Recently we have started to see a worrying trend in withdrawals of the UKBA decision days or minutes prior to the hearing. We have been told that the Home Office Presenting Officer’s unit that represents the UK Border Agency at appeals has a new policy that, where they consider the refusal to be indefensible, they withdraw the decision and refer the matter back to the British Embassy or UK Border Agency to reconsider the decision. However, they can only make recommendations. They cannot compel the British Embassy or UK Border Agency to approve the application or dictate a timeframe within which they must make a decision.
So, on the one hand, this can be viewed as welcome news but the actual effect can still be very damaging on appellants.
In many cases the appellants have waited months to have their day in court. To find out shortly before the hearing that the matter will now go back to the embassy or UK Border Agency to reconsider the matter, with no assurance that they will approve it or that the reconsideration will take place within any set time frame, is unfair to say the least. The embassy or UK Border Agency are not obliged to follow the Home Office Presenting Officer’s requests and if they refuse again a whole new appeal process begins, causing further delays.
A system of withdrawing flawed refusals is welcome but some regulation must be imposed to ensure that the system works quickly and fairly and is not an abuse of process.