General Grounds for refusal under the immigration rules!

Refusal on General Grounds under Immigration Rules and Appendix VApparently, 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.

How the evidence is checked?

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:

  1. An applicant’s adverse behaviour relating to deception, false representation, fraud, forgery, nondisclosure of material facts or failure to cooperate.
  2. 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.
  3. An adverse immigration history relates to overstaying, breaching conditions, illegal entrant, using deception in an application
  4. 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.

Mandatory General Grounds for Refusal of Entry Clearance Applications under Immigration Rules
320(1)Entry is sought for a purpose not covered in the Rules
320(2)(a)Subject to a deportation order
320(2)(b)Sentenced to imprisonment for at least four years
320(2)(c)The applicant has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of at least 12 months but less than four years unless a period of 10 years has passed since the end of the sentence
320(2)(d)The applicant has been convicted of an offence for which they have been to a period of imprisonment of less than 12 months unless a period of five years has passed since the end of the sentence
320(3)Failure to produce a valid passport or travel document
320(6)Exclusion conducive to the public good – Secretary of State’s personal direction
320(7)Refusal for medical reasons – confirmed by a medical inspector
320(7A)False representation, false documents and/or non-disclosure of material facts Failure to attend an interview (for details refer Deception Ban UK under paragraph 320(7A): Can I Apply Again?)
320(7B)Previously breached the UK’s Immigration Rules (subject to A320)
320(7D)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.

Discretionary General Grounds for Refusal of Entry Clearance Applications under Immigration Rules
320(8)Failure to produce the information required by the Immigration Officer
320(8A)Failure to supply information, documents, copy documents or medical certificate
320(10)Passport of an authority not recognised by Her Majesty’s Government or other unacceptable documents
320(11)Contrived in a significant way to frustrate the rules
320(13)Lack of ability to return (or unacceptable elsewhere after a stay in the UK)
320(14)Refusal of the sponsor to give an undertaking in respect of support and accommodation
320(16)Child under 18 – no written consent provided by the parent(s) or guardian(s)
320(17)Refusal to submit to a medical examination
320 (18A)A person convicted of, or admitted to an offence and received a non-custodial sentence or out of court disposal
320(18B)(a)Undesirable for an applicant to enter the UK because of their offending causing serious harm
320(18B)(b)Undesirable for an applicant to enter the UK because they are a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law.
320(19)Exclusion conducive to the public good – Immigration Officer’s discretion
320(20)Failure to provide biometric data
320(22)Failure to pay an outstanding charge to the National Health Service (NHS)
320(23)Failure to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office

Leave to Remain: General Grounds for Refusal

Broadly speaking, the 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, criminal conviction, non-custodial or out of court criminal record and exclusion from the Refugee Convention or from humanitarian protection.

Mandatory General Grounds for Refusal of Leave to Remain Applications under Immigration Rules
322(1)Leave to enter or remain is sought for a purpose not covered by the rules
322(1A)Deception used in the current application
322(1B)The applicant is subject to a deportation order
322(1C)(i)Applying for ILR and have a criminal conviction for which they have been sentenced for at least four years
322(1C)(ii)Applying for ILR and have a criminal conviction for which they have been sentenced for at least 12 months but less than 4 years in the last 15 years
322(1C)(iii)Applying for ILR and have been sentenced for a period of less than 12 months in the last 7 years
322(1C)(iv)Applying for ILR and have received a non-custodial sentence or other out of court disposal recorded on their criminal record in the last 24 months before the date on which the application is decided
322(1E)Excluded from the Refugee Convention or from humanitarian protection
320 (18A)A person convicted of, or admitted to an offence and received a non-custodial sentence or out of court disposal
320(18B)(a)Undesirable for an applicant to enter the UK because of their offending causing serious harm
320(18B)(b)Undesirable for an applicant to enter the UK because they are a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law.
320(19)Exclusion conducive to the public good – Immigration Officer’s discretion
320(20)Failure to provide biometric data
320(22)Failure to pay an outstanding charge to the National Health Service (NHS)
320(23)Failure to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office

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 restricted ability of the applicant to return.

And also a failure tocomply 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.

Discretionary General Grounds for Refusal of Leave to Remain Applications under Immigration Rules
322(2)Deception used in a previous application
322(2A)Deception used in the application for a document to prove the right to reside
322(3)Failure to comply with any conditions to stay in the UK
322(4)Failure to maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependents without recourse to public funds. This paragraph is no longer in use. Accordingly, an application is refused under the relevant category of the rules and paragraph 322(3).
322(5)The undesirability of permitting a person to remain in the UK or the person represents a threat to national security
322(5A)(a)Undesirable for an applicant to remain in the UK because of their offending causing serious harm
322(5A)(b)Undesirable for an applicant to remain in the UK because they are a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law.
322(6)Refusal by the sponsor to give an undertaking
322(7)Failure to honour any declaration or undertaking
322(8)Restricted ability to return
322(9)Failure to produce information, documents or other evidence within a reasonable time
322(10)Failure to attend for interview
322(11)Failure in the case of a child under 18 to obtain parental consent
322(12)Failure to pay an outstanding charge to the National Health Service (NHS)
322(13)Failure to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office

Appendix FM General Grounds for Refusal

Paragraph A320 states an applicant cannot be refused under paragraph 320(7B) if they apply for entry clearance, leave to enter and/or remain as a family member under Appendix FM.

However, in terms of Paragraph S-EC.3.1 of Appendix FM and Paragraph 10A of Appendix Armed Forces, an entry clearance application is refused if an applicant fails to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office.

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