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Reviews of ECO decisions


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News from the front line is that Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) are overturning refusals under immigration rule 320(7B) that were made before the string of concessions was announced. Just ask for a review, you shouldn’t have to make a second application and pay the whacking great fee for their ‘service’ all over again.

ECOs are apparently pretty pissed off themselves, and I can see why. First asked to do one thing, then another, then another and so on. They aren’t the ones to blame here, it’s the Home Office policy people that are the headless chickens.

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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.


28 Responses

  1. How odd.Having asked for a reconsideration we’ve been told it’s too late to ‘appeal’ the decision on our 320(7b) refusal…28days passed etc. However we’re most welcome to apply again! Maybe our embassy has gone privatised and has it’s own rules? :-) Oh well,small price to pay if they accept this time.(IF).Must be difficult for you immigration lawyers because they really do seem to be able to make the rules up as they go along….’Frustrating’ indeed!!

  2. Sorry but that sounds like absolute cobblers – ask them to point out where in the rules it says that?

    And that’s certainly at odds with their own guide!

    I refer to my linked diagram above (the text reads: it is better to give a small diagram than give a long speech).

  3. Maybe they assume joe public don’t read their guidance chapters and can therefore say what they want.Unfortunately they painted her blacker than black with other refusal reasons so perhaps best just to re apply and not rock the boat….yet!! Great diagram :-)

  4. There is in fact an appeal deadline of 28 days, although there is also a time allowed for foreign postage for you to receive the decision (unless it was given to you in person) of 28 days, which normally gives you 56 days in appeals against entry clearance decisions. Once the appeal deadline passes, it is difficult but not impossible to get the appeal tribunal to accept an appeal out of time. You do need good reasons, though, and the decision is made by the tribunal not the ECO.

    The appeal is only lodged when you send in the properly completed appeal form either to the ECO or to the tribunal itself. Asking for reconsideration is not the same as appealing.

    It may well be the case that your right of appeal has lapsed, I’m afraid. However, if you were turned down because of rule 320(7B) then you should not be forced to pay another fee, as that is caused by them not knowing their arse from their elbow (thanks, DP3 not 96). A formal complaint to the Entry Clearance Manager may be the way forward in such cases.

  5. hi F,M
    is it time to ask the the the ECO to reconsideration my case ?
    thank you for the good job F,M

  6. So shall i wait till 30 june or can i put my application before and concession of 30 may still apply? I overstaied for 6 month in UK, came back home on 6 of april home and want to apply as fiance.

  7. Flo and Irene, I’ve no idea why you are waiting and haven’t already asked for reconsideration. That is partly because I do not know anything about your cases, which means I really cannot give you advice on what you should or should not do. Please do not ask me again, I cannot give specific legal advice on this website.

  8. oh dear, ECO has turned down my visa citing 320 7(B) on 12/05/08 received the decision on 16/05/08, found out about the concession through your website on or around 21/05/08, same day sent an email to ECO requesting review of my application, my deadline of appeal was on 13/06/08, got an email replyon 12/06/08 from ECO stating that “I can advise you that UKVisas issued a recent instruction to posts to hold all settlement applications refused under paragraph 320(7b) until further instructions are issued and we are not therefore in a position to review this application at the present time. ” grrrr… good thing i prepared bundle for my appeal…. now i don’t know what will happen to my appeal based on these remark…. i have not receive any response from ECO yet…..don’t really understand why they could not review it… really confused now, thanks for your site… it keep me informed which is good …..

  9. The department of elbow (or was it arse?) has produced the following guidance.


    ECOs also need to reconsider applications from categories (1) to (7) which have been refused since 1 April 2008 under 320(7B). Where applications were refused solely under 320(7B), unless the applicant “significantly contrived to frustrate the immigration rules”, the orginal decision should be overturned and the appropriate entry clearance issued. Where other grounds were cited, an ECM should review the case and consider whether the remaining grounds are sufficient touphold the original decision. Posts are not expected to contact those whose cases qualify for reconsideration and applicants will be expected to come forward. Where a decision is overturned but the applicant has an outstanding appeal, they should be invited to withdraw their appeal and the AIT notified in the usual way”.

    In the world of IT we have a phrase :-) “RTFM!”

  10. “We are still awaiting further instructions from UKBAIG on settlement refusals under 320(7B). Your application will be reviewed upon receipt of any further instructions.” This is the response I receive from the Visa Section of British Embassy here in Manila. If the immigration policy and guidance to ECO was updated, what further instructions is there for ECO in Manila to get on with reviewing of the refused applications due to paragraph 320 7(B). This is so baffling… can anyone give me a comment on this….

  11. Is it likely that many folk have been refused solely under paragraph 320? I’d assumed that they usually find other reasons (credible or otherwise)to avoid their decision being overturned at appeal.Or is it just that our case is particularly bad?! Any feedback would help. I believe there was a character renowned for not knowing his arse from his elbow in the adult Viz comic. His name was Terry F**kwit,….however am resisting drawing unkind comparisons til the outcome of the visa :-)

  12. Thanks for stepping in there, DP. Andy, I have come across several cases that have been refused solely on 320(7B) grounds. ECOs don’t generally care about having their decisions overturned on appeal, in my experience, and are also EXTREMELY slow to issue a visa when an appeal is successful.

  13. Ok,thanks.Was rather hoping the long string of insults was normal practise in refusals.Seems to be that once they’ve taken exception to someone then there’s more chance of hell freezing over than granting a visa.Fortunately we did submit the appeal on time.Just the embassy didn’t seem aware of it(arse elbow moment?)

  14. I love this idea, and sometimes it works…but only sometimes. I am not sure what Embassies you deal with, but do you know how difficult it is to actually ask for areview, when e-mails, fax numbers and phone numbers are out of date, on automated services, or just go to Worldbridge/VFS/Gerry’s etc? I am having real problems actually getting through to anyone in order to lodge a review request!

    I am in court on Friday for an application refused solely on 320. Can’t wait!

  15. Hi Victoria.I noticed you mentioned vfs in your posting.My partner re applied (which,as we know,should not have been necessary).The staff there told her she must return home after marriage to apply for spouse status.I was under the impression you can switch from fiancee to spouse in country.Can anyone confirm this? Anyway,upon stating on the form that she would return home after marriage,the clearance officer duly processed it as a visit type visa,refused it,banned her again under rule 320 and with no full right of appeal.Utterly disgraceful.

  16. greetings.

    i had a leave as a student in the UK but i worked more than 20 hours during term dates.

    i used the same identity for all the work done and i had no criminal records.

    i left the UK voluntarily 4 months before my leave expired.

    does my condition fall under the phrase ‘contrive to frustrate the intention of these rules’?

    this is for your kind attention please.


  17. I have been refused entry clearance under 320(7B) for breaching the working holidaymaker visa. I worked for a period of 12 months on the visa and then came back to Australia to apply for entry clearance with a valid HSMP approval letter. British High Commission received my EC application on the 15th July 08 – does the “significantly contrived to frustrate the immigration rules” apply to me if I appeal? I have only just received my rejection and so have time to create an appropriate response. Help!

  18. Lodging an appeal most certainly does not count as contriving to frustrate the rules, don’t worry. Lodge your appeal and get some legal advice. Or the other way around if you have time.

  19. Sorry I worded that badly. I meant would that apply to me? I have since researched and have realised that it wouldn’t… The 14 March concession – does this still stand?


    My girlfriend have applied for her 1 year UK student visa 4 times. After the 4th time she appealed (the 4 attempts were due to having no experience of handling visa applications before but on the 4th refusal she was advised in the Notice of Refusal to appeal clarifying the 2 minor issues the ECO felt needed).

    We have received a letter from the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal on the 9th October saying that we have to wait for the ECO to overturn the decision before 25th December 2008 or “the bundle” is expected to arrive at the Asylum and Immigrations Tribunal explaining why the decision isn’t overturned.

    What does she need to do now?
    Does she need to contact anyone?
    The deadline is very close and what will happen from here?

    anyone with experience please help !!!

  21. please i was refused under 320 (7a) but i have since then applied for an administrative review my problem was that i forgot to fill it in my form that i had applied before and that my new passport isn’t my first passport now i want to know if this decision can be overturned and if i can still make another application to the embassy while my review is going on so as to safe time on the application because my school is resuming in a forth night your quick response will be appreciated

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