Case Examples

These histories have been selected from our files, so as to give an insight to the range of our work. The names have been changed, and the clients’ approval obtained.

A Genuine Marriage?

“P” is an Italian exercising Treaty rights here. But his marriage to a Thai lady was deemed to be “of convenience” by the Entry Clearance Officer in Bangkok.

The couple had formed their relationship living together in the U.K. Before then she had overstayed here, working as an escort girl. The Immigration Judge heard evidence from P, and his best friend, about the development of the romance and he was shown documentary evidence indicating the couple’s co-habitation. But he still dismissed the appeal. However, to the Senior Immigration Judge we argued that the best friend’s evidence had been ignored because no finding on it was made; further, the co-habitation evidence which was complex, had been misconstrued; and the lady’s past was irrelevant to credibility now. The Senior Immigration Judge ordered a new hearing.

A Marriage Across Cultures

Kevin is a civil engineer in his early thirties. He went out to Ghana to get married, thinking that he would be able to bring his wife back on the return trip. The local Registrar gave him a rigorous interview to establish that the marriage was genuine, and afterwards the couple thought that the Entry Clearance application would be a formality.

However, at the Embassy they were interviewed hurriedly in a noisy office. The templated questions gave them no chance to explain how their relationship had developed, and why they were ready to marry even though they had first met only a few days earlier.

The Refusal forced Kevin to return to the UK without his wife. He had to come back to his job.

The relationship had started two years earlier when a trusted friend had introduced the couple with some photographs. It developed over email and telephone contact. It had changed Kevin’s life in ways that his flatmate and close friends could observe.

The subsequent Appeal enabled these friends to come forward. Also, Kevin’s mother was able to speak of the contact she had established with her daughter-in-law.

The Home Office maintained their resistance but the Immigration Judge could now see that the relationship was genuine, just as the Ghanaian Marriage Registrar had done several months earlier. The Immigration Judge directed the Entry Clearance Officer to allow Kevin’s wife to come, and the celebrations of their wedding planned for this country, finally took place.

Adult Dependant Relative

Ahmed had built up a shop business over several years here. He and his married sister had been sending money to their parents in Pakistan, in turn, month by month. Over time the parents have become frail and their mother started collapsing frequently under high blood pressure. The family’s other relatives had been lost in the Afghan civil war.

Until July 2012 the parents would have succeeded in a settlement application as Elderly Dependant Relatives; but now they were too late. New Rules came in making it necessary for the parents to have a medical condition for which care was either unavailable or unaffordable. In the first six months of the new regime only one application to enter the UK had succeeded.

The regular sending of money used to be good evidence of dependence on the children working in the UK. Now, it only underlined the fact that local care was affordable. Ahmed and his sister recognised this.

Their case was that local care was unobtainable because the nursing needed for the mother could not be provided at home from any local source. The 24-hour care of a female nurse was not available; and there were insuperable language problems as well.

There was also the difficulty of proving a negative; i.e. that the required care was not available. Fortunately, medical opinion was on hand to support this.

When the case was presented at the stage of review by the Entry Clearance Manager, it was accepted.

British since birth, surely ?

Isobel had always thought of herself as British. She was born in Australia of a British father, but the family moved away to the UK when she was two. At the age of eight they went to live in South Africa where she has spent most of her life.

She has always travelled on her Australian passport, which was convenient enough until she decided to live here. So she applied to the Home Office for a declaration of her nationality, with the details of her family history.

Her father had been born in colonial Singapore in 1930. His parents were born in Britain. Surely – she thought – that made her British, when she was born in 1960. But the Home Office said no. In their view, as Singapore had become independent before 1960, her father was only British by descent at the time of her birth. So she did not inherit her father’s nationality.

This was wrong. The independence of Singapore in 1958 did not cause its then British citizens to lose their nationality. Isobel inherited this at her birth. It was only in 1963 when Singapore joined with Malaysia, that the registered Singaporeans who became Malaysians, lost their British status.

Isobel’s family had moved on from Singapore long before her birth. Nobody had registered her as Singaporean. The Home Office revised their opinion and issued a status certificate.

Deportation Appeal

Khalid faced deportation. The Immigration Rules provided for “automatic” deportation following his conviction for a drugs offence committed five years ago.

Only Human Rights Law could save him and in his case family life was substantial.

His wife had given birth to a child while he was in prison. The child had now bonded with him since his release two years ago. Moreover, a second son had now been born to the couple.

Although looking for work, he spent the daytime caring for both their children, so that his wife could attend her university course.

Khalid was technically Ugandan because his parents came from there. But he had been born and brought up in his early life in Saudi Arabia where his father worked. Thereafter the family soon moved to the UK where he has lived ever since.

The Home Office said that he could adapt to Ugandan life; his British wife and children could maintain contact through “modern methods of communication”.

Two judges of the First-Tier Tribunal heard the case, weighing the obvious family life against the serious nature of the offence. Human Rights prevailed.

Judicial Review – Administrative Law

“W”, a Chinese student with a family, was refused a Points Based System extension of leave. He had claimed Child Benefit while in a category that forbade him public funds.

In fact, the claim had been made at the instigation of the local Council’s health visitor. When the Permission Judge in the High Court accepted the case as arguable, ordering an early hearing, the Home Office reversed their decision and paid the client’s legal costs.

Losing The Right To Work Through “Shifting Goalposts”

Arun comes from India. His wife is Chinese. They met as students on the campus of a university in Switzerland. When they married they decided to live in England as neither of them spoke the other’s language.

Arun obtained a work permit for the industry to which his degree was directed – hotels. Over the following years he worked hard and started making progress up the managerial chain. But one career move worked out badly, and he had to leave his job before finding a new one. This did not take him long, but by then the Points Based System had been introduced, replacing the previous criteria for work permits.

Under the new system his original qualifications were considered inadequate. His degree was downgraded to a higher educational certificate, and despite several years of hotel management here, he learned that he would have to do an English test.

So the change of job caused him to lose his livelihood. Had he been able to stay in the previous employment, he would have continued under his previous work permit and obtained full settlement which was only two years away.

We brought the injustice of the matter to the Home Office, but, even on reconsideration of the matter, they refused to exercise any discretion.

However, we were able to bring the matter to the First-Tier Tribunal where the Immigration Judge decided that it was wholly disproportionate to remove this law-abiding couple. He recognised the Human Rights that had built up through Arun’s hard worked career, and the enormous disruption to them if they were sent to either of their home countries.

The Home Office was forced to reconsider and has now granted Leave.

Marriage Too Young

In 2009, “H”, a 22-year old South African man, married a British national, just turned 18 with still a year to go at school. His subsequent immigration application succeeded properly on matters of finance, accommodation and genuine relationship, but failed – as we had to advise it would – because the sponsor was under 21.

Falling foul of Rule 277 the only remedy was Judicial Review to argue that the rule itself was unlawful, in other words to follow the case of Aguilar 2009 EWHC 3189. The facts were strongly similar.

We issued Judicial Review proceedings and the case rested behind Aguilar which was funded by a charitable institution. In that case the couple failed in the High Court but they went to the Court of Appeal, which overturned the High Court decision and subsequently the Supreme Court confirmed that. The Home Office has now changed back the marriage rules so that immigration applications based on the marriage of 18-year olds can be made.

Son Reunited with His Mother

Yvonne left her son at home in the Caribbean when he was very young. Her parents brought him up while she came to England to make her living.

Over the years that followed she did everything she could to maintain contact with him. But she also married a British man from a Jamaican family and they had a child together.

Meanwhile her son back home entered his teenage years. Her parents became old and less capable of parental control.

Yvonne applied on several occasions for her son to join her, but she had been refused because she could not show that she had “sole responsibility” for his upbringing. However, in recent times she, her husband and their child had been able to afford to spend holidays with her son. Contact with the teenage boy was taking place every day by Skype. But the Entry Clearance Officer still turned the application down; the boy’s grandparents had raised him and Yvonne could not prove that their role had ceased.

We brought the case to the Immigration Judge. We argued that it was not just a question of sole responsibility under the Immigration Rules; there was also family life under the European Convention of Human Rights. The relationship established in recent years between the teenager, his mother, her husband and his half-sibling, was strong enough to constitute a family that included her boy. In theory, Yvonne, her husband and their child could all go to Jamaica to maintain family life with the teenage boy; but was it reasonable for her husband to make that move where there were no prospects of employment, or for the child to suffer that disruption ?

The Judge decided that it would be a gross interference, and disproportionate to the needs of Immigration control.

On Human Rights he allowed the Appeal, and the teenager arrived here. He is now in secondary school.