Therefore, the Immigration Tribunals have to adapt and are now putting in place new directions to safeguard public health.
Firstly, the President of the First-tier Tribunal for immigration and asylum cases has directed that all hearings up 30th April 2020 will be converted to Case Management Hearings via telephone or Skype which will take place on the original hearing date in a time slot to be allocated.
Furthermore, judges will favourite determinations on the papers without a hearing. Thus, to avoid hearings as much as possible, especially for cases where a positive outcome for the appellant is highly likely, the decision can be decided on papers with the parties’ consent. If the Tribunal considers that it could decide the case without a hearing, it will provide a provisional decision to the parties. The parties can then give consent to this decision on papers or request a hearing.
Additionally, if a hearing is deemed to be necessary or the parties insisted to have one, a judge can decide to conduct it through telephone or video hearings. The judge, in determining the suitability of video/audio hearings, will consider issues such as the nature of the matters at stake, any problems that technology may present for the participants and around public access to the hearing.
Moreover, the use of technology is likely to cause issues for appellants with limited or no access to the Internet and for vulnerable appellants not familiar with technology. Additionally, technology bugs are likely to happen and delay the process.
Lastly, some hearings are likely to be postponed, which can be stressful for appellants, especially those in vulnerable situations. If you wish to appeal a Home Office’s refusal decision, please contact us. You can also find further information on how to appeal via the link below:
Should you have any questions about appealing a Home Office’s decision, please do not hesitate to contact our professional team of Immigration Solicitors and Lawyers at Barar and Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 020 7487 8370. You can access more information about us via https://bararassociates.com/.