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Online application forms do not always function as intended

Online application forms do not always function as intended

A national of Kazakhstan applied for an extension of stay as a Tier 4 student. As a national of that country, he was required by the Immigration Rules to register with the police. His application was rejected by the Home Office as invalid on the basis that he was also required to submit with his application his Police Registration Certificate but had failed to do so.

The applicant asserted that he had at no point been required by the application form or process to submit the certificate and neither was there any accompanying guidance that might impose such a requirement. The Home Office produced screenshots of a “typical” application supposedly showing that the applicant would have been asked to submit the certificate.

The online applications apply “conditional logic” whereby different questions may appear depending on what answers have already been given. The tribunal was sceptical that the screenshots of a “typical” application would accurately reflect the actual experience of a particular individual making an application. On further investigation by the Home Office this proved to be so: it was conceded that the applicant had at no point been asked to submit the certificate.

The Home Office attempted to argue that the guidance directed to Home Office caseworkers imposed a requirement to submit a Police Registration Certificate but the tribunal was unwilling to consider this to be related to the application and in any event the guidance only stated that a certificate needed to be submitted “if applicable”.

The claim therefore succeeded and the application was found to have been a valid one.

Source: Prodobreyev, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (On-line application: evidence) (IJR) [2015] UKUT 699 (IAC) (10 December 2015)

Colin Yeo
Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder and editor of the Free Movement immigration law website.

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