Overstaying and breaching the terms of your visa, for instance illegally working whilst in the UK on a visitor visa, are criminal offences which could carry a fine or prison sentence. In practice, the Secretary of State or UK Border Agency (UKBA) will seek to remove or deport you from the UK rather than keep you in prison.
Immigration Matters receives a large number of enquiries from visa overstayers and students who have been detained pending Administrative Removal under ‘section 10’ from the UK within 72 hours.
In other words, the detainee has just four days, two of which are working days if they are detained at the weekend, to find and instruct an immigration adviser to help them prevent the removal and, where possible, regularise their stay in the UK before they are bundled on to a plane.
The old saying “prevention is better than cure” comes to mind when helping an overstayer in an immigration detention centre who could have submitted an application to the UKBA before they got picked up by border officers and served with removal directions.
The UKBA now employ a private firm to track down visa overstayers and they are paid on results.
In a recent case a Nigerian student visa overstayer was arrested after his London flat was raided by immigration officers at 6.30am.
After spending almost 80 days in detention and a large amount of money on bail and judicial review hearings his removal date was set.
It was at this point that his EEA national partner contact Cynthia Barker’s immigration adviser firm. Cynthia said:
“After an in depth consultation with a specialist appeals adviser it became clear that his previous lawyers had focused only on frustrating the removal and getting him out on bail.
“However, they had failed to advise him that he could apply to remain in the UK under EU regulations, rather than UK Immigration Rules, as the partner of an EEA national.”
The immigration team worked through the night to submit an urgent application to regularise his stay under EEA regulations and, after many phone calls and faxes, eventually managed to prevent the removal minutes before his chartered ‘deportation’ flight was due to take off.
Other cases of illegal entrants and over staying visa holders have involved British partners, children born to British citizens or person settled in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Remain), domestic violence or human rights and Article 8 issues, all of which could have been applied for prior to a stressful arrest and detention.
Many migrants fail to take action or are unaware of their human rights and are needlessly removed or deported. Once out of the UK, they will not have the same access to justice or the chance of an in-country appeal.
Many lawyers are unaware of the fact that in certain cases you could have a right to an in-country appeal, even if the UKBA say your appeal must be heard outside the UK.
“Take professional and confidential immigration advice before you get picked up and removed. Many overstayers are afraid to come forward and talk to an adviser.
“Immigration advisers treat everything you say to them in strict confidence, so you be safe in the knowledge that they will do their best to help you legalise your stay in the UK, but are not under obligation not report you to the authorities.
“Some of our clients who had been hiding for years using false names and documents were able to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain and British passports for their children, so never give up or think that your situation is hopeless.”
If you have been detained, need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email:
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