The Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) is the appellate body for immigration and citizenship cases. All cases considered by UNE have first been considered by the Directorate of Immigration (UDI).
UNE is independent of UDI, but the same rules apply
When UNE receives an appeal against a rejection made by the UDI, the case will be considered by a different body with different staff. If your appeal is successful, then the UDI's rejection no longer applies.
Even though other people will consider your case, the same rules still apply. Both the UDI and UNE must make decisions that are in accordance with Norwegian law and Norway's international obligations.
UNE’s function is to ensure due process protection. Therefore, we read all appeals thoroughly to check whether there is anything to indicate that the UDI's decision should be reversed. We also have to work efficiently. Therefore, we do not spend more time than necessary on cases.
However, we must always take as much time as we need to arrive at a correct outcome. The outcome should be correct in relation to the applicable regulations as well as considerations of equal treatment. This means that we often compare new cases with our practice from similar previous cases.
Politicians cannot instruct UNE in individual cases
Politicians determine the laws, regulations and instructions that govern our work, but they make decisions about types and groups of cases. They cannot intervene in individual cases. That is why politicians cannot overrule our decision in your appeal case.
This means that politicians cannot decide to grant you a permit if you receive a rejection from UNE. Nor can they do the opposite; they cannot decide to issue a rejection if UNE has granted you a permit.
There is one exception to this rule. In cases that concern ‘fundamental national interests or foreign policy considerations’, the Ministry can intervene in an individual case and decide that a permit shall be granted or not granted.
If the politicians are considering changing the rules, they can put case processing on hold. That means that they ask us to postpone processing of a certain type of case for a while. In this way, the politicians have time to change the rules without the old rules being applied in the meantime.
If the politicians wonder whether they should change the rules but do not put case processing on hold, we will continue to make decisions based on the old rules that still apply.
Cases are decided with expertise and country information
Our board leaders have law degrees and are qualified to serve as judges in a court of law. Some of them also have court experience.
Most of our case officers have a law degree, but we also employ many case officers with higher education in other fields, such as political science, anthropology, history and religious studies. Many of them have specialised in human rights and international law.
Our board members are recommended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, the Norwegian Association of Lawyers or voluntary organisations. They are not required to have any particular background or qualifications, but many have been recommended on the basis of interests, engagement and knowledge.
In many cases, we are assisted by country analysts. These analysts are employed by the Norwegian Country of Origin Information Centre (Landinfo), and they know a lot about the countries they provide statements about. They help us by providing factual knowledge about the situation in the different countries, but the country analysts are not involved in deciding the outcome of the cases.
Not everything is described in the rules. In many cases, those who make the decisions have to use discretionary judgement. Often, there are some factors that speak in favour of and others against granting a permit. In such cases, it must be determined which factors should be should weigh more.
Our staff cannot use discretionary judgement randomly, however. We have good knowledge about the political considerations underlying the rules. We also have a good overview and good knowledge of previous practice.
UNE doesn't deal with returns or settlement
Once our staff have concluded their consideration of the appeal against the UDI’s rejection, we are done with the case. We sometimes have to reconsider cases, if people so request, on the basis of new information in the case. That is called requests for reversal. But otherwise, other public agencies take over where our responsibilities end after UNE has considered the case.
UNE's work and decisions are very important to the National Police Immigration Service’s (PU) return work and the Directorate of Integration and Diversity’s (IMDi) settlement work.
When UNE has finished considering your case, the decision states what will happen next and which body will be responsible for your case. The decision should also inform you of your rights or obligations.
UNE's core values
UNE's core values are; ‘reliability’, ‘transparency’ and ‘respectfulness’. These three values guide us on how we should act, both externally and internally.
By reliability, we mean that we should keep our promises and base our decisions on in-depth knowledge. By transparency, we mean that our communication should be clear and unambiguous. By respectfulness, we mean that we should take you seriously and show understanding for who you are.
We should also be prepared to be confronted with and reminded about these core values. Because even though we cannot give everyone the outcome they want, we want all our users to feel that their case has been handled reliably, transparently and and that they've been treated respectfully.