The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has reviewed the Administrative Review process introduced following the 2014 Immigration Act. A copy of his report can be found here.
The ICIBI has concluded that:
‘overall there was significant room for improvement in respect of the effectiveness of administrative review in identifying and correcting case working errors, and in communicating decisions to applicants.’
In relation to in-country Administrative Reviews, carried out by Administrative Officers (AO) or Executive Officers (EO) in more complex cases, the inspector found that:
‘the bulk of the AOs redeployed into the AR Team were inexperienced in immigration casework with permanent staff in the minority, that quality assurance was ineffective, and that there was no evidence of cases being identified as complex and passed to EO caseworkers to review.’
The ICIBI was also particularly concerned that those dealing with Administrative Reviews overseas and at the border were not ‘truly separate and independent.’
In order to retain a sponsor licence, Tier 4 sponsors must pass an annual Basic Compliance Assessment (BCA). If a sponsor has a visa refusal rate of 10% or more, the Home Office may suspend and revoke the sponsor licence. In light of the ICIBI’s conclusions as to the weaknesses of the Administrative Review system, it is essential that sponsors that are nearing the 10% refusal rate in particular carefully scrutinise the outcome of Administrative Reviews. If a decision appears to be flawed, action should be taken to try and ensure that this does not have a negative effect on the BCA assessment.
We represent universities and other sponsors that face UKVI enforcement action and we have been successful in persuading UKVI to remove refusals from the visa refusal rate in cases where the decision was fundamentally flawed.
For further advice, please contact us.