Sarah Pinder

Sarah is a specialist immigration barrister at Mansfield Chambers in London. She also practices in family law and has a particular interest in cross-over issues within the two areas of law. Prior to joining the Bar, Sarah worked for 6 years in the not-for-profit sector as a specialist immigration caseworker.

The Born Again Legacy ?

Following an oral renewal hearing on permission, our colleague Ripon Akther, instructed by Waleed Hassan of Malik and Malik, and their client were granted permission by His Honour Judge Thornton QC in the Legacy case of R (on the application of Prenga) v SSHD [2013] EWHC 1981 (Admin).

23rd July 2013 By Sarah Pinder

Hope for Families Divided by the Income Threshold

Last week Monday, I represented a married couple in the husband’s immigration appeal in the First-Tier Tribunal instructed by Yomi Oni-Williams of Owens Solicitors.  I have the couple’s consent to write this post although there is no need for me to publish any identifying information.

22nd July 2013 By Sarah Pinder

Divided Families Day of Action – 9 July 2013

Following the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration’s report published on 10 June 2013 – covered on Free Movement earlier last month – the ‘new’ family migration rules have been debated twice in Parliament.  First, within a Westminster Hall debate on 19 June 2013 (Hansard & video footage) and more recently, in the House of Lords on 4 July 2013 (Hansard & video footage).  The latter was rather ominous, as we now know, that was the day before Mr Justice Blake’s judgment in MM & Ors v SSHD [2013] EWHC 1900 (Admin) handed down on Friday in relation to the income threshold of £18,600 and covered on Free Movement here. In the…

8th July 2013 By Sarah Pinder

When You Don’t Exist

“There are now more than 45 million refugees and internally displaced people – the highest level in nearly 20 years.  Figures give only a glimpse of this enormous human tragedy. Every day, conflict tears apart the lives of thousands of families. They may be forced to leave loved ones behind or become separated in the chaos of war.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon It was World Refugee Day yesterday and it is currently Refugee Week in the UK.  The film above is from Amnesty International’s campaign “When You Don’t Exist” for the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe and at its borders: People move to Europe for different reasons. Some flee persecution…

21st June 2013 By Sarah Pinder

Parliament Committee Report on New Family Rules and Westminster Debate

Last week, Free Movement posted the fruits of a FoI request disclosing the statistics in relation to partner applications from pre- and post-July 2012.  These figures were then analysed and fair conclusions were drawn in relation to gender discrimination on the basis that female sponsors generally earn less than male ones and therefore would find it more difficult to meet the new income threshold for maintenance. Last week, also saw the publication of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration’s inquiry entitled “Report of the Inquiry into New Family Migration Rules” June 2013. This is a welcome report, which looked in particular at the new minimum income threshold of £18,600 (with…

20th June 2013 By Sarah Pinder

Operation Nexus

The Met Police website tells us that: Operation Nexus, designed and delivered by the MPS and UKBA, aims to maximise intelligence, information and world wide links to improve how we deal with and respond to foreign nationals breaking the law. AC Rowley, in charge of Specialist Crime and Operations at the Met also states that: Nexus is dealing with those people who we catch offending, but also takes a long term preventative approach by stopping people from returning or being able to arrive in the first place. Last week Friday, Operation Nexus featured on the front page of The Times newspaper (for those with the subscription) as the focus of the…

12th June 2013 By Sarah Pinder

Chikwamba delivers again

Last month saw the advent of a very useful decision from the High Court concerning the lack of provision in the Immigration Rules to allow migrants in the Points-Based System to switch whilst in-country into a PBS dependent category: Zhang, R (on the application of) v SSHD [2013] EWHC 891 (Admin).  The category analysed within this judgment is that relating to a Tier 2 migrant seeking to switch to become a Tier 1 (PSW) dependant – Paragraph 319C (h)(i).  Mr Justice Holman’s judgment has wider application and so it is certainly not a case to let slip under the radar. Rather remarkably, the claimant in this case brought the Judicial Review claim…

28th May 2013 By Sarah Pinder

No Fire Zone – The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka

As most of you know, Renaissance Chambers has developed expertise in conducting Tamil asylum claims.  The issues involved in these cases have been previously covered on Free Movement here and these include in particular Chambers’ and the NGOs’ efforts to combat recent charter flights set by the UK Border Agency to remove en masse failed Tamil asylum seekers to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Last week, Chambers had the pleasure of co-hosting with Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) and the LSE a screening of the forthcoming documentary ‘No Fire Zone – The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’.  This follows 2 previous and shorter documentaries broadcast by Channel 4 in 2011 and 2012 and…

13th May 2013 By Sarah Pinder

New UKBA announcement on the English language requirements

As we saw yesterday, the topic of English language is de rigueur at the moment. Last week, the UKBA also announced in its April 2013 Statement of Intent that the government is planning changes to the Immigration Rules in relation to the English language requirement when applying for settlement and naturalisation. The planned changes will not take place until 28 October 2013 so, although it seems rare these days, there is some time to take all of this in. The forthcoming changes will be that persons will now be required to pass both the Life in the UK Test and to pass or already hold a qualification at B1 CEFR…

16th April 2013 By Sarah Pinder

The Court of Appeal’s judgment in Chapti/Bibi on pre-entry English tests

It has been over a year since the High Court heard a challenge to the introduction of pre-entry English language tests for spouses and partners (and fiancés and proposed civil partners). It was argued in Chapti & Ors, R (on the application of) v SSHD & Ors [2011] EWHC 3370 (Admin) that the changes to the Immigration Rules were unlawful by reference to Article 8, 12 (right to marry) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the ECHR. In the High Court, Beatson J held that the amendment to the Rules did interfere with the right to respect for family life but that the interference was justified. The claimants appealed to…

15th April 2013 By Sarah Pinder

More Evidential Flexibility Policy instructions disclosed

A big thank you goes to Jane Heybroek of Bell Yard Chambers for persisting with her Freedom of Information request in relation to further documents concerning the Evidential Flexibility policy.  You can access the disclosure here.  The policy (but not Jane’s FoI instructions) was very recently covered by the Upper Tribunal in its decision of Rodriguez (Flexibility Policy) [2013] UKUT 00042 (IAC), to which the other policy instructions are usefully annexed.  Related posts and documents previously uploaded by Free Movement can be accessed here. The documents within Jane’s FoI request are essentially the full sets of instructions that were issued to caseworkers back in August 2009 when the policy was…

6th March 2013 By Sarah Pinder

More new rules…

On 22 November 2012 a new Statement of Changes was laid which brings in quite a few amendments to the Immigration Rules. A large proportion of those changes are yet again to clarify, correct and/or put into place what was apparently always intended with the July 2012 changes. Other changes also include new provisions. Due to the significant number of these changes, I have sought to summarise the more substantial ones below and then I have organised the more technical and perhaps less wide-ranging changes in a table format, which largely relate to the points-based categories and which will be posted shortly. Most of the changes come into force on…

3rd December 2012 By Sarah Pinder

New Statement of Changes – sigh…

Yes another Statement of Changes – HC 565 –  has been laid and (hold your breath), most of it comes into force… today!  I am grateful to Alison Harvey at ILPA, whose hard-work is truly immeasurable:  an e-mail was sent out at 11pm last night alerting members to this following another member (and not the UKBA) bringing it to her attention. We seem to have a repeat achievement from the 19th July Statement of Changes which came into force the day after:  I checked the UKBA website this morning and this current Statement was only laid yesterday… Sigh…  (again) Needless to say that we haven’t managed to go through the whole…

6th September 2012 By Sarah Pinder

Family life as a parent: the new rules

Continuing with our efforts to decipher and digest the new Immigration Rules, this post examines the changes made to the categories relevant to parents of children who are here in the UK. As is common to most if not all categories under the new Rules, this section is also subject to the “Suitability” criteria, which, for some reason, can only be found under ‘Family Life as a Partner’.  These suitability criteria essentially provide for general grounds for refusal which were previously found under Paragraph 320 for example i.e. being subject to a deportation order, presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good, being in breach of the…

30th August 2012 By Sarah Pinder

The interplay between immigration and family proceedings – Part 2

Following up from yesterday, this post is now going to look at the second case of two from the Upper Tribunal setting further guidance as to how to deal with family proceedings.  In Nimako-Boateng (residence orders – Anton considered) [2012] UKUT 00216 (IAC) the UT had considered the position as it related to private law disputes in family proceedings, e.g. contact and residence of a child with their given parent, and that the typical orders arising out of those proceedings are not in effect binding on the SSHD but are relevant considerations when it comes to Article 8 and the best interests of the child. In the second case of RS…

11th July 2012 By Sarah Pinder

The interplay between immigration and family proceedings – Part 1

Two cases were reported very recently from the Upper Tribunal both looking at the impact of family court proceedings and orders on immigration proceedings and vice versa.  The first case of Nimako-Boateng (residence orders – Anton considered) [2012] UKUT 00216(IAC) is dealt with in this post leaving the second case of RS (immigration and family court proceedings) India [2012] UKUT 00218 (IAC) to tomorrow. We will see that both cases add further guidance to the case-law so far of Ciliz v Netherlands (Application no. 29192/95), MS (Ivory Coast) v SSHD [2007] EWCA Civ 133 and MH (pending family proceedings-discretionary leave) Morocco [2010] UKUT 439 (IAC), which all deal with cases…

10th July 2012 By Sarah Pinder

Fairness and the Points-Based System: A contradiction in terms?

Kezia Tobin and Sarah Pinder recently broached this topic at a seminar given by Renaissance Chambers on 13 June 2012 digesting the procedural issues and most recent case-law involved and this post has been put together by them both to highlight some of the issues covered. The notes highlight the “evidential flexibility policy” of the UKBA, which was covered on the blog last year.  Evidently (no pun intended) there has not been any further disclosure of the policy instructions to caseworkers so we are none the wiser as to exactly what criteria are being applied by UKBA caseworkers.   However it is important to note that the standard acknowledgement letters sent…

22nd June 2012 By Sarah Pinder

Fairness to the rescue – Yes, again!

The trend is continuing with the fairly recent Upper Tribunal decision of Basnet (validity of application – respondent) [2012] UKUT 00113 (IAC).  This concerns applications rejected as invalid specifically due to a non-payment of the application fee.  We’ve waited too long for some sensible guidance in this area and this is certainly a very welcome judgment. The Appellant applied in-time for further leave to remain as a Student (Tier 4) supplying his debit/credit card details as payment.  His application was rejected as invalid for non-payment and the standard rejection letter was sent out.  The Appellant re-submitted his application the day after but, by this time, his leave to remain had…

30th April 2012 By Sarah Pinder

Pankina and Beyond! Students and knowledge of English

I recently acted in an appeal concerning a Tier 4 Student application in which the sole reason for refusal concerned the appellant’s English language ability.  Since April 2011 all degree–level students have been required to show knowledge of English equivalent to the “B2” level of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning (‘CEFR’) in all four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening. A similar issue was recently considered by the High Court in the case of Chapti & Ors v SSHD [2011] EWHC 3370 (Admin) where the position in respect of spouses and civil partners applying for entry clearance and the pre-entry entry requirement of A1 CEFR…

1st March 2012 By Sarah Pinder

Fairness to the rescue (again)

The latest case on fairness and the Secretary of State’s duty within the Points-Based System was published earlier last month.  Naved (Student – fairness – notice of points) [2012] UKUT 14(IAC) concerned a student applying for further leave to remain within Tier 4. The SSHD’s sole reason for refusal was that she was not satisfied that he had the requisite level of maintenance funds for not showing that he had an ‘established presence’ in the UK.  [If a person applies for further leave and has been here with leave as a student either having completed  a course of at least 6 months’ duration or having completed 6 months on a…

15th February 2012 By Sarah Pinder

After Zambrano and McCarthy, we now have Dereci…

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Zambrano series

On 15th November 2011, the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘the CJEU’) handed down its judgment in the case of Dereci (C-256/11).  This was a much awaited judgment after the ‘Zambrano and Article 20’ revolution was dampened by McCarthy (see here for previous posts in relation to Zambrano and here for McCarthy).  As a quick reminder, Article 20(1) of the TFEU, with which all these cases are concerned, provides that: “Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship.” Unfortunately I cannot say with confidence that Dereci provides all of the answers in respect to how Article 20…

23rd January 2012 By Sarah Pinder

Another secret policy…

Perhaps not breaking news for some of you but I suspect not everyone has come across the references to the UKBA’s policy of “evidential flexibility” in the context of Points Based System applications. Over the last few months, various documents have been doing the rounds which clearly set out that the UKBA has, since August 2009, introduced a policy of “evidential flexibility”.  This policy apparently allows caseworkers to contact applicants for missing documentation or to correct minor errors once applications have been lodged.  My colleagues and I at Renaissance Chambers first came across this policy when a document from the National Audit Office was circulated – ‘Immigration: the Points Based…

1st November 2011 By Sarah Pinder

Deaths in detention centres

The news coverage over the weekend reporting on the very recent deaths of three men in detention centres is yet another reminder that the system is, in my view, truly abhorrent. The Guardian reported that two men died from suspected heart attacks at Colnbrook near Heathrow airport.  One of the men is Muhammad Shukat, who was 47 years old and of Pakistani nationality.  He died on 2 July.  The article reports that there was some considerable delay between the time that Muhammad Shukat collapsed at 6am and when his roommate raised the alarm and the time when an ambulance was actually called at 7.20am.  A post-mortem found the provisional cause of…

10th August 2011 By Sarah Pinder

A breath of Lush Air

Am slightly behind the drag curve but I could not let pass that the chain of stores Lush Cosmetics has teamed up with the No One is Illegal Campaign.  You may already be familiar with the stores:  hand-made soapy and bubbly stuff that smells (in my view good) from a mile away.  Am certainly a fan but have become even more excited since it joined forces with the campaign, in May, calling for the abolition of immigration controls. Granted this was only for a week but during that week, all of its 95 stores across the country featured the No One Is Illegal (NOII) declaration: “People should be free to…

1st July 2011 By Sarah Pinder

Certificates of Approval abolished

Finally one piece of good news to share: the Certificate of Approval (COA) scheme has been abolished and will no  longer be in place from 9th May 2011.  This was announced on the UKBA website on 7th April 2011 and is very welcome indeed.  Of course, the announcement is slightly dampened by the fact that it took nearly 3 years for this to happen following the House of Lords judgment in Baiai (30th July 2008), which ended MORE THAN 5 YEARS of litigation with the Secretary of State losing all the way (see here for previous relevant posts). The COA scheme required persons, who were subject to immigration control, did…

26th April 2011 By Sarah Pinder

Age assessment disputes and JR claims

A slightly belated post to highlight another important decision of the Court of Appeal that will have relevance to both immigration and family law practitioners.  R (FZ) v London Borough of Croydon [2011] EWCA Civ 59 concerns age dispute assessments and has set further guidance on a) how procedurally speaking the assessments should be conducted and b) how judicial review claims seeking to challenge an age assessment should be dealt with by the courts at the permission stage. The Appellant, FZ, is a 17-year old unaccompanied asylum seeker from Iran, who also had mental health difficulties identified as the consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his experiences…

18th March 2011 By Sarah Pinder