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NVQ Student wins visa appeal but ‘business as usual’ by ECO’s under Tier 4 | Immigration Matters

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As yet another Filipino NVQ Student wins a Visa appeal, in the UK at the AIT (Asylum and Immigration Tribunal), after being refused by the British Embassy in Manila, we are receiving an alarming number of reports of pedantic refusals under Tier 4, for which there is no appeal.

Visa appeals have been abolished for student visa refusals applying under Tier 4 in line with new ‘points based’ rules.

Students refused entry clearance under Tier 4 of the points based system, which took effect on 31 March 2009, will now have their cases reviewed by an ECM (Entry Clearance Manager) under the new ‘Administrative Review’ system.

ECM’s reviewing cases under the old appeal system almost always upheld their officers refusal and appellants ad to go all the way to a full hearing for justice to be served up by an Immigration Judge.

Entry Clearance Officers (ECO) now have a far more narrow scope under which they can refuse a Tier 4 application, as student visa refusals must be based on factual information, such as a forged document or incorrect visa letter. For instance, if the applicant submitted a false bank statement or the college produce a letter for the wrong course.

The UK Border Agency assured educational providers at several meetings in London that the new system will be more straightforward and that the ‘culture’ in Embassies would change.

But it appears that some ECO’s are still upholding the tradition and culture of looking for any excuse to deny a student visa application.

Tier 4 only started just over three months ago, yet student applicants are already reporting that they have been refused for reasons such as the college not stating the word ‘General’, as in ‘General Student Visa’, on the visa letter.

Others complain that they are denied over a missing phrase in the letter, which leads the ECO to conclude “on the balance of probabilities…etc, etc, etc”.

In other words it’s ‘business as usual’ down at your local visa post.

Refusals under paragraph 57 of the previous immigration rules will still be allowed a full appeal. Therefore, if your student visa application (VAF) was submitted before 31 March 2009 (which are still being processed at larger Embassies), you should still have the right of appeal. Fortunately, this student has the opportunity to appeal and the benefit of an OISC regsitered Immigration Adviser, Bison UK, handing his case at the AIT. He has now reported to Majestic College, where he will start his NVQ Health and Social Care Course.

If you have any ‘Tier 4’ horror stories, share them with Immigration Matters in the comments section below, which will be reported to the UK Border Agency. 

Overseas students are worth £8 billion to the UK economy, according to the Home Office. It is vital that these issues are dealt with quickly by the Government, otherwise educational providers and the economy ar large will lose out.

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit


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22 Responses to “NVQ Student wins visa appeal but ‘business as usual’ by ECO’s under Tier 4”
Read them below or add one

  1. Hi, in 2011 i applied for leave to remain a student visa tier 4 general, after couple of weeks the returned my application due to fact that they couldn’t take money from my account, afterwards i send it again but the visa was already expired, and about month later i got refusal letter with no rights to appeal. The reason was i didn’t demonstrate in my bank statement that i had the money for 28 days.The reason was dhl service , my parents send me bank statement from my country and it was suppose to take 3 days but it took more, so i didnt have time to translate the second page of the bank letter where was written that i had money for 28 days. Then i went to solicitor for advice and they suggest me to apply for reconsideration , which i did. But home office refuse it and suggest to submit a fresh application either inside or outside the country. At that time the new rules were input, apart of cas letter and bank statements all student has to provide english test certificates like IELTS or PEARSON. As i didnt have my passport with me (home office keep it) i could take none of these tests. My solicitor suggest me to go back home voluntarily so i did. When i apply from my country i got refuse again , this time was even worth . It was under paragraph 320 7A deception, but it was not dishonest , in my application form i didnt mention that i have required to leave the UK, because of lack of knowledge , i havent receive any notice from home office that why couldnt answer this question correctly, and plus my previously overstay , so now i am ban for 10 years . So because of some stupid mistakes that i did myself i cannot finish my degree, i was suppose to do the last year of bachelor. I’ve spoke to some solicitor but they said there is no point to apply for administrative review.

  2. Hi Theingi,
    i had the same proble as you. What did you eventually do and what was the out come?

  3. Theingi says :

    Dear Charles Kelly,
    I applied Tier 4 General Student visa and was refused as I didn’t get 30 points for CAS. However, I submitted all of the necessary documents listed on CAS but in the refusal letter, they stated that they were not satisfied that all the original documents listed on CAS were submitted Please advise me what I should do.

  4. HI,
    My spouse visa was refused for overstaying under paragraph 320(7B) and the balance of probabilities that i am not the spouse of my wife(Sponsor).

    I have appealled and am hoping the appeal will not get to tribunal b4 they overturned the initial decision. I also received an acknowledge letter from the Embassy saying they received my appeal and it will take few months to prepare an explanatory letter before sending to AIT, does that mean the ECO will not change his/her initial decision.
    please advice

  5. Mary Jean D. Santander says :

    Hi Mr. Charles Kelly,
    This is in continuation with 1st letter coz I forget 2 mention that my application was submitted and processed by Bison Mngt. and my application letter also was addressed to u,prior 2 our application we received already our naric assessment but after that we heard nothing at all.I try to fax my query to follow but I dont receive any feedback please Mr. Kelly,I dont lose hope that until now it could still be possible that I could come to UK with your help,CPV phil. now is already closed and I dont think we could be able to get back the money that we paid to them but instead continue to strugle.Hope I could rely on you.Thank u so much.Best regards!

  6. You need to contact the college or your legal adviser to consider asking for a review or reapplying.

  7. Ask the school why they told the embassy they had no record of you. The embassy can only make an entry clearance decision based on the facts before them.

  8. veronica sy says :

    HI there sir,i just got my visa and the result is the refusal of my entry clearance.the reason why they refuse my application is that the school that i have enrolled in has no record that they have given me a visa letter. But I a called the school awhile ago to confirm if I was on their list of students and the school confirmed..can you please help me.. i need some advice thank you.

  9. Veronica sy says :

    HI there sir,i just got my visa and the result is the refusal of my entry clearance.the reason why they refuse my application is that the school that i have enrolled in has no record that they have given me a visa letter. But I a called the school awhile ago to confirm if I was on their list of students..can you please help me.. i need some advice thank you.

  10. hi there sir,we would like to ask about this, ” the request for his administrative review was upheld by the entry clearance manager on review”, what does it mean?thank you , we are looking forward for your response.

  11. JUNAID says :


  12. Janette says :

    Dear Charles Kelly,

    I am writing to seek your help in resolving a problem that I am experiencing at work.My problem is my employer who’s terminating my contract with unreasonable reason and they did not give my full salary and reimbursement. Here are the details of what happened to me from the start.

    Last december 08. I was interviewed by the agent. He asked me if I’m still looking for a job in UK. I send all my credentials and other documents to him.I’ve received an e-mail from him that there’s one employer that interested to me.

    I was interviewed by heads of the company.They asked me about my current work and if I’ll do ultrasound scanning. I said that I can do scanning but specialized in GYNE/BREAST.I mentioned them that I’m a registered in Health Professional Council here in Uk.They said that they need a sonographer that knows how to do ultrasound gynaecology.I’ll passed all thier questions and they asked me to processed my papers as soon as possible.After my visa has been done I asked them if I can extend my week in singapore to fixed some of my documents but the company did not allow me because they need me as soon as possible.

    I started report to the company and signed some documents.They mentioned that I’ll be going to hospital for my assessment.On the next day, July 7, 2009 I went to that hospital for my assessment I did scanning, three cases and did a report from one of my cases. After that the Lead sonographer started asking me about my qualification.He mentioned about this degree certification degree in ultrasound then I said to him that I’m not aware of that certification degree in ultarsound because the company asked me only that time if I’m a HPC registered. He mentioned that “I can scan and can do a report” but the problem is that I’m not holding a qualification degree which is recognised in this country. My assessment by him was carried out only by “one day”, after that they called me to inform that I will be shadowing again by senior sonographer for two weeks. I managed to scan all gynae cases independently. She asked me to do reporting as well. Based on her assessment she told me that I’m good in gynae which I proved to her that I can report as well. I also showed to her my willingness to learn in other procedure aside from gynae. After my shadowing I kept calling the coordinator about my next duty, my salary and reimbursement (claims) because my budget is about to finished. He kept promising me that it would be sort it out. Until he called me and said that the CEO of the company wants to talked to me.

    July 28 ,2009 the CEO of the company talked to me regarding my status and clarifying my payment. He mentioned they hard to them to find clinic that suitable for me because I can only do gynaecology cases. I’ll explained my side that they aware of that I’m a gynae specialist and the job that they offered to me is exclusive for gynae cases and now they questioning me about all of this, but then he told me that they will try to find clinic that suitable for me. He mentioned also that I will be getting my half of my salary for the month of July including my reimbursement claims and he will find a clinic for me and probably be starting on August 3, 2009 aside from that I will be getting my full salary starting on August 1. I thought everything is settled until the next day the coordinator called me again and said that one of the heads of the company wants to have a meeting with me again.

    July 30,2009 I was shocked and feel that I was harassed by them because they want me to signed my termination letter stated that the reason why they not accepting me is that I didn’t passed my assessment which carried out by one day, I did not signed, because I know that it’s an excuses reason and I’ll trust the word of the CEO that he will find the suitable clinic for me. I tried to appeal with them but they didn’t give me a chance. And until now they keep promising that I will be getting my half salary and reimbursement claims for this month but until now I haven’t received yet my full payment. They mentioned also that I need to find a new job and they also help me.

    July 30, 2009 I called the coordinator to follow again my half salary and reimbursement and he transferred me to the payroll. They told me that it will take time or days to receive my money. I start crying to them and said that how can I survive this weekened then they asked me to wait and said that their somebody to call me. I received a call from the owner of the company and he asked me about what happen because his not aware of. I explained to him about my situation. He told me that they will sort it out again and bring it up to the CEO how much I receive. I told him that the CEO promised me that I will be getting my salary and reimbursement for the month of July. The owner of the company told me that they need to have meeting first and sort it again and see how much money I will receive. They mentioned also that they will transfer money to my account but they didn’t tell me how much it is .After half an hour I checked my account and they only transferred 1000pounds, which is supposedly 1600pounds (started from July 6-30). I informed the coordinator about this.

    August 4, 2009 I spoke to finance regarding my salary. They told me that they on process and she mentioned that I will be getting 1100pounds after tax and I said to them that CEO promised me that I will be getting 1500+500= 2,000punds since I stay in the company’s accommodation they will deduct 400pounds so I will received a total of 1600pounds in hand. They mentioned also that I will not claim my reimbursement (airfare ticket, travel, food etc) because the head finance told her that since I’m staying in the company’s accommodation they will be holding all my claims. I even spoke to the head of the finance and he agrees about that and he will confirm also to Dr. CEO. I send an e-mail to them that I’m requesting to have meeting to the CEO and to the rest of them but I don’t received response from them.

    It seems that the company is not concern on their staff and I prove to that because I suffered a lot of bad experiences in this company. They don’t care on whatever what happens to me. They don’t give efforts to check on my situation weather I’m okay or not. Everyday I’m stressed, restless, no peace of mind, starving and that’s all my experiences in this company.

    I sacrifice my work in singapore. I’ve lost everything. I thought the job is waiting for me. They rush my papers for me to go here as soon as possible, and then after I arrived they terminate my contract just like that. During my assessment I proved to them that I’m confident in scanning and reporting which all my trainers agrees to that I think it’s only their excuse to terminate my contract. At first they told me that they are looking for a clinic for where they can assign me, and then after awhile they told me they are getting a hard time to find a clinic for me after that they terminate my contract because they told me that I did not pass the assessment. How can I believe that I failed when at first they told me that they are impressed with my skills and secondly right after they told me that they are getting a hard time finding a clinic for me they suddenly told me that I failed the assessment.

    They are torturing me. I didn’t expect that it will happen to me. I sacrifice everything to this company. I don’t deserve this. From the start I’ll be honest to the company so I think I deseve to know the “REAL TRUTH” why this all happened to me.

    My questions are:

    1. If they cancel my permit, my 3years visa will not valid already? How long can I still to stay here?
    2. If I find another job, can I still complain this company for what they did to me?
    3. If they terminate my contract, the company’s is not responsible to me already?
    4. Can I fight for this kind of case?


  13. You need to take advice from an immigration adviser (OISC Registered) or lawyer specialising in Entry Clearance appeals. Uou must put forward a strong case and if possible have representation.
    The IAS may also be able to help. Good luck.

  14. Shakeel says :

    Hi. Mr.Charles Kelly,

    It give me surprise to read the refusal letter, as British High Commission, Chennai’s entry clearance officer Mr.M Christie stated in his refusal of entry clearance that, I am a person who has been refused entry on arrival to the United Kingdom on a previous occasion. On evidence of having some similar identities the ECO has strongly arrived at a decision that the already encountered person and myself to be same.

    I do kindly and earnestly request to go into further depth of information regarding the questioned matter herein. Moreover I like to draw your kind notice to what I felt some logical aspects,

    (1) The encountered person is a different National with a different passport unlike me. The passport holds a different photograph too. It is not me.

    (2) The Visa Officer had matched the same name and the same dates of birth which can be rarely exist perhaps. But it is not me.

    (3) If his decision is perfect, it is noble, but the question is if he was indifferent to me. Why the ECO did not check my biometric details ?I vehemently believe that I am on the side of bad fate.

    (4) According to his cited arguments it has happened in September 2008. Please be mindful of this is the second entry refusal of mine on my first application dated 05th January 2009, Ref: Chennai\ 916411. My first application was submitted after sufficient time of the encountered person’s one. Then the obvious question is that why the first refusal had no relevancy with the fresh question he has raised.

    Therefore, I have made an appeal at AIT regarding this matter and appeal is to heard on 10th of October,2009. Mr.Chales do you think that this appeal would work out? I am looking forward your kind reponse regarding this matter.


  15. Mr.Charles Kelly
    Thanks you very much for your immediately responce.

  16. You can apply for a sudent visa to the UK from any British Embassy.

  17. Hay Mr. Charles Kelly,

    Iam planning to study in UK,but i have a question.Right now iam working here in UAE there is a possible to apply my visa here. or i need to apply my visa to my own country.Iam a Pilippino and iam holding Residence visa in Abu dhabi. Pls can u reply me back as soon. thanks you and god bless.

  18. It depends on why you were refused. If you applied under Tier 4 you could ask for an Administrative Review, but if you were refused because your documentation was incorrect it would be quicker to reapply. If you think the ECO’s decision is wrong, ask for a review – but this will take several weeks.

  19. Emilio says :




  20. Chase them and the AIT. 6 weeks is not that long in these cases.

    You could also write to the AIT and even the Judge.

  21. My husband has won his appeal about 6 weeks ago however the ECO in ghana has niot issued him with a visa claiming they have not received a COPY OF THE JUDGES DECISION. ANY IDEAS OF WHAT TO DO.

  22. Hi Mr. Charles Kelly,

    I am still waiting for my NVQ visa application results, submitted last Feb 2009. I would like to ask, what if my funds sponsor already used most of his money in the bank & the embassy finds out; thus a probable visa refusal. If this will be my reason for visa denial, can i lodge an appeal with a new or replacement sponsor?


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