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Entry clearance deception refusals


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Practitioners have seen a considerable increase in the number of applications for entry clearance that have been refused on the general grounds for refusal. The reasons are often opaque at best. Some simply refer to the contents of a Document Verification Report (DVR) and do not disclose this report. Many of these decisions cannot be appealed, or at least can only be appealed on race discrimination or human rights grounds, which does not get one very far in visit and business cases. Because one might as well shout at the moon as attempt communicate with most entry clearance posts, the only option in such cases is an application for judicial review.

I have had two such judicial reviews settled out of court in the last two weeks. The facts were remarkably similar and I wonder whether there is a pattern. In both cases the Entry Clearance Officer alleged deception, said they were satisfied ‘to a high degree of proof’ that false documents had been used and banned the client from coming to the UK for ten years. The clients were baffled and wanted to take things further. We lodged applications for judicial review and in both cases Treasury Solicitors have agreed to settle the cases and the DVR has been disclosed. Surprise, surprise, there is no evidence whatsoever of deception or reliance on false documents. All that has happened in both cases is that no-one picked up the phone at the other end for telephone numbers given on one of the letters submitted with the applications. Several other documents were verified as genuine in both cases.

Treasury Solicitors have suggested that neither side pay the other’s costs. I think not! These were nonsense decisions, use of false documents was alleged and the clients were banned from the UK for ten years. The least the offending Entry Clearance Officers can do is pay the legal costs the clients have incurred getting these decisions overturned.

If you do find yourself in this situation, the decisions are clearly worth challenging. There is a procedure for these Document Verification Reports to be disclosed, so it is worth asking for a copy before starting expensive litigation. There is a strict three month time limit on bringing an application for judicial review, though, and it is important not to let it drift by while waiting for Godot the ECO to respond.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


4 Responses

  1. In Scotland, Alan Caskie recently did a very successful series of FOI requests to establish the rate at which UKBA were conceding judicial reviews which shouldn’t have needed to be raised: see this article http://www.jonathanmitchell.info/2010/02/09/success-rate-in-judicial-review-petitions-in-scotland/ . Is there any equivalent information in England? Similar FOI requests should be capable of bringing this out and disclosing patterns. This information has a significant value (at least, that’s what we feel in this jurisdiction) in making the point to the court that far from there being a general problem with abusive applications there is a general problem with abusive decisions, which affects the underlying approach of the court.

  2. My Daughters Hubby has just been refused his visit visa at appeal for stupid reasons. The Hopo arrived at court with no knowledge of the case no notes and no bundle needless to say the judge gave him all he needed! And in his closing statement he said if he wants the visa to visit his wife he wont return home and abandon his wife and if he wants the visa so he can abscond then he wont return home either!! Catch 22 how can we fight that???

  3. In such instances, it can be worth firing off representations to the mission abroad by means of a letter attached to an e-mail.

    A client was refused visit entry clearance (Bangkok) on deception grounds for failing to disclose the existence of her child on the VAF, a fact that became apparent when spoken to by the ECO over the phone. That she freely admitted during the conversation to having a child was indicative of there being no deception, but the ECO chose to disregard this.

    Representations to the ECM resulted in the decpetion allegation being withdrawn, and a second visit visa application was successful.

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