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Refusals withdrawn prior to full AIT hearing say advisers 

Leading appeal specialists, Bison UK, have reported a sharp rise in the number of entry clearance refusals, involving student visas and family cases, overturned by Entry Clearance Managers (ECM’s) at the British Embassy in Manila. 

Previously, Bison UK had to take most appeals all the way to hearing stage at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT), where over 95% of their cases were successful. 

But in the last month, a number of clients in the Philippines have been contacted by the British Embassy to come and get their visas. 

Managers at the company are not sure why the Embassy seems to have had a change of heart, but are none the less delighted to see the notification from the AIT that the “respondent has withdrawn”.  

Most of the refusal grounds for student visas, which have since become obsolete under Tier 4 of the Points Based System, are based on “intention” to return home or study.  

Entry Clearance Officers (ECO’s) should no longer refuse on subjective grounds such as: “on the balance of probabilities you are unlikely to return home at the end of your studies” or “your real intention is to work in the UK rather than study”. 

Visa applicants still have the right of appeal on refusals based on previous Rules, however, refusals under Tier 4 applications (made after 31 March 2009) will be dealt with by an in-house ‘Administrative Review’ system.

Immigration Matters would be interested to hear about your experience with visa appeals – please add your comments below.

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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