New April 2015 Application Forms and Section 120 Notices

With the latest round of Home Office application form updates introduced in April 2015, many may have noticed the inclusion of the following notice on the front of several application forms for further leave to remain and for settlement:

"DUTY TO STATE ALL REASONS TO REMAIN IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

All your reasons or grounds for wishing to stay in the United Kingdom must be stated in this application. This requirement is being given under section 120 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. If you do not tell us now of any reasons or grounds for remaining in the United Kingdom and you tell us later without good reason, you will lose any right of appeal you may have otherwise qualified for if we refuse your claim."

Home Office guidance summarises their position on section 120 notices:

"If a person has made an application to enter or remain in the United Kingdom (UK), has made a protection claim, or a human rights claim, or a decision to remove or deport has been made, the person may be served a “one stop notice” under section 120 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (as amended by the 2014 Act). This notice places an ongoing duty on a person to raise any additional reasons or grounds (other than those in the application) that would permit him/her to remain in the UK. The purpose of this notice is to require a person to raise reasons and grounds at an early stage and to prevent matters being raised at the last minute. If no response is made to the notice but the person makes a late claim, if refused, the claim can be certified under section 96 of the 2002 Act, such that there will not be a right of appeal if the claim could have been raised earlier (and there is no satisfactory reason for that matter not having been raised in a statement made in response to that notice, s96(2)(c))."

Previously, section 120 notices would routinely be served on people following the refusal of an application or claim for leave to remain.  The consequence of the addition of this section 120 notice to application forms is that if any grounds for seeking leave to remain in the UK are not disclosed in the application but advanced at a later stage following a decision being taken by the Home Office, they may be deprived of a right of appeal in the event that there was a further refusal of their claim.

It is important that applicants ensure that they disclose from the outset all factors relating to their case and circumstances that they wish the Home Office to take into consideration, and, if any circumstances change during the application, they ensure that they keep the Home Office up to date.

Some of the key application forms that contain this section 120 notice are forms FLR(M)FLR(O), FLR(FP), FLR(DL)SET(M)SET(P), SET(LR), but bizarrely, as yet, not form SET(O).