Nath Gbikpi
Nath is a solicitor and has worked with Wesley Gryk Solicitors since June 2014. Nath read Development Studies and Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), before obtaining an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at the University of Oxford and an LLB at the University of London.

Worker Registration Scheme extension unlawful, Court of Appeal confirms

In a decision of 7 November 2017, the Court of Appeal unanimously found, yet again, that the extension of the Worker Registration Scheme from 1 May 2009 to 30 April 2011 was unlawful and incompatible with EU law. The case is Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Gubeladze [2017] EWCA Civ 1751. The facts of the case are not necessary to understand the outcome, so I will not dwell on them. What was the Worker Registration Scheme? On 1 May 2004, ten new states joined the European Union. Of those, eight are large countries in eastern Europe and are collectively referred to as the “A8 states”. Annex VIII…

9th November 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

The First-tier Tribunal can re-open complaints determined by the OISC

The case of Visa Joy Ltd will be of interest to immigration advisers regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). The OISC makes sure that immigration advisers meet certain standards and are “fit and competent” to provide immigration advice and services. It will register as immigration advisers those considered “competent and otherwise fit to provide immigration advice and immigration services” (Schedule 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999). The OISC also has the power to cancel a person’s registration if it considers they are no longer competent or are otherwise unfit to provide immigration advice and services. Someone whose registration is cancelled may appeal to the…

24th October 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Self-sufficiency, health insurance and welfare benefits: the case of AMS

In a decision of 19 September 2017, Upper Tribunal Judge Ward dismissed a Dutch widow’s appeal against the refusal of her claim for state pension credit on the basis that she had no right to reside in the UK. Although a disappointing result for Mrs AMS, the case is a great starting point to remind ourselves of the meaning of “self-sufficiency” under EU law. It also reminds us that self-sufficient EU nationals may, in some circumstances, access welfare benefits. Background The claimant, a Netherlands national, is an 88-year-old widow. She was married to a British citizen who had served in the British armed forces and died in 1994. Her children…

17th October 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Immigration and nationality law following surrogacy agreements

A surrogacy arrangement is, broadly speaking, where a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person. Under section 2(1) of the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985, it is a criminal offence for a person on a commercial basis to initiate or take part in a surrogacy agreement in the UK. Many families in the UK opt for countries where commercial surrogacy is lawful, such as the USA and Ukraine. However, children born out of surrogacy arrangements will not necessarily be born British, even when the commissioning parents are British. This is mainly because of the definition of “father” and “mother” under British nationality law. Questions then arise as to the…

11th October 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Hospital orders and deportation

In Secretary of State for the Home Department v KE (Nigeria) [2017] EWCA Civ 382, the Court of Appeal tackled the narrow, but important, issue as to whether a non-British citizen who is convicted and sentenced to a hospital order with restrictions under sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 is “a foreign criminal who has been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least four years” for the purposes of section 117C(6) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, so that the public interest requires his deportation unless there are very compelling circumstances that mean that it would be a disproportionate interference with his rights under article 8 of the European Convention on…

4th October 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Permanent residence through incapacity to work: no UK derogation

The claimant in SSWP v NZ (ESA) [2017] UKUT 0360 (AAC) is a Polish national who worked in a chip shop. On 4 September 2017, the Upper Tribunal released a third interim decision in the case, relating to a very specific issue: had the UK derogated from Article 17 of Directive 2004/38 by the Accession (Immigration and Worker Registration) Regulations 2004? The claimant’s employment had been registered belatedly under the Worker Registration Scheme, with effect from December 2006. She continued working until March 2007, when she went on maternity leave. After that she had been unwell for a while and made unsuccessful attempts to return to work, but her employment was terminated in November 2007….

3rd October 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Fee waiver policy: who qualifies and what does the Home Office policy say?

Fees for immigration applications continue to increase every year. Most applications for leave to remain submitted from the UK (other than under the Point Based System) cost £993. In addition, applicants may need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (usually £500). On average, therefore, an applicant will need to spend almost £1500 to get leave to remain in the UK. This is, in fact, the very bare minimum. One may also need to pay £150 to pass an English language test for applications where there is an English language requirement; £590 for the Premium Service Centre for those who simply cannot leave their passport with the Home Office for months;…

4th September 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

The Theis case: immigration and nationality law for adopted children

The story of Patrick Thies, a US NHS surgeon who had to return to the US to apply for a new visa for his two adopted children while his British wife and biological son remained in the UK, made the news a couple of weeks ago. Immigration and nationality law as it relates to international adoption is undoubtedly complex and a topic with which only a few practitioners are familiar. There are numerically very few international adoption cases, after all. The inevitable cross over with family law does not make it any easier. This blog post provides an overview of the subject. Types of adoption The first thing to note…

21st August 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

A genuine couple can enter in a marriage of convenience, says High Court

A couple may enter into a “marriage of convenience”, even if they are in a genuine relationship. This was, in summary, the finding of the High Court in the case of Molina, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWHC 1730 (Admin). Background The Appellant, Mr Molina is a Bolivian national. He entered the UK illegally in April 2007 using a false Bolivian passport. In April 2013, he met an Italian national, Ms Salguero, and they entered in a relationship in October 2013. They moved in together in September 2014 and planned to get married on 19 May 2015. On 26 February…

16th August 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

MAC to examine the role EU nationals play in the UK economy and society

Yesterday, 27 July 2017, the Home Secretary commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee to examine the role EU nationals play in the UK economy and society. Amber Rudd has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to examine the British labour market, the overall role of migration in the wider economy and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy. The commission represents an extremely important piece of work, with free movement ending when we exit the EU. Plans for the UK’s future immigration system are being developed which will enable the government to control the flow of migration from Europe. The Home Office will ask the MAC to focus…

28th July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Supreme Court confirms that burden for proving marriage of convenience rests with Home Office

The Supreme Court has handed down its judgement in the case of Sadovska and another (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) (Scotland) [2017] UKSC 54. In unanimously allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that the burden of proof of establishing a ‘marriage of convenience’ falls on the Home Office. The court therefore concurred with the previous rulings of the Court of Appeal in the cases of Rosa v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 14 and Agho v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 1198 The Appellants are Ms Sadovska, a Lithuanian national, and Mr Malik, a Pakistani national. Ms Sadovska, having lived and…

26th July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

When wrongly denied a right of appeal, the solution is to appeal

The nature of applications which attract a right of appeal have been greatly restricted by the Immigration Act 2014. In summary, only refused human rights applications, or applications for protection, are appealable. All other applications can be challenged by way of Judicial Review or administrative review only. What is the position of individuals who argue, however, that they were wrongly denied a right of appeal? In the case of Saqib Zia Khan v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 424, the Court of Appeal found that the appropriate forum to challenge these decisions is the First-Tier Tribunal. Background The procedural history of the case is complex, but…

18th July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

£48,000 damages awarded to torture survivor for injuries suffered during deportation attempt

Following a seven-day hearing in the High Court, Mr Felix Wamala, a Ugandan national, was awarded £48,000 in damages for the actions of private security guards contracted by the Home Office in seeking to remove him from the UK. This is the case of Wamala v Tascor Services Ltd [2017] EWHC 1461. The judgment is a mammoth one, weighing in at 558 paragraphs plus annexes. Mr Wamala’s claim concerned the use of force, and the threatened use of force, against him by employees of Reliance, now known as Tascor Services Ltd. Tascor is a subsidiary of Capita. As they say on their website: As part of Capita PLC, we have the…

17th July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Upper Tribunal rules it unsafe to return anyone to Libya

The violence in Libya has reached such a high level that substantial grounds are shown for believing that a returning civilian would, solely on account of his presence on the territory of that country or region, face a real risk of being subject to a threat to his life or person. This is the country guidance the Upper Tribunal gave in the case of ZMM (Article 15(c)) Libya CG [2017] UKUT 263 (IAC), overturning the earlier country guidance of AT and Others (Article 15c; risk categories) (CG) [2014] UKUT 318 (IAC). The Tribunal gave country guidance on the following issues: Is the Appellant at risk under Article 15(c) if returned to Libya?…

3rd July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Self-employed workers do not have the same rights as employees under EU law, confirms the Court of Appeal

In the case of Hrabkova v Secretary of State for Work and Pension [2017] EWCA Civ 794, the Court of Appeal confirmed once again that self-employed individuals do not have the same rights as workers under EU law. The specific question in this case was whether a person with a child at school who had been self employed and ceased work might be entitled to claim Employment Support Allowance. Some legal background It might be useful to start by setting out the law underpinning this case. By virtue of Article 10 of the EU Regulation 492/2011, the child of an EEA national who works or has worked in the UK…

2nd July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Indefinite detention does not breach ECHR says European Court of Human Rights

Arben Draga v United Kingdom (Application no. 33341/13) Unlike most other European countries, there is no time limit on immigration detention in the UK. In addition, the law does not provide for an automatic judicial review of the lawfulness of detention. Instead, detainees must proactively challenge the lawfulness of their detention. In an admissibility decision of 18 May 2017, the European Court of Human Rights found that this system does not violate the European Convention of Human Rights, an in particular article 5 on the right to liberty. Factual background Arben Draga is a Kosovan national residing in the UK. He was granted refugee status and indefinite leave to remain in December 2001….

30th May 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Coruscating criticism by President of Home Office behaviour in refugee family reunion case

To summarise, figuratively the Secretary of State does not have a leg upon which to stand either factually or legally. These were the words used by Mr Justice McCloskey, president of the Upper Tribunal, in the judicial review case of Mohamed Al-Anizy. Needless saying, he was not very impressed by the Secretary of State´s behaviour, in this case in relation to her application (or, rather, non-application) of its guidance on family reunion for refugees. Background of the case The Applicant, Mr Al-Anizy, is a husband and father of four children, aged between 3 and 10 years old. The family are Kuwaiti Bidoons. The Kuwaiti authorities issued a warrant of arrest…

19th May 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Home Office application to delay Calais Jungle child asylum case refused by tribunal

In an oral decision in the case of R (on the application of AO & AM) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (stay of proceedings – principles) [2017] UKUT 168 (IAC) given on 28 March 2017, the Upper Tribunal refused the Secretary of State’s application to stay the Judicial Review proceedings of AO and AM, two unaccompanied minors previously in the Calais Jungle, and who had been refused their transfer to the UK under the expedited Dublin III process. In the decision Mr Justice McCloskey, President of the Upper Tribunal, offers very useful and interesting guidance on the principles to be followed in applications to stay proceedings pending…

3rd May 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

General grounds for refusal: contriving to frustrate the intention of the rules

Sometimes a migrant here in the UK unlawfully will want to apply for immigration status. Lawyers and the Home Office often call this “regularising” their status, because the person becomes a “regular” migrant within the rules rather than an “irregular” one outside the rules. One of the ways to do this is by leaving the country and making an application for Entry Clearance from outside the UK. Changes to the immigration rules, however, have made it successively harder and harder to acquire lawful status after being unlawfully present in the UK. One of the provisions that make this particularly hard is contained in paragraph 320 (11) of the Immigration Rules. Paragraph…

14th March 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

General grounds for refusal: understanding re-entry bans for past breaches of immigration rules

The Home Office can impose entry bans to individuals who have previously breached immigration law or used deception in their applications for leave. Bans can last 1 year, 2 years, 5 years or 10 years. Generally speaking, and except for some minor exception, an individual will not be allowed to re-enter the UK during the length of the ban. That all sounds straightforward, however the rules regarding re-entry bans are much more complex than that, so let’s try to disentangle them. Re-entry bans: what periods apply when? The relevant rules relating to entry bans are at paragraphs A320 and 320(7B) of the Immigration Rules. Paragraph 320 (7B) reads: where the applicant has…

10th March 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

General grounds for refusal: owing a debt to the NHS

On 6 February 2017, the government announced that new regulations will come into force in April 2017, requiring all hospitals to check whether patients are eligible for free NHS treatment and, if not, to charge them upfront for non-urgent, planned care. This is part of “plans to recover the cost of health treatments provided to patients not ordinarily resident in the UK”, with the government aiming at recovering up to £500 million a year from overseas visitors not eligible for free care by 2017-2018. The Immigration Health Surcharge, introduced in April 2015, is also part of this “master plan”; according to the Department of Health, it generated £164 million in…

28th February 2017 By Nath Gbikpi