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Immigration appeal system tightened

Migrants from outside the EU who want to stay in the UK will be banned from using the appeals system as a cheap second chance to supply evidence they should have used in their original application, the immigration minister said today.

Damian Green said the current system had been "subject to misuse at the expense of the taxpayer".

The new rule, which comes into force on May 23, "enables case workers to make the right decision in the first instance, often avoiding unnecessary and expensive, publicly funded appeals", he told MPs.

More than two-thirds of appeals under the points-based visa system that are allowed after an appeal are due to submission of further evidence, UK Border Agency figures showed.

"Individuals already in the UK but unsuccessful in their application to extend their time here have been using the appeals system as a free second application process - putting in evidence at the appeals stage which should have formed part of their application," Mr Green said.

"It is not right that the taxpayer should foot the administrative and appeals bill where this information should have been put forward as part of the original application."

Migrants who fail to provide all the necessary information first time will still be able to make a second application, for which they will be charged.

He added: "For too long, the taxpayer has had to shoulder the burden of a system which allowed individuals to drag out their appeal by submitting new evidence at the last minute.

"The changes I am making today will put an end to this practice for good.

"This is just one of a raft of improvements we are making to the appeals system to make it more robust, efficient and cost effective."