When a Surrey Nursing Home owner was granted a Work Permit for an in country Senior Care worker in September 2004 little did he know that it would take nearly two years before the Carer could start work.
The Home owner successfully arranged a two year work permit for a male Senior Carer. The candidate, Danny, who was in the UK on a visitors visa at the time, was denied ‘Leave to Remain’ following the tightening of the rules on switching in October 2004.
Bison Management UK took up his case and asked the Home Office to review their decision on two occasions over an eight month period. In both cases the Home Office refused to change their original decision. Danny had no option but to return home to his country in July 2005.
Bison Management UK were not giving up on Danny’s case. They successfully obtained a new ‘out of Country’ work permit and helped in applying for entry clearance at his local British Consulate.
He was subjected to a gruelling interview by an Entry Clearance Office (ECO) who naturally picked up on the point that he had over-stayed his original visitor’s visa by some months and went on to accuse him of working whilst in the UK. Although he tried to explain that he had only stayed whilst the Home Office were reviewing his case and holding his passport, the ECO refused to listen.
Danny also pointed out that he was supported by several relatives during his time in the UK, but the ECO just fired more questions at Danny until they had him tied up in knots. By the end of the interview Danny felt like he’d been ‘on trial for murder’. The ECO refused to believe any of his story and denied his application for entry clearance (visa).
Danny was devastated by this latest setback and immediately contacted Charles Kelly, Managing Director of Bison Management UK.
After reviewing the refusal decision Charles felt it was worth referring to an appeal specialist. He contacted a level 3 adviser with years of experience in handling entry clearance appeals, who agreed with Charles that the case was worth fighting.
Bison UK fights on
With the support of his employer and family Danny decided to go ahead with the appeal. Charles put the case together and instructed the appeal specialist to lodge the appeal.
Dealing with an appeal is a long and complicated process and not just a matter of filling in a form attached to the refusal decision.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that all you have to do is ask for an appeal and then sit back and wait for a decision.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Appeals are now heard in the UK, so the whole case gets sent back to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT). The AIT will then request the ‘appeal bundle’, which includes skeleton argument, statements and evidence related to the case. All of this can take three or four months and involves a considerable amount of work. Charles and his advisers spent many a late night preparing Danny’s case and going over all the statements and arguments.
After this a hearing is set, which in this instance was at Taylor House in London, for the case to be heard by a judge at the AIT. By the time we got to the AIT, it was now almost eight months after Danny’s visa refusal.
Our day in court
On the day of the hearing, 6th April 2006, Charles and his advisers met Danny’s relatives and employer at Taylor House and searched for Danny’s name among the hundreds of cases being heard that day. The AIT handles thousands of cases each year at ten centres around the UK, including two in London.
The case was set to be heard at 10am, however, the Home Office representative requested more time to prepare her case and we were told to come back around 11.00 and were eventually called at 11.30.
Although not a formal court room setting with wigs and gowns, the experience of walking into a tribunal is still daunting and intimidating. The decisions made within the walls of Taylor House have a lasting effect on the appellant’s lives.
We saw many families turn up on behalf of relatives with no legal representation. As they fumbled around from desk to desk they looked like ‘lambs going to the slaughter’. They were most likely about to be eaten alive in the jungle of laws and legal precedents.
45 Minutes to make or break your life
The judge dealing with Danny’s case seemed businesslike but pleasant and sat behind a large desk with opposing legal representatives sitting on either side. The room was just large enough for the desks and six chairs for witnesses. He interviewed all the witnesses and took notes during the 45 minute hearing. Not a very long time to decide Danny’s fate.
The judge then thanked everybody and said he would inform all parties of his decision within four weeks. The hearing was over but the agonising wait for Danny was just starting.
A few weeks later, on 26th April, a letter arrived informing us that Danny’s appeal had been successful.
We waited for the five days in which the Home Office could still lodge and appeal, and sent a copy of the decision to the British Consulate asking them to issue Danny’s visa.
If Danny was expecting a call from the Embassy staff to say “congratulations on your appeal Danny, come on down and get your visa”, he was about to be disappointed again.
In fact it took several faxes, emails and phone calls before the Embassy would even acknowledge the appeal decision.
Bison Management UK were still chasing the Embassy on 16th May, as they said they had not received a copy of the AIT’s decision. The Embassy still gave Danny a hard time and only issued the visa after insisting he obtained a new work permit, which caused further delays.
Danny eventually arrived in the UK on 15th June 2006, over six weeks after receiving the AIT’s decision and almost two years after he first got the job. Danny was lucky that he had the support of his employer and that the vacancy still existed. Most employers would have given up on him.
The majority of the hundreds of thousands of people denied visas each year will inevitably give up or lose the job because the employer cannot afford to wait.
The figures show that over 25% of refusals are successfully overturned on appeal, so take advice before throwing in the towel. Professional advice is essential.
For help with Visa Appeals, go to www.visaappeals.com
UKvisas manages over 150 visa sections worldwide, and handles more than 2 million entry clearance applications per annum. The visa operation is largely self-funding through the collection of visa fees.