Family Permits: Delayed Decisions and the Poor Quality of Decision-Making

One of the numerous problems with the EU Settlement Scheme for Europeans in the UK is the delay in deciding applications for EUSS Family Permits and the typically poor decision making regarding these applications.

Let us start by explaining what EUSS Family Permits are. In a nutshell, EUSS Family Permits are visas which are applied for from outside of the UK by family members of Europeans who want to come and live here. For example, if a European who is registered under the EU Settlement Scheme wants her children, parents or partner to come and live in the UK, they will have to apply for a visa from outside of the UK in order to come.

Regarding the first problem I mentioned, the average time it takes for the Home Office to decide an EUSS Family Permit application is 7 months. This is the time that parents and children or partners spend separated, and it is a delay that generates serious problems. These range from the high cost of supporting a family outside the UK to the emotional problems caused by the separation itself such as anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, etc. The Home Office has stated that this delay is due to the high volume of applications received during 2021, the complexity of some of the cases and the restrictions put in place to protect staff at risk of Covid-19 which has reduced the number of staff present in the office to process applications. Whilst the Home Office has offered this explanation, it has not presented any evidence to prove it.

The second problem I identify with Family Permit applications is the poor quality of decision making. Not only does a person have to wait 7 months or more for their application to be decided, but also when the decision is issued, it is very common to find errors, omissions by not taking into account all the evidential documents submitted with the application, or simply a lack of understanding of the issue and knowledge of the law on the part of the person who decided the application. This leads to many applications for Family Permits being incorrectly rejected. This is obviously frustrating for applicants, creates even more anxiety, distress and uncertainty, and means those applying must choose between reapplying for a Family Permit or appealing the decision.

Taking into account the months and months it takes to resolve applications as well as the lack of quality in the decision making, in my opinion it is better to appeal the decision so that the case is studied and decided by a Judge who can be expected to be both impartial and knowledgeable of the law. This option is preferable to putting your case in the hands of the same inefficient and tardy body that has already rejected your application.

Manuel Padilla Behar is a solicitor in England specialising in immigration law and is the owner of MPB Solicitors. You can contact him here:

This application was first published in Spanish in ExpressNews in June 2022


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