Just a quick one to flag up a new report by Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine into the European Casework Directorate at the Home Office. The report is generally quite positive but the emphasis of the press release, introductory text and subsequent press reports is on potentially abuse of EU rights. John Vine himself says:
I found significant attempted abuse by non-EEA nationals applying on the basis of marriage or civil partnership with a European citizen. There were sham marriages and marriages by proxy (the couple remained in the UK and both were represented by others at the overseas wedding ceremony). Most of the proxies were found not to have been valid.
Some interesting snippets for fellow lawyers:
- The backlog has apparently been cleared as of 1 April 2014.
- At the time of the sampling (1 April to 30 Sept 2013) the internal 20-day target for a decision on a registration certificates was achieved in only 32% of sampled files
- For the same period 39% of residence cards for non-EEA nationals had a decision made after the legal deadline of six months from the application date
- The application forms were found to be insufficiently clear on the evidential requirements for applicants. As a result, some applications were refused for supplying incomplete evidence of exercising treaty rights.
The report seems to have been delayed for publication by the Home Office until after the backlog was cleared. If you do come across any slow applications, though, don’t forget about the policy on requests for expedited decisions.
There is also a new report on the Glasgow Public Enquiry Office which was delayed from December 2013 and which is highly critical of management there.