No appeal for UK family visitor visa refusal

London: Indian and other non-EU citizens will not be able to appeal against refusal to grant them a family visitor visa from 2014 under new rules announced by the British Home Office. The removal of the right to appeal against the visa refusal in courts is intended to save tens of millions of pounds and free up tribunals to deal with more serious cases, official sources here said.

The new restriction has been included in the Crime and Courts Bill, which was published on Friday. It is expected to come into effect from 2014 after parliamentary approval and Royal Assent. Immigration Minister Damian Green has announced that in future the vast majority of failed visa applicants will have to re-apply, rather than launching a lengthy, taxpayer- subsidised appeal.

Green said, "We are not stopping anybody visiting family in the UK; if an applicant meets the rules they will be granted a visa. However, it is grossly unfair that UK taxpayers have had to foot the huge bill for foreign nationals who, in many cases, have simply failed to provide the correct evidence to support their application".

A Home Office release said the number of appeals against family visitor visa refusal had soared since 2000, when full appeal rights were re-introduced for family visit visas. It was expected that there would be a maximum of 20,000 appeals per year but by 2010-11, the number had risen to almost 50,000, they said, adding that the cost of processing these appeals is estimated at 29 million pounds per year.

The release said: "We are also removing the full appeal right because it is out-of-step with every other category of visit visa, such as the business or tourist visa, none of which attract a full right of appeal". Refused applicants will still be able to appeal on limited grounds of human rights or race discrimination, it added.