Apparently, paragraphs 320 to 322 of the Immigration Rules explain the general grounds for refusal for entry clearance and leave to remain applications. Perhaps, an applicant’s background, character, behaviour, conduct or associations lead to a refusal on general grounds. Therefore, the best strategy for mitigating or avoiding a refusal on general grounds is to maintain a clean immigration history. And also not to advertently indulge in any immigration offence, which may lead to a refusal on general grounds.
The extent and scope of General Grounds for Refusal
Apparently, every entry clearance and leave to remain application is considered under the general grounds for refusal. And also for the specific grounds for refusal due to the inability of an applicant to meet the eligibility requirements of a particular visa category. Therefore, the extent and scope of general grounds are quite broad and sweeping. For instance, if an applicant applies for Tier-1 Entrepreneur visa then he/she not only needs to fulfil the specific requirements under Paragraphs 245D to 245DF of the Immigration Rules but the application also needs to comply with Paragraphs 320-22 relating to the refusal on general grounds.
Checking of the evidence
Usually, it is the responsibility of the decision-maker to check the evidence before refusing an application on general grounds. Accordingly, the decision-maker may undertake standard checks such as Home Office security checks, other security checks, Police National Computer (PNC), internal Home Office systems, information on the application form etc.
Moreover, if deemed appropriate for considering an application, the decision may gather further information through interviews, local sources of information, medical examinations etc.
The statutory duty to children under section 55
Furthermore, under Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, it is a statutory duty to children to carefully consider the application before applying the instructions under UK immigration rules relating to children or people accompanying with children.
When it becomes mandatory to grant an entry clearance?
If a decision-maker only considers an application under paragraph 320 and an appeal is allowed, then the application cannot be reconsidered for the specific category. Therefore, if an appeal overturns an ECO refusal decision then it is mandatory to give entry clearance to an applicant.
Entry clearance outside the immigration rules
Moreover, the ECO must consider if there are any human rights reasons, such as the right to family life under article 8 or any exceptional, compelling circumstances which could justify giving entry clearance. If so then the case is referred to the casework unit (RCU) through the Home Office (HO) referrals process. RCU will decide whether to give entry clearance outside of the rules.
Failure to Attend an Interview and Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is on the applicant to show he/she has a good reason for failing to attend the interview. It will only be in rare cases that the applicant has a good reason not to attend. An example of a good reason may be where the applicant can provide satisfactory medical evidence to show they were too ill to attend, and is willing to attend an interview on another date as soon as they have recovered.
General Grounds for Refusal and Suitability Requirements
Perhaps, the general grounds for refusal and suitability requirements for visitors are quite similar. However, visitor visa applications are not refused on general grounds, but due to the inability of an applicant to meet the suitability requirements of Part V3 of Appendix V of Immigration Rules.
Mandatory and Discretionary General Grounds for Refusal
Paragraphs 320 to 322 explain the circumstances leading to a refusal on mandatory and discretionary grounds. Apparently, if a mandatory general ground is applicable then decision-maker has no choice but to refuse the application. Perhaps, a refusal on general grounds could be due to:
- An applicant’s adverse behaviour relating to deception, false representation, fraud, forgery, nondisclosure of material facts or failure to cooperate.
- Nonconduciveness, adverse character, conduct or associations relating to criminal history, deportation order, travel ban, exclusion, non-conducive to the public good, a threat to national security.
- An adverse immigration history relates to overstaying, breaching conditions, illegal entrant, using deception in an application
- Adverse health of an applicant
Entry Clearance: General Grounds for Refusal
An entry clearance application can be refused on general grounds if it fails under paragraphs 320(1) to 320(23) of Immigration Rules.
Mandatory General Grounds for Refusal: Entry Clearance
Broadly speaking, the paragraphs 320(1) to 320 (7B) cover mandatory general grounds for refusals relating to entry for a purpose not covered in the immigration rules, deportation orders, imprisonment, conviction of an offence, invalid passport, exclusion of the applicant is conducive to the public good, false representation, fraud and forgery, non-disclosure of material facts, previous breach of the UK immigration rules and failure to attend an interview.
If the applicant was convicted of an offence and sentenced to at least 4 years then entry clearance or leave to enter application is refused under paragraph 320(2)(b) and S-EC1.4(a) in Appendix FM and V 3.4(a) of Appendix V of the Immigration Rules. Moreover, there is no time limit on how long the Home Office will take into account a conviction in this category. However, if there are any compelling factors, which amount to an exceptional reason why entry clearance should be granted, may be considered.
Discretionary General Grounds for Refusal: Entry Clearance
Moreover, paragraphs 322(2) to 322 (13) cover discretionary general grounds for entry clearance refusals relating to passport of an authority not recognised by Her Majesty’s Government or other unacceptable documents, contrived in a significant way to frustrate the rules, lack of ability to return (or unacceptable elsewhere after a stay in the UK), a threat to national security, refusal by the sponsor to give an undertaking, child under 18 – no written consent provided by the parent(s) or guardian(s), refusal to submit to a medical examination, a non-custodial sentence or out of court disposal, a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law, offending causing serious harm and exclusion of the applicant is conducive to the public good in the UK.
And also a failure to: produce the information required by the Immigration Officer, supply information, documents, biometric data, pay an outstanding charge to the National Health Service (NHS) and pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office.
Leave to Remain: General Grounds for Refusal
Broadly speaking, paragraphs 322(1) to 322 (1E) cover mandatory general grounds for refusals relating to leave to entry or remain for
- a purpose not covered in the immigration rules
- use of deception in the current application
- deportation orders
- a criminal conviction
- non-custodial or out of court criminal record and
- exclusion from the Refugee Convention or from humanitarian protection
Discretionary General Grounds for Refusal: Leave to Remain
Moreover, paragraphs 322(2) to 322 (13) cover discretionary general grounds for leave to remain refusals relating to:
- the use of deception in a previous application
- deception used to prove the right to reside
- a threat to national security
- offending causing serious harm
- refusal by the sponsor to give an undertaking and
- the restricted ability of the applicant to return
And also due to the failure of the applicant to: comply with any conditions of stay, maintain and accommodate without recourse to public funds, honour any declaration or undertaking, produce information, documents or other evidence within a reasonable time, attend for interview, obtain parental consent (for a child under 18 years), pay an outstanding charge to the National Health Service (NHS) and pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office.
Appendix FM General Grounds for Refusal
In terms of Paragraph A320, paragraph 320(7B) is certainly not applicable for a family member application under Appendix FM.
However, if an applicant fails to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office then the application refuses under:
- Paragraph S-EC.3.1 of Appendix FM
- Paragraph 10A of Appendix Armed Forces
- Home Office Fees 2019/20 for Applications Made in the UK
- Form FLR(IR) – Applications for Extension of Stay in the UK
- Criminal Record Certificate for UK Visa Tier 1 & 2 Applications
- UK Visa Purpose not covered in the Immigration Rules
- UK Visa USA 2019: applications, processing times and refusal rate
- Appeal Against Entry Clearance Refusal on IAFT 6 Form online
- UK Entrepreneur Visa Statistics 2008-18: Refusal and Success Rate
- Immigration Judicial Review procedure, decisions and success rate
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- EU Citizens Rights after Brexit: Theresa May Speech 26 June 2017