Eight out of 10 UK visa entry clearance rejections are overturned on appeal, according to figures released as a result of Freedom of Information requests to the Government.
The requests came from Sonel Mehta, who founded the BritCits campaign group for families who have been separated by the income requirement for couples to obtain spouse visas that allow the overseas-born spouse to live in the UK with their British partner.
Entry clearances are provided by British missions overseas stating that a person qualifies to enter the UK. If someone is turned down for an entry clearance stamp, they can appeal, although the right to appeal has been restricted to asylum seekers and people claiming the ‘right to family life’ since July this year.
The BritCits figures, for the period between July 2012 and June this year, show that of the 5,462,780 entry clearance applications made, 607,880 were turned down. More than half were re-checked and 292,445 applications were then approved, while 75,560 were again refused, politics.co.uk reported.
The figures will throw into doubt the validity of the decision-making system at what is the first step for couples seeking a UK visa for the overseas-born member of the partnership to obtain a spouse visa. In some cases, applications were rejected for very simple reasons such as providing a bank form which did not have the bank’s stamp on the front page.
The politics.co.uk article raises concerns that a ‘reject first’ stance is being taken as part of efforts to reduce the number of non-EU nationals being allowed to settle in the UK.