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E visas note

By codeface

This note is as Aide Memoire for those present in the UK under the EUSS Scheme and as forewarning for all Migrants whose Biometric Residence Permits are due to expire on the 31st December 2024.

EU nationals who benefit from the EUSS scheme have their Immigration Status confirmed electronically via using the " view and prove service" for their UKVI Account.

It is those details on the UKVI account which should match the identity an individual produces to demonstrate their right to be present in the United Kingdom and to access those social advantages necessary for day to day life.

Airlines and Ferry companies have been instructed by the Home Office to refuse boarding to those who cannot prove their right to enter the United Kingdom.

As the process of accessing the UKVI Account requires two step authentication , the documents that must be kept up to date relate to identity and communication. The Home Office state that a person should update their UKVI account where a person has changed their : -

mobile phone number
email address
identity document, such as passport or national identity card
home address
postal address

These six innocuous details are unlikely in themselves to stress an individual. Combined with all the other mundane tasks that technology has shackled us to do , they may be overlooked, because routine administration is never compelling until it fails.

The shift from physical residence documents to electronic confirmation, comes with a de facto lurch in an individual's obligations to the Home Office. As a matter of law, an individual had to , and still has to demonstrate that they meet the terms of the Immigration Rules at the date of decision on any application. Thereafter, so long as they continued to follow the terms and conditions of stay, they were permitted a certain degree of privacy.

From hereon, an individual has an ongoing duty to maintain the Secretary of State's administrative records long after settlement has been granted.

Best practice is to forego this offer , by making an application for British Citizenship as soon as you become eligible.

The matter is more serious for those whose applications were considered as dependents and who are now travelling in their own right. They may not have access to the two step verification process required should they need to amend their details just prior to boarding , because contact details used were not their own.

Replacement of Biometric Residence Cards 

Existing Biometric Residence Cards will expire on the 31st December 2024.

The e visa process applied to those under the EUSS scheme will be extended to the remainder of the migrant population over the intervening months. Regarding the obligations of airlines, the Home Office have stated that “ they are taking steps to allow securely and automatically access the immigration status of passengers travelling on their services when they present their passport which is linked to their UKVI account.”

Save for those accounts created for the EUSS, few UKVI Account’s exist and until an individual is contacted by the Home Office, he or she cannot create one.

The predicament the Home Office is placing on all those without valid UKVI Accounts , but continuing Leave to Remain is unlawful.

On the 7th June in the case of Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL) & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2024] EWHC 1374 (Admin), the High Court ruled that the Home Secretary acted unlawfully by failing to provide people on leave under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971(3C leave) with documentary proof of their immigration status. This principle should extend to those whose permission is defined beyond the limit of validity of their Biometric Residence Documents.

A reassurance, perhaps, if you are being refused boarding for reasons of administrative anomaly. Resolving the confrontation and avoiding the confrontation are distinct. How you will be treated by the carriers when attempting to return to the United Kingdom will depend on a Carrier’s understanding of where their liability lies, as it lies both to the Home Office and to you the passenger.

You may wish to identify an airline’s policy where you are returning to the United Kingdom after the expiry of your Biometric Residence Card , but where your permission to remain is extant. You may prefer to arrange your return to the United Kingdom before the 31st December, or defer travel until your account has been created. You may decide to travel, in the reasonable expectation that your rights will be respected.

How you accommodate this uncertainty is your judgement. This article signals dubious sails on the horizon.

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