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Fee cheque bounces


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Since the introduction of fees for immigration applications in 2003, the Home Office has become fanatical about collection of these fees. If the fee isn’t included with the application, no application is considered to have been made, so your leave to remain might expire while you think the Home Office is considering your new application. In fact, they are just taking their sweet time to let you know that as far as they are concerned, you haven’t even made an application.

This is exactly what happened in the recent case of R (on the application of Forrester) v SSHD [2008] EWHC 2307 (Admin), decided by Mr Justice Sullivan. The immigrant had applied for an extension of stay at a time when she still had current leave to remain and was lawfully present in the UK. However, the cheque to pay the (outrageously high) fee bounced. The application was rejected by the Home Office purely on the grounds that the fee was unpaid, by which time the immigrant’s leave to remain had expired. A new application was then submitted, and the fee was enclosed and was accepted by the Home Office. However, the Home Office then rejected the application solely on the basis that it was made when the immigrant had no leave to remain.

Sensible? Hardly. It was a crass decision, particularly as they took the fee the second time. £395 is quite a lot of money for such an appallingly rubbish ‘service’. Or, as Mr Justice Sullivan put it:

“This is a classic example of a thoroughly unreasonable and disproportionate, inflexible, application of a policy, without the slightest regard for the facts of the case, or indeed elementary common sense and humanity. Such an approach diminishes, rather than encourages, respect for the policy in question.”

He goes on to allow the case, referring to the reasoning in Chikwamba as he does so. However, the extent of the decision seemed to be that the decision to refuse solely on non-possession of leave grounds was quashed and the Home Office have to think again, not that leave should now be granted on the basis of ECHR Article 8 family and private life.

Still, it is refreshing to see a sensible decision like this every now and then.

As a postscript, I include a warning that I know of one case where the applicant included too much money and effectively overpaid the fee. The Home Office gallantly refused to accept it, but with the effect that the applicant was left in the same position as Ms Forrester: leave had expired and when the applicant re-applied the Home Office refused the application purely on the basis that leave had expired.


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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.


48 Responses

  1. Indeed. Although I still think ‘bonkers’ is quite good, assuming that Sullivan J’s comments are insufficiently pithy.

  2. “given a discretion on the basis that it will be exercised with a modicum of intelligence”……….*chortle-chortle*

    Would you have had to stifle a giggle (or five) if this was your case FM?


  3. the Judge made me laugh on par 21 when he said

    “thank you,in particular, Mr Blundell (HO rep) for taking the instruction and doing your best.”

    the best he did was to loose the case and pay costs lol. surely this is elevating policy of dogma. Kafka would have enjoyed it

  4. they are indeed a bunch of….they don’t seem to realise how they mess people’s lives with this kind of stupidity…

  5. Outragiously high fees??? See Australia – in country worker application $5030, Student visa $510 Canada – worker $1040 plus another $1040 for your spouse or dependant. These are just two examples of fees being charged around the world and they seem to indicate that the UKBA offers value for money. Of course, decisions like the above are frustrating to applicants. Indeed, almost as frustating as recieving incomplete (inadequate fee) or out of time applications is to the decision maker. Adding to this frustration is the fact that the decision makers’ then do not have the authority / responsibiliity to break away from the fact that ‘rules is rules’ and the application cannot be considered (whether they think it should be or not!).
    Moral of the story, make sure the application is on time and complete and cases such as R above would never occur!

  6. Frustrating for the decision makers when the fee is incorrect or out of time? It may be the case,until the decision maker packs up at 5,goes home for tea and forgets the whole thing.Meanwhile another person’s life has just fallen apart.The fact our nation gives it’s workers(battery chickens?) no powers of discretion will continue to result in humiliating,expensive court defeats then surely….and rightly so.Now where do I train to become an affluent barrister?!

  7. PO Box, yes, outrageously high. The UK specifically changed the law firstly to charge fees to recover costs in considering applications, and then in 2005 to make a profit from the level at which the fees are set. Just because Australia, not exactly a country with a reputation friendly to immigrants, charges even higher fees doesn’t make the UK ones reasonable.

    I find your equating of the frustration felt by the decision maker who receives an incomplete application with the frustration felt by Ms Forrester and others to be a little surprising, frankly. I’m sure it is frustrating working at the Home Office, but not as frustrating as trying to work with the Home Office, believe me. I’ve just gotten back from yet another example of the PO not having the file with him today, which must have ended up costing the taxpayer a small fortune.

    I agree with your advice though – it is always crucial to make sure the application is correctly made, as many are not so lucky as Ms Forrester has been.

  8. Working at the HO is frustrating, both seeing perfectly reasonable and honest immigrants who are trying to get on being screwed by the system, and or administrative inertia or harsh and un-reasonable primary decision makers and Adjudicators.

    However it is also frustrating seeing those who are abusing the system, some times with the help of ‘the other side’ to get away with it (I take the cab rank rule point though).

    This case is surprising, as generally there is a rule of thumb at Croydon along the lines of, if the application is put in by someone ‘legal’ within six months of LTR, the application will be considered on its merits (another secret policy ?)

    In this case the applicant arguably discharged the burden, by taking action before their LTR expired, the cheque bouncing obviously didn’t help their cause, but the decision to turn round and reject the application as out of time completely lacked common sense – and the margin of discretion that is open to Croydon case workers.

    Sounds like a lazy case worker who choose to write a five minute refusal, as versus taking longer to properly consider the application.

    In cases where those who are ‘legal’ fail to meet the rule, but seem likely to be able to in a future application I usually encourage them to apply again (in submissions), ask for discretion, and then leave favourable minute on the file.

    London Hopo

  9. PO Box

    Clearly you have been indoctrinated by the HO to defend its policies at all costs.

    Here are a couple of thoughts above your comments:
    “Rules is Rules” – Legislation is a method of achieving JUSTICE. Clearly justice is a higher and overiding principle that should be held as the objective of law. “Rules is Rules” is a legalistic approach, typically by left wing (socialist / communist) government organisations to rule without regard to justice. The HO are also guilty of breaching their own rules in order to maintain refusals against people who have not breached immigration rules (personal experience). Many have met the rules, but for a subjective point harshly upheld by notorious ECOs who resort to rule breaking themselves to justify their original decisions.

    High Fees? – Yes, some of the highest in the world now. The HO now makes a profit. For example, a non-EU partner to a UK or EU citizen now spends over £2000 in the three applications from foreigner to UK citizen over three/five years. Perhaps the fees should be reclassified as “Indirect Taxation” now.

    If the HO stops breaching its own rules, starts obeying EU laws, stops deliberately lying in appeal cases, then integrity may possibly return; but not under this Government (in my opinion).

    Quote about immigration – “play by the rules” Gordon Brown 2007. Lets include the HO in that Mr Brown.

  10. Integrity is not an option……

    If the HO stops breaching its own rules, starts obeying EU laws, stops deliberately lying in appeal cases, then integrity may possibly return; but not under this Government (in my opinion).

    Couldn’t have put it better myself – but I believe the term is ‘fat chance’

    Still I guess it’s all about numbers they’re what really count *sigh*

  11. MR T,

    Whist you may find it cathartic to try to shoot the HO down in flames, and all who sail her, I think you are misconstruing what I am saying in relation to the topic of this thread, lets focus on the topic shall we;

    * I am agreeing with Sullivan, J’s decision

    * I think the decision to reject the applicants application as out of time lacked common sense, and that discretion should have been used.

    * I am disagreeing with the, as you put it ‘Rules is Rules’ approach, in this case, I agree with you that that approach, in this case was stupid (That not withstanding I have to concede that it is pretty staggering that this got all the way to the Admin court without anyone intervening on the HO side)

    * I have said that many honest immigrants are screwed by un-reasonable primary decision makers (i.e. ECO’s) and Adjudicators.

    Yet you say this is demonstrative of indoctrination?

    London Hopo

  12. I have a lot of time for London HOPO’s position, in contrast with that of PO Box – I’m assuming these are two different people. PO Box seems to lack a sense of empathy or understanding for the position in which many immigrants find themselves when attempting to deal honestly with the Home Office. London HOPO does not.

    Although it may not seem like it from some of the posts on this blog, I don’t consider myself to be particularly political or even to have an anti-Home Office stance. I try to get on with the Home Office staff I frequently encounter. What drives me nuts are the silly decisions, the all-too-frequent rudeness and incivility many of my clients (and myself) have faced and the inhumanity of the system that has been created. The lack of accountability and short-term involvement in cases of individual caseworkers at the Home Office encourages them to make silly decisions as they need not face the legal or human consequences. I hoped the New Asylum Model would help address this, but there are plenty of bastions of the old ways that remain, sadly. Presenting Officer units seem to be one such bastion, although there are of course numerous exceptions to the rule.

  13. London Hopo

    Bless you – please check and you will see my comments
    were about PO Box comment #7 above.
    I think FM (in #14) says it all.

    When the HO dept was called the I.N.D., I thought the Nationality Directorate was very good. I have a 100% record with the IND, 4 applications with ND, and 2 applications with I. The only “complaints” I have against the ND are follows:
    1. A phone call answerer at the ND had never heard of the NAIA 2002.
    2. NAIA 2002 section 9 ammendment to BNA 1981 for illegitimate children took the ND until 1st July 2006 to implement (over three & a half years for a single paragraph ammendment).

    Hardly family life threatening though.

    In my opinion the “I” part of the IND is not nearly as good as the “ND” part, perhaps because they have a more difficult task. Even so, they are relatively saintly compared to some of the British High Commissions overseas.

    PS – I am obviously a conservative; also a holder of two british passports, a Residency Visa holder of a non-EU country, and a professional.

  14. Just to be clear: At no point in my previous post #7 did I say I agreed with the HO action in R (on the application of Forrester) v SSHD ? No. On the contrary, I agree and applaud London Hopo’s approach. That; where there are genuine cases of honest Immigrants such as Ms Forrester then, common sense should be applied. The second refusal in this case and taking of the fee (whether too high or not) was clearly a mistake.

    The points highlighted by FM in post 14 re: the manner in which HO employees treat him and clients is surprising.

    I find it laughable that FM thought NAM was ever going to break down these attitudes, which he feels existed. Indeed it is arguable that some NAM decision are even harsher / less reasonable than previous ones driven not only by existing attitudes but also by statistics.

    PO Units are in my opinion the last place the “bastisons” are found as PO’s (at least the ones I have met) tend to be the most reasonable and friendliest of people to deal with. Indeed they have to be, firstly, because they start from being perceived as the “Bad Guy” and secondly, to maintain any form of credibility with the IJ’s counsel and Solicitors whom they frequently encounter. Given their power to leave a favourable minute and influence the decision maker (as London Hoppo highlights).
    I would conclude that PO’s therefore make better friends than enemies indeed winning over, or at least being civil to, the PO certainly won’t harm your case.

    I’m sure in the situation FM cites where the PO had no file .. the PO apologised to the court on behalf of his colleagues (who failed to ensure the file was present), borrowed relevant papers, accepted the 300 page Appellant’s bundle (served on the day), asked for 15 min of time to read these docs and then proceeded to do their best with the case, only adjourning if absolutely necessary in the interests of justice, in an attempt to save expense for both the Appellant and the taxpayer? I’m sure that’s what London Hopo would have done anyway?

    So, what points were I making in my original post :
    1) Fees are high. Yes, but fees are charged (nothing we can do about that) and they are equivalent to fees around the world.
    2) I was simply trying to consider there may be another side to the story and the people who do make Immigration decisions are human too (some / most posters on this blog appear to think otherwise it seems).

    Simply pointing out; That for every genuine and honest applicant being ‘screwed’ by the HO there is one abusing the process and ‘screwing’ every tax payer.
    That, for every hard line, unreasonable, maybe stupid HO employee there is a dishonest unreasonable Immigration Advisor.
    That, for every uncivilised, rude encounter of a HO member of staff there is an unscrupulous Immigration ‘firm’ waiting to take money off honest immigrants for applications they know are without merit. Interesting nobody thought to comment on just how much some firms charge for making and lodging an application? A lot more than the fee charged by the HO, but I suppose they are permitted to and it is ethical for them to make huge profits from Immigrants.

    By opening my mind to both sides of the coin and making these few points I am “indoctrinated” to defend every HO policy? No. I like the majority of people who work in Immigration realise that everyone can make mistakes. However; I refuse to drag a whole organisation, doing an extraordinarily difficult job with limited resources, over the coals over every little thing. Isn’t it interesting that only FM (although I have reservations about FM’s stance not being anti HO given majority of posts) and London Hopo seem to realise that there are numerous exceptions to the rule and not every HO member of staff is a villain from the dark side.

  15. First of all, PO Box, thank you for your post and contribution. However, I’m not so sure that ‘laughable’ strikes quite the right note. I’d prefer ‘optimistic’.

    My understanding of NAM decisions is that the number of cases in which asylum is granted by the Home Office, has risen considerably. And so it ought in a good system: only a tiny percentage were getting asylum at first instance in the past, yet over 20% were winning appeals. 20% of wrong decisions in life and death cases was rather too high in my opinion, and I’d attribute that change to the positive change in approach heralded by NAM, the greater client contact of the new breed of caseworkers, better training and the ability to see ‘cases’ as human beings.

    My experience of many Presenting Officers is obviously very different to yours. They may be friendly amongst themselves but many display the latent hostility of your comments. It may be that I apply different standards, though, as I am used to dealing with professionally qualified and trained opponents who are regulated by their professional bodies and, for example, do not going on fishing expeditions during cross examination, are polite and do not ask insulting or offensive questions, do not start from the perspective that every witness is lying, know the law and who have been trained in how to deal with vulnerable witnesses and children. All of which would be breaches of the Bar Code of Conduct.

    There’s also an important difference between immigration lawyers and Home Office employees. Professional lawyers are specifically paid to represent our clients’ best interests. It is our duty, within certain constraints such as advising properly on the merits and not misleading the court. HOPOs have no such duty; they are akin to prosecutors in the criminal courts and their primary duty is to ensure a fair and just decision is reached. My experience is that many HOPOs go beyond this in their zealousness to defend a decision and attack a witness.

    Finally, I cannot accept the underlying premise that it is just as bad when a person breaches immigration control as when the Home Office do something crass or unlawful. I’m not ashamed to say that I think the Home Office should be held to a higher standard and that the human tragedy of a wrong decision is far, far greater than the theoretical damage to the system of immigration control when an immigrant breaches immigration laws.

  16. Firstly thank you to FM for your reply above and thank you Mr T for re-reading.

    FM you raise an interesting point re, number of refusals and allowed appeal rates. I certainly accept that the quality of the refusal notices has improved dramatically since the introduction of case owners. I’m not so sure about the number of refusals though and the how’s and why’s behind it, I sense this may be a good discussion for another post entirely.

    Regarding your point about PO’s that does genuinely sadden and disappoint me. Again quality of representation on behalf of the SoS may make for another good blog topic. A couple of things to bare in mind though is that a large numebr of PO’s are legally qualified and indeed many have completed the BVC and /or Pupillage and strive to abide by all professional conduct rules accordingly. Further more all PO’s do (and you may find this hard to believe) go on training modules, some run by practitioners on advocacy, court etiquette and conduct.
    If anyone encounters PO’s or CO’s acting in the manner which you describe above I would strongly recommend making a complaint in writing and sending it to:
    The Team Manager of (name of PO/CO) at the appropriate POU, Angel Square or Feltham for cases at York House, Hatton X or Taylor House.
    I know many will think “what is the point?” But, it is only through feedback like this that action could be taken against PO’s acting in this manner. All complaints are taken seriously and could result in discilinary action or further training for the PO concerned.
    Finally FM, I hope you encounter a few of the more professional PO’s soon and that your non-immigration case went well.

  17. Maybe I can give an unbiased opinion in due course after my first time ever as a witness in an immigration court.After seeing the applicant refused for dubious reasons,with no interview to put my side,kept waiting in limbo for eight months,considerably lighter in the pocket,then any questioning of my integrity is going to go down like a lead balloon in court.It’s certainly an intriguing field you folks work in!

  18. I do plan to do a post on HOPO training soon, as some HOPO training materials were recently made available through a Freedom of Information request. I’ve only skimmed them so far and there were good points and bad points.

    My non immigration case went fairly well, until my client got up, called the judge a ‘fat c**t’, told the other litigant he was ‘going to get you’ and nearly popped the door off its hinges on the way out.

    I think I need a rest, but I have to prepare a domestic violence appeal where I cannot see for the life of me why the Home Office didn’t just accept it as, whichever way I look at it, the woman very clearly submitted exactly the right evidence, even on the Home Office’s own fairly strict rules.

  19. Having seen a few comments about statistics, I recall the following off a FCO website back in either Qtr 1 or Qtr 2 in 2007. It said (and I quote verbatem)

    “93% of our applicants worldwide receive the visa they applied for”

    The line was removed by Qtr 3, 2007.

    Does anyone recall seeing this, and do we know what the statistic is based upon?

  20. Glad to see i’m not the only one dealing with undesirables during the course of work.One of my recent clients was bemoaning the fact that her two,fatherless child breeding daughters couldn’t exercise their god given right to a council house..The reason stated was polish migrants jumping the queue allegedly.Titter
    Mr T.I saw the same statistic somewhere,93% etc.Can’t remember on which site but it was early this year as opposed to 07.It gave me hope for my overstayer at the time…which soon was dashed

  21. I also read in a newspaper that 60,000 people a year apply for settlement in the U.K. Assuming it’s near the mark then 7% of those is a lot of people refused/appealing.Taking the other visa categories into account then 93% almost seems feasible……but there seems to be a suspiciously large number of busy solicitors around!

  22. ** Stop Press **

    FM, who would say that about any judge, tut tut

    However …..


    – Immigration Case Owners –


    Can I tempt any of you to join the all new, regionalised, sectorised UKBA ?

    Want to be one of the new breed multi skilled HOPO / CO Hybrid ?

    Get your application in by 03 11 2008

    P.s. PO training etc is a subject for another post, I will look forward to it.


  23. The minimum requirement (2:2) as a graduate, or a clutch of A-Levels with some case working experience…University graduates will have little experience of the impact of the decisions they’re making. Unless the HO is looking for social science based students, they seem to have a much more informed understanding of peoples’ situations.

    Maybe i’m a cynic….perhaps a new injection of fresh thinking graduates will stir up the status quo.

    But at any rate that’s why we have an ‘impartial’ reviewing body, to check decisions (like FM’s recent GOO posting).

  24. DP

    I’m with you on the HO recruitment.

    The average 20 to 25 year old British graduate’s “knowledge” of immigration law is “I think i’m British ‘cos I was born here”.

    I think the recruitment could have been targeted better, given they will be deciding the fate of other people’s lives.
    Experimentation with sex and drugs, no experience with marriage or parenthood, etc.. hardly the best candidates for the job.

    However, given the turndown in the economy, and the rising levels of debt amoung recent graduates, you can see it could be quite a tempting carrot for some.

  25. DP, Mr T

    Any suggested ‘profile’ or basic qualifications, you’d like to see, for the new Case Owners?

  26. PO Box

    Not my area of expertise or occupation.

    Perhaps a more mature candidate, one who has a wife and kids, one who has travelled beyond the confines of the UK or EU.
    Perhaps even some-one from an interacial marriage, and has experience with other cultures.

  27. PO Box,

    Well you asked, so some observations…..

    Certainly not any Tom, Dick, or Harry which the advert implies.

    Your comment(s) seem to suggest that there is some form of hybrid caseworker/HOPO, well it’s an interesting idea. However, as much as Mr T’s comment would probably not pass muster with the age discrimination act, the notions suggested are quite interesting. What the HO clearly requires is people to make, and defend, decisions according to policies: I suggest you acquaint yourself with the rather infamous Milgram experiment.


    Caseworkers should have appropriate experience in dealing with humans – simple. Nurses, doctors, social workers, teachers have this competency at the very core of their work, why not caseworkers? All of the mentioned see the consequences of their decisions. Those four groups have to act within the confines of their profession, certainly seems that many of the experiences here would indicate the collective nebulous of the Home Office would be and is incapable of such a feat, let alone to understanding the consequences; I refer to Milgram’s experiment again.

    Pinteresque (marked esp by halting dialogue, uncertainty of identity, and air of menace) my term for the HO’s activities suddenly seem shamefully comparable to a hydrophobic teabag; Milgramesque (it’s ok, trust me i’m a/an [insert profession here]) is my newly adopted weapon of choice :)

  28. Mr T, Dp,

    A very large number of current case owners and PO’s actually possess many of the qualities you describe. I know a large number of case owners, many have families, almost all have travelled extensivly and undertaken charity and voluntary work abroad there are a surpriseing number who have also been and are qualified teachers , I know of 4 in Angel POU alone. And many are not young (I’m sure they won’t mind me saying that) and are married with children.

    The roles between Caseowners and PO’s are being, from what I’ve seen, brought ever closer together and the end result will probably by some form of hybrid. It certainly is an interesting area of discussion but surely the most important point is to have decision makers who are able to remain objective and unbiased. Maybe we shoudl introduce a ‘shelf life ‘ for these positions so that you aren’t in the job long enough to become either brainwashed or cynical and narrow minded?

  29. PO Box

    I read what you say with interest, and your comments are appreciated, although sometimes I struggle with your tone.

    I will try and limit this to PO’s and appeals. The large majority of the time when I read FM’s comments (where they relate to my areas of experience with the HO) they ring so true. I have only been involved in one appeal so I can’t make generalised statements here, but my experience rang true on two of FMs three comments on AIT and the appeals system:
    1. The Adjudicator did not come across as being independent at all. He and the PO were too “overly-familiar”.
    2. The PO does start off with the premise that the appeallant is guilty, and questions the appeallants credibility. In my appeal, the PO stated that the HO did not believe that this was a genuine application; based on nothing!

    The only thing I have read of yours thay rings true is that POs can be friendly; and this one was.

    An applicant would get excited if he heard that a PO was friendly and intelligent (min 2 A-levels, yes relatively so). Someone like this sounds ideal to look over their case.
    However you & I know this to be misguided. As you quoted above:
    “What the HO clearly requires is people to make, and defend, decisions according to policies.”
    What this means is he is akin to a legal representative defending an accused of something he knows the accused is guilty of. He will never admit that the client is guilty, unless instructed by the client to do so; POs are not often instructed to do so.

    I hear what you say about some of your colleagues at the HOPO, but where were they when I needed them.
    The adjudicator’s verdict was severely inaccurate, culturally ignorant, legally incomplete, and hardly impartial; he basically swallowed all the PO’s lies. The only thing I can say with any confidence that the adjudicator got right, was the judgement that the primary argument of the PO was in breach of immigration rules. And this was only given verbally, and excluded from the written adjudication. I am convinced that the Adjudicator, PO, ECO, and any others involved are completely unaware of the consequences of this case.

    I hear that a unified complaints scheme is being considered. Given my above appeal was over five years ago, I can say that this “blindingly obvious” consideration is well overdue.

    Why should I make three complaints to different departments about my one case. None of the two complaints or half-a-dozen additional letters to the HO have been taken seriously, nor have any of them answered the legally incomplete situation despite being a major theme in all of them.

    As John Reid said, and I can confirm along with many others, “A system not fit for purpose”.

  30. I tried complaining too,with a very negative and indifferent response.After all you’re trying to reason with the ‘prosecution’ team really,which is unlikely to yield favourable results!

  31. A

    Yes I agree, a waste of time and effort.

    I looked at a possibility for you the other day, and ended up finding another example of “Prejudice ‘cos ya British”.

    If you have a child with your fiance, the good news is your child is automatically British. (I’m sure you knew that already, since July 2006, if you’re on the birth certificate).
    The bad news is there are no other applications you can make other than set O (outside rules). But there is under EU rules.
    The other bad news is until the child is seven, you, your spouse, and therefore your family, are at risk of deportation. Again, that would very rarely happen to the EU national baby or its parents, which are specifically protected except for public safety.
    You may remember the Italian boy who faced deportation after committing murder, the HO couldn’t even deport him ‘cos the judge decided that EU law protected his human rights.

  32. A

    Before people jump on me, a few technical corrections:
    “no other IN COUNTRY applications”
    delete YOU in the “risk of deportation” sentence

  33. Many thanks Mr T. Sounds like i’ll be wise to take legal advice ref european laws etc if we are unsuccesful in the future.Putting the cart before the horse (ie having the child,then marriage and immigration) does seem to put an advantageous slant on things! Or maybe i’m just becoming bitter and twisted over the whole thing.Time to share a couple of bottles of DP’s red wine i think :-)

  34. DP has just run out of red wine :( *See warning below

    PO Box – yes I can imagine there some very experienced staff there, and i’m sure they make both good and bad decisions. The discussion makes for an interesting insight into the HO’s operation.

    You may remember the Italian boy who faced deportation after committing murder, the HO couldn’t even deport him ‘cos the judge decided that EU law protected his human rights.

    Careful, careful, you’re moving into Daily Mail readers’ territory there ;) from a legal/technical standpoint the decision is correct, though, prima facie it’s awfully unpalatable. You need to have a read of the EU Rights of free movement regs. to understand why. If my assumption is that he was tret as an EEA national….?

    So, in conclusion, I suggest the way forward is to have readers of the Daily Mail vote off the members of staff in a reality tv style fantasy Presenting Officers’ league :)

    * Warning post may contain traces of sarcasm and red-wine lacking distress. This post has been printed on recycled blog-roll and may contain traces of nuts

  35. DP

    Thanks, your sense of humour has made up for the lack of red wine in my cupboard aswell.

    Thanks also for clarifying what I was trying to say in a single sentence. English was the only O level subject that I managed to fail, but in those days a CSE 1 came to the rescue.

    The context goes back to an earlier blog with A, so “EU law” I was refering to was, as you kindly clarified, the EEA national right of free movement, and its “favourable deal over that of UK nationals”. I was suggesting that A and his theoretical UK child could be effectively deported with his African fiance, where-as the treaty rights forbid an EEA National baby and its parents (whether EEA or non-EEA) from deportation except in Public Safety situations. I can’t remember if the Italian boy/man was under 21, but it was the only case that came to mind as an appropriate example.

    Funny enough we have bought a Daily Mail today, but I’m hoping you have spotted that I’m not your average DM reader, although the article on Mrs Thatcher did appeal to my conservative side.

  36. …contain traces of nuts and may seriously damage your wealth! Can anyone inform what the situation would be with southern ireland.Assuming a uk national marries a non european,moves out there and finds work or sets up business,can the uk national invite the spouse immediately on an eu permit?Or must the uk citizen be established there for a set period of time?And can the clearance post refuse the permit claiming marriage of convenience etc just like they could under normal immigration rules?All a bit too close to advice for freemovement to answer p’haps.I undertook a cse in German but only achieved grade 2,proving that a)i need help b)prob a daily mail reader c) both myself and mr T must be in excess of 37 years old.(CSE’S defunct long ago!)

  37. A

    see under “Metock rejected by Tribunal” blog #1 by DP
    He has a link to a pdf file containing the EU regs.
    Have a read.

  38. A this isn’t legal advice, but cobbled together from research….(and I don’t think my other comment worked earlier)

    If you’re looking to go to Ireland then it depends what you’re going to do. So i’d suggest you start by reading up about a very old ruling affectionately known as the “Surinder Singh” ruling. This is ideal if you want to remain in England longer term, but fancy a 6-month jolly to Ireland. You can find the rules for consideration on the United Kingdom Blunderbuss Association’s [1] (UKBA’s) website under European casework. I cannot seem to get a straight answer about when exactly an EU person is exercising treaty rights in another EU country, could be right away – speak to a solicitor or see the link at the end.

    If your spouse is away in say Africa, chances are they would come from a country requiring a visa. Technically speaking Ireland has to issue you a visa based on an accelerated procedure; unless there are issues pertaining to public policy, security or health (according the UK’s public policy rules: overstaying and being a general ‘immigration offender’ aren’t enough to activate the public policy thing – though there’s a really interesting case about the Church of Scientology that relates to public policy).

    Go see if you find a guy called ca.funke (I think that’s his name) at http://www.immigrationboards.com/ under the Ireland section, he’s been doing some interesting research regarding embassies’ interpretation of the free movement rules. Oddly….it’s only the ‘new’ EU members which seem to give the correct answer – despite him and others emailing copies of the FM rules in their respective native languages.

    And guys, i’ve got nothing against the DM, but we are talking about a newspaper with a feature on “Loos with views: The world’s toilets with the most impressive vistas” ;) I’d hate to visit “boulder pass”, could be something of a tear jerker. Still some of locations could prove advantageous to have a spare newspaper, wonder if you’d get into trouble for leaving the seat up?

    [1] with apologies to any owners of antique blunderbusses I realise the above comparison may in some fashion render them ‘not fit for purpose’

  39. Whilst this public discourse is both healthy and necessary, I really feel that sentiments such as “PO’s Lies”, “the B*starts at the airport” “my acronym for them is Sh*ts” etc etc are completely un-helpful. These comments act to re-enforce the ‘iron curtain’ that exists between PO’s and ‘the other side’ (indeed the language I am using here is indicative of this gulf).

    The debate over immigration is a classic example of a policy area where there is too much heat and not enough light, to much assumption and prejudice and not enough understanding, and yes that is on both sides from the muesli chomping Hampstead liberals to the ant-acid crunching DM readers.

    FM says that the PO’s start point is that the Appellant is lying, however often (particularly in Asylum cases) that is the PO’s start point, as that is his or her instructions, that is what is said in the decision that they are defending.

    On some occasions it is blindingly obvious to the PO that they have a weak case, some times this will only be clear after the evidence has been tested (in particular where the interview is cursory).

    Whilst PO’s may seek instructions to concede, in practise these are very difficult to obtain for administrative reasons – and yes that it wrong, and yes PO’s should be given greater powers as the person with conduct, the practical reality is that the person higher up the food chain and at the other end of the phone is likely to be incredibly wizened, cynical and immovable.

    In these circumstances the best a PO can do, will be to drop a heavy hint (to the Adjudicator) by merely relying on the RFRL as versus attempting to make out a weak argument.

    That said, I have seen on may occasions, where is obvious that the Appellant is completely lacking in credibility, members of the bar also acting in a ‘zealous’ manner in advancing their case, and yes, sometimes sadly, going for the man not the ball, i.e. attacking the PO as versus dealing with the point(s) at issue.

    The point FM makes vis-à-vis PO’s lack of training re dealing with vulnerable Appellants is sound, it is a disturbing state of affairs.

    Whilst I find FM’s perspective on PO’s incredibly biased and cynical, I have to accept that he/she has seen many of my colleagues on their feet, where as I have witnessed them in action on only a handful of occasions.

    London Hopo

  40. Thanks DP.Will do some research i think.Suppose the mere fact am considering these options demonstrates our determination to stay together,which hopefully will be recognised at appeal,thus rendering re locating unnecessary.I’m by no means sure though from reading the comments on this blog.My perspective as a total newcomer has been that the clearance post seemed to deliberately maladministrate the application wherever possible in order to refuse it.It’s a closed shop entirely,giving the uk citizen little chance to rectify things and emailing is a hit n miss affair.Understandably they take exception to overstayers and the uk resident gets chance to have their say court (8mnths later).Already lacking confidence in the integrity of the primary decision making process,it’s disconcerting to read about PO’s being overly familiar with adjudicators and undermining witness credibility etc.Infact a solicitor advised me to tread on eggshells with the HO rep for fear of upsetting the adjudicator,which really should not be the case.(Although anything less than civil deserves to be frowned on of course).Perhaps this discourse could be beneficial and mine is purely an outside observation as opposed to criticism.Indeed I hope to find the home office rep to be a friendly man or lady.Perhaps without freemovement’s snipes there’d be no ‘handbags at dawn’ clashes,resulting in a less interesting blog :-) Scientology? that’ll be Tom Cruise barred then.Another great scoop for the daily mail!

  41. p.s cheers also mr t.Will swot up on the eu regs today (maybe am slacker student?).Just need to don my anorak and jam jar bottom spectacles first tho….

  42. Some people claim asylum who are not genuine refugees.

    Some people who claim asylum who are not genuine refugees say things which are not true in order to attempt to gain asylum status.

    The Home Office some times say that people who are not genuine refugees have said things that are not true in an attempt to gain asylum status, when they do this they do it in writing, this is called a RFRL or Reasons for Refusal Letter.

    POs (Presenting Officers) who have not written these RFRLs defend these decisions in court, they usually read them for the first time the day before the hearing, they are normally bound by what is said in that RFRL, the RFRL are their ‘instructions’.

    On occasions where the Home Office say that people who want to be recognised as refugees are saying things that are not true, there is evidence, it is their own evidence, as set out in their interviews and witness statements.

    Some times the Adjudicator agrees with the Home Office case as advanced by the PO, some times they do not.

    FM says that PO’s advance their case in an over zealous manner, weight must be attached to FM’s view as he/she is a member of the bar practising in this field.

    I say that PO’s are hard working Civil Servants who try to advance their case in a fair minded manner, mindful of the ‘overriding objective’ whilst (in the words of my own mentor) not forgetting which team they are batting for.

    I know that you disagree with me, and you are entirely entitled to hold that view – I’m with Voltaire on that point.

    London Hopo

  43. London HOPO

    I would like to see the appeals system improve! (I think you do too.) Its already gone through a couple of changes since I experienced it five years ago.

    While I understand what you mean for asylum cases, the problem with putting someone in an environment of a court room and making accusations at them is, the genuine and honest applicant is the one disadvantaged. It is a untruthful person who has the experience on how to handle accusations, it is the law breaker who is familiar with a court room etc.

    Unfortunately Immigration has become too politicised and so, as DP said, its become all about numbers, not about its consequences.

    I have the advantage over many of seeing more than one immigration system at work from the end-user side. I have very good experiences with the non-UK one (currently six visas), and as a result have a high regard for their system. The officers are a lot more personable, and the UK system has a long way to catch up in this area.

  44. OK, that’s enough. It is instructive what can happen when I’m busy. I don’t want to take down any of the above comments and I don’t want to start having to moderate comments either. The tone of some of the above was less than polite and I may decided to edit them.

    Anyone working for the Home Office who reads this blog will need to understand that many of the blog’s other readers have had very bad personal experiences with the Home Office. I am sorry to say that this is not an insignificant number of people. This is likely to influence the tone of their comments.

    It should also be understood that this blog is sometimes written in a deliberately confrontational tone and style. It isn’t a consultation response or the BBC, it is a blog and is intended both to be personal to the author and to be more than a dry series of legal updates.

  45. I can certainly vouch for that.It may be difficult to emphasise when working for the H.O,unless you’ve actually been through the immigration mill in some way yourself.Personally i’ve found it frustrating and emotionally draining.From the other side i can assure that,believe me it’s not comedy.On the flip side though,there’s only one answer that a migrant/asylum seeker will wish to hear from an adjudicator.And that is yes! In which case the H.O are always going to be unpopular regardless.Though cases such as the one highlighted in this posting must surely not help their cause