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English language ability and financial independence no help in human rights appeals

English language ability and financial independence no help in human rights appeals

An old case, this, but it’s only just appeared on Bailii: SC (Bangladesh) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 3069. The issue was whether the public interest considerations in sections 117B(2) and (3) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (as amended) can be treated as positive factors.

Put another way: when someone without a visa is applying to stay in the UK because of family or personal ties, judges are told by law to hold it against them if they don’t speak English and aren’t financially independent. For a while there was an argument about whether that test was only negative: if a person has perfect English and loads of money, did that actively count in their favour?

That was settled by the Supreme Court in Rhuppiah [2018] UKSC 58. Where a person is financially independent and can speak English, these do not become presumptions in their favour — they just don’t have marks deducted, as it were.

In SC (Bangladesh), the Court of Appeal basically just confirms this: “it is now established that section[s] 117B(2) and (3) do not require the Tribunal to take into account fluency in English and financial independence as factors in [an] Article 8 appellant’s favour”.

CJ McKinney

CJ is Free Movement's deputy editor. He's here to make sure that the website is on top of everything that happens in the world of immigration law, whether by writing articles, commissioning them out or considering submissions. When not writing about immigration law, CJ covers wider legal affairs at the website Legal Cheek and on Twitter: follow him @mckinneytweets.

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