Immigration delays and problems are not exclusive to non-EU travellers at London’s Heathrow airport.
Processing delays, as well as refusals, are increasingly being experienced by migrants applying for visa extensions, indefinite leave to remain and UK Naturalisation or British Citizenship.
Even EU citizens are not exempt from long waits to exercise treaty rights.
Yellow Card applications for Bulgarians and Romanians are taking up to six months on postal applications and getting an appointment to hand in the documents at the Croydon public office is like trying to get a ticket for the London Olympics.
A year ago it took 3 to 4 weeks to obtain a yellow card to study and work in the UK.
Busier than ever with appeals
Anecdotal evidence from immigration advisers suggest an upsurge in immigration and visa appeal cases, as more refusals are dished out for cases which they say would have been granted in the past.
Despite the abolition of student visa appeal rights, following the introduction of Tier 4 of the points based system in 2009, the waiting rooms at Taylor House and Hatton Cross First Tier Tribunal hearing centres look as packed as ever.
Cynthia Barker, of OISC registered immigration appeal specialist advisers Bison Management said they are ‘busier than ever’ with appeal cases:
‘We have seen more and more clients, especially in the last six months who wish to appeal against refusals by the UK Border Agency or British Embassy visa sections.
‘Bison has won a huge number of appeals including cases on human rights grounds for an overstayer.
‘But the work doesn’t stop once the appeal has been granted. Getting the UKBA or British Embassy to issue the visa is proving more difficult than ever!’
Bulgarian wins student yellow card appeal
Cynthia added that even EU citizens such as Bulgarians and Romanians are forced to go to appeal at the First-tier Tribunal to obtain their yellow card and exercise their European treaty rights.
‘Last month an immigration Judge at Taylor House overturned a student yellow card refusal for a Bulgarian applicant who had been working in the UK since 2009 a self employed yellow card.’
The UK Border Agency refused her client’s student yellow card application because ‘as she had started working, her intention was to work rather than study’.
The self employed Bulgarian wanted to switch to a student card and had enrolled on an NVQ course at Majestic College.
Her application for a student registration card was rejected by the UK Border Agency Bulgarian and Romanian unit in Sheffield.
Rather than reapply and wait several months for another refusal, her immigration advisers, Bison UK, lodged a full appeal at the First-tier Tribunal and a hearing date was granted in 5 weeks.
‘Any work placement is simply a part of that study.’ Immigration Judge Saunders
The hearing at London’s Taylor House lasted less than 45 minutes and the Immigration Judge ‘allowed’ or granted the appeal.
In her determination (written decision) Immigration Judge Saunders said:
‘The evidence before me established that the Appellant (claimant) has been working lawfully as a self-employed EEA national since 2009, and was issued with a Registration Certificate to this effect on 26.1.10. A copy of this is before me. The correspondence indicates that she enrolled to study her current vocational course prior to commencing her vocational work placement. I do not find her intention was to work rather than study. She is already able to work in her current capacity, and remains able to do so.
‘I find therefore that the Appellant has at all material times intended to study, and that any work placement is simply a part of that study.’
The UK Border Agency states that a Bulgarian or Romanian student yellow applicant cannot work before the card is approved, but the Judge appears to disagree.
Referring to European Economic Area (EEA) Regulations, Judge Saunders added:
‘The Appellant has discharged the burden upon her to establish she is a qualified person, namely a student, within the meaning of regulation 6. I therefore allow the appeal under the 2006 Regulations.’
Unusually, the Judge even awarded costs to the student, ordering the UK Border Agency to refund the appeal fee, since their refusal decision was ‘not in accordance with the law’.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:
Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org