Immigration Law, Regulations, and Policy are constantly changing, and what might apply today, may not apply tomorrow. It seems that as time goes by the more complex these matters have become, baffling many immigration practitioners (including some Immigration Judges).
Forms such as the Visa Application Forms (VAF) have also increased in size and complexity. A few years ago a visa application consisted of just few pages on one or two basic forms, but now there are 8 different forms, ranging from 12 to 21 pages, requiring much more information and documentation.
UK Visas has recently introduced a whole raft of new forms.
You may have read the recent report of the British man arrested with his Filipino Partner on charges of adultery brought by his Partner’s estranged Husband. Not only has he fallen foul of the law in the Philippines, he seems to believe that if he can get out of this mess he can just bring his Filipino Partner (and child when born) to the UK.
Many British Citizens assume that because they are British they can just bring their spouse or partner to the UK with a wave of their passport, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Firstly, there is the minefield of British Immigration Law and Regulations (dating back to the 1971 Immigration Act) to wade through.
Secondly, although British Immigration Officials are public servants and are supposed to help and facilitate applicants, you could be forgiven for thinking that they are doing their best to keep as many people out of the UK as possible.
Visa refusals are common for a variety of reasons from inadequate evidence to poorly drafted applications.
In most cases where we have had to appeal against an entry clearance refusal it would appear that Entry Clearance Officers (ECO’s) are looking for reasons to refuse applications, rather than finding reasons to say “yes” and issue a visa.
Immigration rules are drafted using such complex legal language that even native English speaking people find them difficult to comprehend.
Examples of the relevant paragraphs contained in the immigration rules:-
SPOUSES AND CIVIL PARTNERS
Paragraphs 277 to 280 of the immigration rules.
SPOUSES OR CIVIL PARTNERS OF PERSONS PRESENT AND SETTLED IN THE UNITED KINGDOM OR BEING ADMITTED ON THE SAME OCCASION FOR SETTLEMENT
Paragraphs 281 to 289 of the immigration rules.
FIANCÉ(E)S AND PROPOSED CIVIL PARTNERS
Paragraphs 289AA to 295 of the immigration rules.
LEAVE TO REMAIN AS THE UNMARRIED OR SAME-SEX PARTNER OF A PERSON PRESENT AND SETTLED IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Requirements for leave to remain as the unmarried or same-sex partner of a person present and settled in the United Kingdom
Paragraphs 295D to 295F of the immigration rules.
INDEFINITE LEAVE TO REMAIN AS THE UNMARRIED OR SAME-SEX PARTNER OF A PERSON PRESENT AND SETTLED IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Requirements for indefinite leave to remain as the unmarried or same-sex partner of a person present and settled in the United Kingdom
Paragraphs 295G to 295I of the immigration rules.
INDEFINITE LEAVE TO REMAIN FOR THE BEREAVED UNMARRIED OR SAME-SEX PARTNER OF A PERSON PRESENT AND SETTLED IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Requirements for indefinite leave to remain for the bereaved unmarried or same-sex partner of a person present and settled in the United Kingdom
Paragraphs 295M to 295O of the immigration rules.
To fully understand and cope with the above paragraphs of the rules, and the new VAF forms usually requires specialist advice from an OISC registered immigration adviser.
Investing in professional advice now could save you time and money. Visa applicants often spend far more on lodging appeals or further applications, than it would have cost them to instruct a specialist to do the job in the first place.
The Points Based System currently being rolled out should, in theory, make the whole process simpler and more transparent.
See also “Minister launches consultation on visit visas”.