Every now and then, we see horror stories of clients who have received bad immigration advice from somebody who is not registered to advise them in the first place. We have had to try to pick up the pieces, often several years down the line, after an unregulated rogue has told a client to take a certain course of action which has had devastating questions. 

One of the major problems here is that it is very difficult to seek redress after the negligent advice has been given. Who do you complain to if you have received bad advice from somebody with no qualifications or professional regulation? You can’t complain to the SRA, BSB or Legal Ombudsman because the person isn’t a solicitor or barrister. Often the only option is a private civil claim which is a stab in the dark to say the least. People who offer immigration advice without being regulated are committing a crime, but that often won’t help you in the moment.

Who can provide immigration advice in the UK?

This is why it’s very important to know who is allowed to give immigration advice. It is only when a person is properly regulated that you can feel assured that if anything goes wrong, you can seek redress. 

When we talk about “immigration advice”, what we mean is providing specific advice to an individual in relation to their personal immigration status. In other words, if I told you what type of visa you should apply for, I would be giving you immigration advice. This is different to giving general explanations as to the state of the law, which is not “immigration advice”. 

In order to give immigration advice in the UK, you have to be one of the following:

  1. An OISC registered immigration adviser.

The OISC is the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. They regulate immigration advisers and ensure that they are fit and competent to act in their client’s best interests. 

  1. People who are members of the following professional bodies listed in the Immigration Act 1999:
    1. The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
    2. The Faculty of Advocates
    3. The Law Society of Scotland
    4. The General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland
    5. The Law Society of Northern Ireland
  1. Solicitors of barristers

This is where we come in. Here at Imperium Chambers, we have a dedicated team of fully qualified barristers who are able to provide you with Immigration advice. We have a team of specialised immigration barristers who have been working in their field for many years. We are constantly expanding and hope to be welcoming more barristers soon. You can be sure that if you instruct us to give you legal advice that you will be in the best of hands.

Contact us

Introduction to Remote Hearings

With the current Covid-19 pandemic situation, the move to remote working for the courts has drastically increased and some have suggested that this approach would lead to cost saving and increased productivity. Although some debate that the continuation of remote hearings would arguably lead to an unfair justice system. There are certainly pros and cons on both sides but the question that remains to be answered is whether the limitations presented in these hearings lead to an unfair justice system: simply put, it does. 

A Pilot Practice Direction of 19 March 2020 states that hearings should be conducted remotely “where it is reasonably practicable and in accordance with the overriding objective” to do so. Some have raised concerns that if remote hearings became a common practice within the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, it could carry a number of obstacles to deliver a fair and effective justice system.

Remote Hearings

Problems with remote hearings

Technical issues

Technical glitches are a worrying factor: poor connectivity or poor visual and/or quality audio can often lead to an adjournment. The lack of technical support available to each party at the hearing means they have to resolve the matter themselves. Notwithstanding the fact that an individual who is vulnerable, detained or lacks knowledge of computing skills will be left in a very difficult position. This can arguably have serious implications for an individual who is trying to expediate their immigration matters due to exceptional circumstances. It could result in an adjournment, or worst case scenario, the hearing could proceed without the individual being present.

Loss of attachment

Previous research has illustrated that remote hearings often lead to detachments and misinterpretation: for example, Eagly in his article, ‘Remote Adjudication in Immigration’, argues that remote hearings tend to lead to disengagement amongst individuals. Eagly’s study finds that those in a remote hearing were less likely to retain counsel, apply to remain lawfully or seek immigration benefit known as voluntary departure. 

Whilst Gibbs in her article, ‘Defendants on video – conveyor belt justice or a revolution in access?’, argues that remote hearings often lead to breakdown in relationship between the client and lawyer. This can have significant implications and the lack of communication between both parties can also lead to the client disclosing less information which can result in the lawyer not being able to represent his or her client effectively.

Problems with remote hearings

Conclusion – do remote hearings lead to fairness?

 It is clear that remote hearings, although currently appropriate due to the Covid-19 situation, do not always lead to a fair justice system and the courts should look to revert to in person hearings as soon as possible. It is contended that there are significant flaws in remote hearings and whilst we have to live with it for the time being, the courts should continue to monitor and address the issues being raised to ensure a fair and effective justice system. 

Want to know how to apply for spouse visa UK?

If you are a British citizen or have Indefinite leave to Remain, you can apply for a visa for your spouse or partner to join you in the UK.

If granted, your spouse/partner will initially be given a 33-month visa and will be alowed to join you in the UK. They will also be given the right to work.

Spouse Visa UK Requirements 2022

How to apply for spouse visa UK

The requirements for this type of visa are simple enough in theory but will often require large volumes of evidence, supporting statements, and detailed representations to convince the Home Office that your partner is entitled to a visa. The requirements are that:

Whilst all of this seems fairly simple in theory, the quality of the evidence and representations will make all the difference. The Home Office are prone to refuse these types of applications where they don’t believe that the relationship is genuine or that you intend to live together in the UK.

When it comes to proving you meet the spouse visa uk financial requirements, you might expect that it would simply be a case of submitting payslips and/or bank statements. Unfortunately it’s not quite so simple.

Spouse Visa UK Requirements 2022

In our experience the Home Office will refuse applications where it is not extremely clear how much the sponsor earns. We’ve seen cases where they simply forget to count a month’s worth of earnings. What this means is that it is crucial that the work is done properly, and the evidence is presented in such a way that the Home Office simply can’t make a mistake. It can be even more confusing if the sponsor is self-employed; the Home Office will need to see various documents to prove your earnings – the same sorts of documents you would normally need for your tax returns.

As far as the English language requirements go, you will either have to pass an approved test, or show that you have a degree from an English-speaking university.

Here at Imperium Chambers we have many specialised Immigration barristers who have been making these sorts of applications successfully for years. We know exactly what evidence to gather in support of the applications, and can assist you with witness statements and representations.

Should anything happen to go wrong, or you have applied for a spouse visa on your own and now have a refusal, we can prepare an appeal and represent you at court.

Imperium Chambers is led by Paul Turner, who has over 22 years’ experience in immigration law. If you want to apply to bring your spouse or partner to the UK or check you meet spouse visa uk financial requirements, you will be in safe hands with us. Contact us here.

Dublin Regulation Explained

On 18 November 2013, the European Union enacted the Dublin Regulation which set out which Member State was responsible for looking at an individual’s asylum application. It applied to all Member States as well as Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The agreement would allow asylum seekers to enjoy similar levels of protection in all EU Member States.

Dublin Regulation

Criticisms of the Dublin Regulation

In truth, the Dublin agreement posed fundamental issues within the system. In a comparative study entitled ‘The Fading Promise of Europe’s Dublin System’ by Susan Fratzke[1], she examines the key criticisms of the Dublin system in failing to meet the demands of refugees and Member States.

In her report, Fratzke highlights how the system is broken and unfair. Her report highlights how the system has resulted in families being separated and people being left destitute or detained. Her report states that around 40% of applicants have been detained and in Germany half of applicants have been subject to detention. She states that access to an asylum procedure is not always guaranteed. Fratzke further highlights that another key problem with the Dublin system is the low effective transfer rates. Her report states that fewer than half of the agreed Dublin transfers are actually carried out. In 2013, only 28% resulted in actual transfers. These flaws demonstrate that the system has facilitated infringement of basic human rights and asylum seekers continue to be placed in danger.

Although the Dublin Regulation III has showcased significant changes within the system, it has arguably had little impact in addressing the fundamental flaws such as protecting the rights of asylum seekers. The problem continues to remain and will do so until the European Commission takes note of this. It needs to revise a more humane and equitable system which can address the problems of both refugees and Member States.

Get advice on immigration here


[1] Not Adding Up, ‘The Fading Promise of Europe’s Dublin System’, (March 2015) by Susan Fratzke (https://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/MPIe-Asylum-DublinReg.pdf)

A person who is deprived of their British citizenship under section 40 of the British Nationality Act 1981 (‘the Act’) has a statutory right of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal under section 40A(1). However, section 40A(2) provides that this does not apply where the Secretary of State of the Home Department (‘SSHD’) has made the deprivation decision relying on information which, in the interest of the public, it is decided should be kept secret. In many deprivation of British citizenship cases, the individual may appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (‘SIAC’) under section 2B of the SIAC Act 1997.

In Ciceri (deprivation of citizenship appeals: principles) [2021] UKUT 238 (IAC), the Appellant appealed to the Upper Tribunal under section 40A(1) against the decision to deprive him of his British citizenship on the basis of ‘fraud, false representation, or concealment of a material fact’ pursuant to section 40(3) of the Act. 

In coming to their decision to dismiss the Appellant’s appeal, the Upper Tribunal applied the recent guidance given in R (Begum) v Special Immigration Appeals Commission [2021] UKSC 7 and found delay on the part of the Appellant (which was dissimilar to the facts in Laci v SSHD [2021] EWCA Civ 769) was adverse to his appeal.

The Upper Tribunal further held, any delay in the part of the SSHD did not have the effect of diminishing the SSHD’s reliance upon the public interest; or in increasing the weight to be given to the Appellant’s case, such as, in either event, to entitle the Appellant to succeed under Article 8.

Ciceri

The principles to be applied

Following KV (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 2483, Aziz v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 1884, Hysaj (deprivation of citizenship: delay) [2020] UKUT 128 (IAC), R (Begum) v Special Immigration Appeals Commission [2021] UKSC 7 and Laci v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 769 regarding appeals under section 40A of the British Nationality Act 1981 against decisions to deprive a person of British citizenship and found:

(1) The Tribunal must first establish whether the relevant condition precedent specified in section 40(2) or (3) of the British Nationality Act 1981 exists for the exercise of the discretion whether to deprive the appellant of British citizenship. In a section 40(3) case, this requires the Tribunal to establish whether citizenship was obtained by one or more of the means specified in that subsection. In answering the condition precedent question, the Tribunal must adopt the approach set out in paragraph 71 of the judgment in Begum, which is to consider whether the Secretary of State has made findings of fact which are unsupported by any evidence or are based on a view of the evidence that could not reasonably be held.

(2) If the relevant condition precedent is established, the Tribunal must determine whether the rights of the appellant or any other relevant person under the ECHR are engaged (usually ECHR Article 8). If they are, the Tribunal must decide for itself whether depriving the appellant of British citizenship would constitute a violation of those rights, contrary to the obligation under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 not to act in a way that is incompatible with the ECHR.

(3) In so doing:

(a) the Tribunal must determine the reasonably foreseeable consequences of deprivation; but it will not be necessary or appropriate for the Tribunal (at least in the usual case) to conduct a proleptic assessment of the likelihood of the appellant being lawfully removed from the United Kingdom; and

(b) any relevant assessment of proportionality is for the Tribunal to make, on the evidence before it (which may not be the same as the evidence considered by the Secretary of State).

(4) In determining proportionality, the Tribunal must pay due regard to the inherent weight that will normally lie on the Secretary of State’s side of the scales in the Article 8 balancing exercise, given the importance of maintaining the integrity of British nationality law in the face of attempts by individuals to subvert it by fraudulent conduct.

(5) Any delay by the Secretary of State in making a decision under section 40(2) or (3) may be relevant to the question of whether that decision constitutes a disproportionate interference with Article 8, applying the judgment of Lord Bingham in EB (Kosovo) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] AC 1159. Any period during which the Secretary of State was adopting the (mistaken) stance that the grant of citizenship to the appellant was a nullity will, however, not normally be relevant in assessing the effects of delay by reference to the second and third of Lord Bingham’s points in paragraphs 13 to 16 of EB (Kosovo).

(6) If deprivation would not amount to a breach of section 6 of the 1998 Act, the Tribunal may allow the appeal only if it concludes that the Secretary of State has acted in a way in which no reasonable Secretary of State could have acted; has taken into account some irrelevant matter; has disregarded something which should have been given weight; has been guilty of some procedural impropriety; or has not complied with section 40(4) (which prevents the Secretary of State from making an order to deprive if she is satisfied that the order would make a person stateless).

(7) In reaching its conclusions under (6) above, the Tribunal must have regard to the nature of the discretionary power in section 40(2) or (3) and the Secretary of State’s responsibility for deciding whether deprivation of citizenship is conducive to the public good.

Position after Begum

The decision in Begum reinforced the fact that deprivation under section 40(2) or (3) was a discretionary decision that vested with the SSHD. It also highlighted that it is for the Tribunal to assess whether any rights under ECHR are engaged and ask themselves whether deprivation would constitute a violation of those rights.

Irrespective of whether Article rights are engaged, the Tribunal must also determine whether SSHD’s discretion under section 40(2) or (3) to deprive the individual of his or her British citizenship was exercised correctly. As Lord Reed observed in Begum, the correct approach was not to undertake a “balancing” exercise in which one set of scales would normally carry an inherent weight, but to approach it on Wednesbury principles: whether the SSHD has acted, in a way in which no reasonable SSHD could have acted.

Consequently, the Tribunal is bound to apply the same level of weight that the SSHD would have applied under section 40(2) or (3) of the Act when balancing the importance to maintaining the public interest and the Appellant’s Convention rights. 

Adopting the principles to Ciceri (deprivation of British citizenship cases)

The Appellant was an Albanian national who arrived in the United Kingdom in 1996 and claimed asylum as a Kosovan national. In 1999 he was granted refugee status and in 2003, he became a British citizen under his Kosovan identity. 

deprivation of british citizenship cases

In 2005, the Appellant returned to Albania in order to marry an Albanian citizen, who subsequently applied for entry clearance to join the appellant in the United Kingdom, who was still known by his false name. In 2007, the Appellant’s wife was granted indefinite leave to remain. In order to support his wife’s application, the Appellant supplied his Albanian birth certificate, marriage certificate and Albanian family certificate, showing that he was an Albanian national. 

In 2008, the Appellant changed his name by deed poll to his real name and a passport was re-issued. In 2008, the Appellant also sponsored his mother’s entry clearance which showed by way of evidence that the Appellant was born in Durres, Albania thereby alerting the SSHD. Subsequently in 2009, the Appellant’s wife became a British citizen and borne a son, who was also a British citizen. 

In 2013, the SSHD issued a nullity decision on the basis the Appellant had falsified elements of his identity when applying for British citizenship. Following the case of Hysaj and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKSC 82; [2018] Imm Ar 699, the Respondent  advised the Appellant that they were considering depriving him of his British citizenship instead. 

deprivation of citizenship

In response, the Appellant advanced the fact the SSHD had relied on their nullity decision in 2013, and therefore had failed to act on the Appellant’s fraud for almost eight years after first being put on notice of it in 2005, as a result of the entry clearance application of the Appellant’s wife. The Appellant submitted this delay reduced the public interest in deprivation (as held in EB (Kosovo)) and when considering the decision to deprive, disproportionately interfered with his Article 8’s rights (as held in Laci).

The Tribunal rejected the Appellant’s position and found the delay caused by the SSHD’s mistaken approach to nullity was not relevant in the proportionality assessment and in balancing the ‘integrity of the British nationality law in the face of attempts by individuals to subvert it by fraudulent conduct’ (paragraph 18 in Ciceri), there was no increasing weight to be given to the Appellant’s case that would entitle him to succeed under Article 8. Accordingly, the tribunal dismissed the appeal and found the First Tier Tribunal’s decision contained no error in law. 

Things to consider after Ciceri

Despite the Upper Tribunal’s attempt to simplify the principles in deprivation proceedings, it is clear from the decision in Ciceri that in adopting the same approach to cases concerning national security to those concerning fraud, the tribunal has allowed themselves to have a very limited role, save for when human rights are involved. 

In adopting a narrow interpretation of the principles following Begum, the Tribunal will inevitably make it more difficult for individuals to win on appeal under section 40A(1). This restrictive approach is problematic and allows for a potential rise in individuals being rendered ‘stateless’, which is inconsistent with Convention rights and international law on human rights.  

Lastly, despite the First Tier Tribunal and the SIAC being subject to similar provisions (section 40A of the Act and section 2B of the SIAC Act 1997 and), it does not mean the Tribunal was correct in adopting the same principles to their legal decision-making in an appeal pursuant to section 40(3). To suggest there is no distinction between these provisions is incorrect, and is likely to cause procedural uncertainty and have negative implications on individuals’ deprivation of citizenship appeals.

Imperium Chambers are delighted to announce that Kim Pullinger and Stefanie Alvarez have been recruited to undertake their pupillages at Imperium Chambers in June 2022

We are particularly happy to be able to offer two pupillages this year after recruitment had to be suspended during the original lockdown in 2020. We have continued to expand in recent years and are happy to be able to provide immigration law jobs to promising young advocates. 

Kim currently works at Imperium as a paralegal and will be supervised by our head of chambers, Paul Turner. Stefanie is an advocate at LPC law and will be supervised by our deputy head of chambers, Jay Gajjar. 

We wish Kim and Stefanie all the best.  

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