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General grounds for refusal: alleged deception and innocent mistakes

Making a mistake on an immigration application form can be disastrous. If the mistake is interpreted by officials as an attempt to mislead or deceive, the application will inevitably be refused. If the application was for entry clearance, it will also lead to a 10 year ban on re-entry to the UK. There are a number of relevant court cases and Home Office policies that can help if such a situation does arise, although of course it is far, far preferable to avoid such a problem in the first place. What are the Immigration Rules on deception? Automatic refusals There are two key effects of a finding of deception by an...

28th March 2017 By Colin Yeo

What do immigration officers look for when assessing visit visa applications?

“Two visas had been rejected … I was wrenched by a heavy feeling of humiliation…trying to prove that I’m a “normal person” like any Englishman, that I’m not aspiring to swap my career in Egypt as a cartoonist [and] scriptwriter … for British social welfare, that I really want to see my wife’s grandmother who is really old, and that’s it.” – Andeel, Egypt (taken from an article featured in Mada Masr, an Egyptian online newspaper) In the year to September 2016, UK immigration authorities received almost 2 million applications for visit visas. Just over 15% of these applications were rejected. That is almost 300,000 decisions to refuse entry. We...

6th March 2017 By Colin Yeo

Could Donald Trump be given a visa ban preventing him travelling to the UK?

Following his attention seeking call for all Muslims to be banned from entering the United States, there have been calls for Donald Trump to be given a “visa ban” preventing him from coming to the UK. Is this feasible in UK immigration law? The answer is probably “yes” although one recent court challenge by Jeremy Corbyn and others to a visa ban did succeed on free speech grounds. Whether banning a self publicist like Trump would be wise or would be counterproductive is another matter. Related

9th December 2015 By Colin Yeo

ICI Inspection on Amman Visa Section: improvements made but same old problems remain

Improvements have been made to the quality of decisions and to record-keeping in the Home Office’s Visa Section in Jordan. However, the decision makers regularly failed to take supporting evidence adequately into account, and, in a fifth of cases, based their decision on incorrect facts. The Amman Visa Section is a visa processing unit dealing with visa applications from the Middle East and Pakistan. It came under inspection in March by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders & Immigration. The inspection only covered “Other Visitors” – that is, mainly tourist, business visitor, and short-term student visas. The full report can be found here. Related

6th November 2015 By Paul Erdunast

Inspection of family visit visa system: serious problems remain

The family visit visa system underwent an inspection by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration last month. The posts inspected were Abu Dhabi, Accra, Amman, Dhaka, Kingston, Manila, Nairobi, New Delhi, Croydon and Sheffield. The Inspector confidently declares that there is “no evidence that the removal of the full right of appeal from Family Visitor visa applicants had led to a higher refusal rate or to an overall reduction in decision quality.” There is also no evidence in the public domain which might either confirm or refute this claim. However, the assertion appears to conflict with the figures on family visit visa refusal rates which this blog uncovered just...

24th August 2015 By Colin Yeo

Ai Weiwei refused full UK visa because of alleged previous “conviction”

In an interesting example of the self defeating nature of the UK’s immigration rules, failure to follow Home Office policy and failure of basic common sense, the renowned Chinese artist Mr Ai Wei Wei has been refused a visit visa by a senior British immigration official. He has been granted entry outside the rules, but entry has been restricted to just 20 days compared to the normal 6 months that is granted to most visitors. The Guardian is reporting the story and has a full copy of the letter received by Mr Weiwei. Related

30th July 2015 By Colin Yeo