Category: Successful Cases

“The law extends but does not limit freedom.” Sterling Law wins the lawsuit against the UK Home Office

Prior to being disappointed because of having lost the case, we would advise to attentively check the grounds which the Home Office based its decision on.

The situation that will be presented below shows that even the Home Office can show low consideration of the specific case. An individual has referred to Sterling Law to provide legal representation in the case due to the refusal of her application for an EEA Residence Card as confirmation of her right to reside in the UK with her husband of British citizenship.

Our Client is a woman (further Appellant) who got married to a British citizen in 2013 in Afghanistan. By the date of the hearing, they were expecting the birth of their first child. In 2016 her husband was offered a good job in the Netherlands, so the family decided to relocate there permanently. He was the first who moved to start his new job and a few months later, the Appellant joined him. She applied for EEA Residence Card in the Netherlands as a confirmation of her right to stay with her husband as a family member. She has issued a Residence Card in the Netherlands. Everything seemed to be in order: well-paid job, new rental apartment, studying a new language, life was filled with new colors. The family could see a lot of bright prospects for their future in the new country. They did not have intentions to leave the  Netherlands. However, life often has its own plans. Sometime later, they got news that the Applicant’s husband’s mother has seriously got sick in the UK. Taking into account the cultural specifics of the Appellant’s husband’s nationality (he was Afghan), the son was obligated to take care of his senior parents, especially if they were unwell. The family had no other choice but to go back to the UK to take care of the husband’s mother. She had limited capability of moving around the house and was suffering from instant pain in her joints. The Appellant provided significant help to her husband’s mother, such as feeding, cooking, helping to go to bed, etc. Upon arrival to the UK, the Applicant applied for a UK Residence Card as a confirmation of a right to reside in the UK with her British husband. However, the Home Office refused in issuing the Residence Card based on her situation assessment, saying that the Appellant could not meet the requirements of British immigration law.

We would like to provide the grounds of the Home Office refusal:

The Home Office concluded that the Applicant’s relocation to the Netherlands was not genuine, and was done in order to “circumvent domestic immigration laws”. In other words, the Home Office claimed that the Appellant decision to move to the Netherlands was something like a staging show with the only aim – to circumvent British law and to eventually receive UK Residence card. Secondly, the Home Office claimed that it was solely the Applicant’s initiative to come back to the UK, not her husband’s intention.

Moreover, it was concluded that the Applicant did not show that the center of her and her husband’s life was transferred to the Netherlands, practically no integration into new society has been conducted. And the accommodation they rented was just on a temporary base.

Sterling Law was appointed to represent the Appellant in this case, where we initially pointed out on the Home Office low consideration of the case and the numerous obvious evidence provided by the Applicant.

The first and furthermost fact is that throughout the entire Decision Letter the Home Office repeatedly referred to the Applicant has lived in “Ireland” instead of the Netherlands. This could not be considered just a minor error, but an example of how poorly the application was considered by the Home Office.

Based on the provided tenancy agreement, it was clearly seen that the Appellant’s family were planning to stay in the Netherlands not temporarily, but for a long period of time, if not permanently.

Numerous medical check-ups of the Appellant’s mother-in-law showed that she was indeed unwell and needed constant everyday care. Thus, the initiative of their relocation back to the UK was fully belonged to the Appellant’s husband, as it was his mother who needed help and physical support.

Later, the court concluded that relocation to another country could not be just a staging show, as it has been done so much by the family to move the center of their life to the Netherlands: find a new job, rent an apartment, study a new language, integrate into society. No doubts, the appeal was allowed by the Court. The Applicant was granted the UK Residence card.

Sterling Law was more than satisfied that the justice was served. We highly recommend to read through the Home Office decisions attentively, there can be some minor errors which do not influence the actual decision, but at the same there can be mistakes that completely change the outcome of the case, and even worse if this outcome is refusal or rejection of your application, like in the case described above.

This case reaffirms the statement of the prominent English philosopher John Locke, who said that “the end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.”

 

Appeal allowed for a further leave to remain based on private life in the UK and financially dependent child

Nollienne Alparaque and the team were recently successful in an appeal case in the First-tier Tribunal.

In this case, the client has appealed against the refusal for a further leave to remain in the UK, in which they heavily relied on their private life in the UK and their financially dependent child of 20 years of age. The applicant is financially self-sufficient and has owned her business for over ten years. The client’s son is a University student, who failed to obtain a student loan to pay his university fees, as he did not have a three year visa. Due to not being able to finance his own education, as he has no savings and assets, the client’s son seeks full financial support from his mother during his university years.

The judge has considered the fact that the applicant’s son has been living with his mother before going to university, and continues to do so throughout his university years, as he is wholly reliant on his mother and does not lead an independent life. Furthermore, it was found that there is a clear financial and emotional dependency enabling the applicant’s son to complete his education without the applicant’s support. The judge noted that if the client had to leave the UK, she would not be able to run her business, which would make it no longer possible to generate the income required to support and pay for her son’s university education.

The outcome of this appeal was successful, as the judge ruled that under those circumstances it would be a breach of the right to a family life and the client’s son would be deprived in the event of his mother’s removal from the UK to pursue his education and career.

Domestic violence – Indefinite Leave to Remain

A VICTORY FOR OUR CLIENT IN THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL

Our lawyers won the appeal regarding indefinite leave to remain in the UK on the human right grounds.
Our client, a national of the Russian Federation, has lived and worked in the UK as a consultant for more than 3 years. Throughout her leave she held a spouse visa under the Immigration Rules (part 8, Appendix FM) as she was married to a British Citizen who is settled and present in the UK. The client had a complicated relationship with her British spouse (former), she was persuaded by former husband to apply for the spouse visa rather than a working visa that was also an option at that time. Our client’s spouse had regular mood swings, behaved with the client aggressively from time to time, forced her to leave the matrimonial house against her will and even forced her to make an act that was against her religion. Also, the client’s husband threatened to inform the Home Office that their marriage is over if she did not follow his instructions. After these events, our client had mental problems, was in continuous grief, sadness, stress, and regret; could not work properly. In addition, she suffered financial abuse since she was forced to transfer money into the spouse’s account, most notoriously, former husband did not give access to that funds.
Our client made an application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a victim of domestic violence that was initially refused by the Home Office, and she had been divorced 5 months before the final hearing.
In the Appeal case, our team provided the successful representation of domestic violence. The appeal was allowed and the right for indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence was granted.

One year without a parent. How immigration policy destroys a child’s childhood

A controversial and interesting case has been recently represented by Sterling Law.
Apparently, according to the Home Office, the evidence of having a child is not strong enough to recognize marriage as genuine and issue a Residence Card for the applicant.

Sterling Law presented the rights of the Appellant, who is a Ukrainian citizen. The Appellant applied for a Residence Card the grounds of being a spouse of EEA national, exercising treaty rights. However, the application was refused based on the results of the marriage interview. The Appellant and her spouse of Lithuanian nationality were interviewed separately. After the interview, a few discrepancies were detected, namely:

1) The Appellant stated that her future husband proposed to her in summer 2014, when her husband mentioned the date of September 2015.
(How is it possible not to remember when you were proposed?)
2) Also, discrepancies were found in Appellant’s sister’s name.
(Is it possible to forget your wife’s sister’s name because you are nervous at the interview?)
3) The appellant was not able to name the amount of mortgage, that her husband took. (Seems like there is not much trust in this couple, right?)
4) And finally, the couple did not purchase the engagement ring and did not celebrate the wedding.
(Obviously, they did not need it as it looks like a marriage of convenience, doesn’t it?)

Having such discrepancies at the marriage interview, made the HO assume this couple is not in a genuine relationship.

The couple, however, has a common child, as well as numerous photographs, where all the family members (including relatives) were together. Both parents can be seen on the photos of different baby’s age and have undoubted evidence of cohabitation.

Is the fact of having a common child not strong enough to consider that the marriage is genuine? – this is the main issue that was raised in this case.

The fact, that the appellant and her EEA national husband have a child did not influence the Home Office decision. Based on the above-mentioned discrepancies, the Appellant of Ukrainian citizenship was refused in issuing a Residence Card. The marriage was deemed as the one for obtaining citizenship rights. Moreover, the burden of proof was put on the Appellant, which contradicted the case law.

The Appellant had to wait over a year for another hearing to present more evidence and proof of cohabitation.

Justice prevailed! How the Immigration Officer nearly ruined the Albanian family?

Attention! Obviously, genuine marriage may be still questioned by the Home Office and result in refusal of a residence card issuing – this is where you will need Sterling Law to protect your rights.

Sterling Law has received a request for legal assistance from a person of Albanian nationality. He entered the United Kingdom illegally back in 2011. Later, in 2017 he started to cohabit with his future wife – a woman of Romanian nationality, as a result, they got married in 2018. Our client applied for a residence card, based on the fact, that the Sponsor (his future wife) was an EEA national exercising treaty right in the UK. However, not only his application was refused, but he was also detained after the marriage interview. The main reason for refusal was the fact that there were a number of inconsistencies in their answers at the interview, such as:

– the date on which the Appellant proposed;

– who lived with them in their flat;

– what they did in spare time etc.

The Home Office misinterpreted the facts and claimed that body language of the parties at the interview “didn’t feel they were too invested in the relationship”. Also, the Home Office claimed that the couple was prepared for the interview by a solicitor.

Here is the question appears: is the Home Office qualified to assess whether a foreign national is genuinely in a relationship by assessing their body language?

In any event, it was concluded that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that the marriage was of convenience, even though the marriage right was granted.

Sterling Law put much effort into this case and the Appellant was released on bail and got married to his Sponsor. Seeking justice, the Appellant appealed on the grounds that the refusal breached his rights under EU Treaties. He managed to provide additional evidence, such as witness statements, bank statements, social network posts and common photographs. The Appellant endeavoured to prove that his genuine marriage was genuine. He also provided all the details as to how his wedding was planned, where the rings and wedding clothes were bought. One of the strongest evidence was that the Appellant’s spouse had recently visited Albania, where she stayed with her husband’s parents.

At the final hearing, the Judge was rather straightforward in his statements and expressed “serious concerns about the conclusion drawn by the Immigration Officer who conducted the marriage interview due to a lack of objectivity”. The Judge also admitted, “just how many men would be able to remember the precise date on which they proposed?”. As for the fact that the Appellant was prepared for the marriage interview by the solicitor, the Judge pointed out: “what does he expect a solicitor to say to people on this position and how was the interview allegedly planned?”. And finally, it was reasonably noted that “if this is a marriage of convenience the parties have gone too extraordinary lengths to cover their tracks in sending the Sponsor to Albania and bringing back photographic and documentary evidence of meeting Appellant’s family.” Taking into account that the burden of proof was on Respondent (according to case law Papajorgji Greece (2012) UKUT 38 (IAC)), the Respondent failed to satisfy the burden and establish reasonable grounds to suspect this marriage is one of convenience.

The Judge confirmed that the marriage was genuine and the appeal was allowed.

Sterling Law was glad to successfully assist its client of Albanian nationality to win all the stages of the process: firstly, to get the Appellant released on bail, secondly, to prove his marriage was genuine and finally to obtain a residence card.

Notice pay after termination of employment – when can it be withheld?

Case study – how we recovered a significant sum for notice pay on behalf of a client recently

 Kuldeep S. Clair, our senior Consultant Solicitor in Employment Law and Civil Disputes offers his views and tells the story of one of his recent cases:

This question commonly arises particularly when an employee does not have the right to claim unfair dismissal due to short length of service. Or otherwise, it may be especially important where the employee is lucky enough to be entitled to a lengthy period of notice, or has been on a high salary.

I advised a client recently who worked with a notice period of six months, as a lecturer at one of the country’s most reputable universities. She had initially been dismissed with notice and the university had intended to pay her ‘in lieu of notice’. Within a matter of days afterwards, an allegation was made that she had breached certain confidentiality requirements after the termination of her contract and that the notice pay was to be withheld.

My client disputed any breach. I advised that the suggestion of a breach was nonsense, and I wrote to say that unless any serious evidence of a breach was brought forward by the employer’s HR department, we required payment in full. There was aggravated correspondence between me and the employer; I set out the legal principles which applied, and it did not seem that the employer was disagreeing with anything much that I said, but their HR manager seemed to regard it as a matter to be proven by my client, with the burden of proof on her, rather than on the University.

We were forced to issue a ‘letter before action’ to demand payment of the notice pay, combining my thorough employment law knowledge with my civil litigation skills. I considered that this approach would be the best in ‘upping the stakes’ and extracting payment as quickly as possible. It would also give us the right to claim interest and court costs, if the employer continued to be so obstinate. This was particularly so, given the large amount in question, a substantial five-figure sum for six months pay for a lecturer in London.

We were met with a response from solicitors instructed by the University. This was a well-known respectable ‘Legal 500’ firm with offices around the country. Although their letter was over two pages long and sought to defend their client’s position vigorously on the face of it, it ended in the final very short paragraph by surrendering to our very reasonable demand and offering to pay the outstanding salary. Our client readily accepted, was delighted with the result, and she received payment a few days ago.

Moral and conclusion of the story:

It is always a good idea to seek advice early as to your entitlement in an employment dispute:

Is there a valid wrongful dismissal claim? In this case, the answer was yes – a very substantial claim.

Is there a valid unfair dismissal claim? This is a completely different question. Here the answer was ‘no’ – and we advised our employee-client accordingly from the beginning.

Here, the employer was even seeking to recover alleged losses from my client for the so-called breaches of confidentiality that had been committed by her. Until eventually caving in totally and paying what was due to her!

And more to the point, we managed to conclude the dispute without having to resort to proceedings, although we would have issued proceedings if necessary.

 

Kuldeep S. Clair

Consultant Solicitor

Employment, Dispute Resolution and Litigation

+44 (0) 7484 61 4090

kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

 

Permission to appeal granted: PK precedent

Permission to appeal has been granted by the Court of Appeal against the Country Guidance decision of PK (Draft evader; punishment; minimum severity) Ukraine [2018] UKUT 241 (IAC).
 
In PK (Ukraine), the Upper Tribunal held that where an Appellant would be punished for refusing to undertake military service in which they may be forced to engage in acts contrary to basic rules of human conduct, the punishment must reach a minimum threshold of severity in order to result in a successful asylum claim. In this case, it was found that the Appellant would most likely face a fine by way of punishment. It was held that a fine would not meet the minimum threshold of severity.
 
The judgment in PK (Ukraine) is contrary to several authorities, most notably the House of Lords’ judgment in Sepet & Anor, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2003], in which it was held that where a person would be punished for refusing to engage in acts contrary to international humanitarian law, this will be sufficient for a successful asylum claim. No minimum threshold of severity was specified.
 
The Home Office’s own guidance reflects the ruling in Sepet. The guidance states that a requirement to undergo compulsory military service – or punishment for failing to complete this duty – may constitute persecution where military service would involve acts, with which the person may be associated, which are contrary to the basic rules of human conduct. 
 
The Court of Appeal has granted permission to appeal against the decision in PK(Ukraine) on the basis that the following issues raise important points of principle or practice:
(i) whether punishment for draft evasion must reach a minimum severity.
(ii) the relevance of the Home Office’s guidance, which reflects the ruling in Sepet and does not go any further to impose a minimum severity threshold.
 
The Court of Appeal found that it is arguable that the Upper Tribunal failed to consider these issues adequately.
Ruslan Kosarenko
Senior Partner
info@sterling-law.co.uk

UK Immigration & Legal Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case and to enquire about the legal fees, please contact our lawyers on

Tel. +44(0) 20 7822 8599

Mobile / Viber: +44 (0) 73 0584 8477

e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk

or via our online appointment booking form.

 

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Immigration Law

Applying for a Sponsor Licence

Unfortunately, very often applicants do not pay the necessary attention to the accuracy of the submitted documentation, avoiding the required procedures and rules. However, this can be a turning point in a decision-making process – and this is what happened to our Client.

One of the Sterling Law clients – an active company incorporated in London sought to employ a foreign worker (outside the EEA). The reason being that the foreign candidate possessed specific skills and knowledge required for a new project launched by the company. According to the British immigration law, in order to employ a foreign worker, a company has to have a Sponsor Licence. This is an obligatory rule which will enable the company to sponsor Tier 2 (work) visa.

Following this rule, our Client firstly applied for a Sponsor Licence on their own, without legal assistance. The application was rejected due to the reason that not all necessary documentation was provided and not in the correct format.

Our Client launched a start-up with a focus on medicine development, so they were not ready to give up that easily. The new application was made with the assistance of Sterling Law Immigration Lawyer Nataliya Varahash. Nataliya addressed and corrected all the issues raised in the rejection letter.

Nataliya, therefore, managed to achieve a positive decision for the business.

We are glad to announce that now our Client can develop their newly launched projects with the help of skillful foreign workers. We believe, that not only British society but the rest of the world will benefit from it, which would be impossible without the right people on board.

 

UK Immigration & Legal Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case and to enquire about the legal fees, please contact our lawyers on

Tel. +44(0) 20 7822 8599

Mobile / Viber: +44 (0) 73 0584 8477

e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk

or via our online appointment booking form.

 

Natalia Varahash, Immigration Lawyer (OISC Level 2)

Email: nataliya@sterling-law.co.uk

Tel. +44 (0) 20 7822 8535

Mob. +44 (0) 73 0598 9936

 

Appeal allowed for a further leave to remain based on private life in the UK and financially dependent child


Nollienne Alparaque and the team were recently successful in an appeal case in the First-tier Tribunal. 

In this case, the client has appealed against the refusal for a further leave to remain in the UK, in which they heavily relied on their private life in the UK and their financially dependent child of 20 years of age. The applicant is financially self-sufficient and has owned her business for over ten years. The client’s son is a University student, who failed to obtain a student loan to pay his university fees, as he did not have a three year visa.  Due to not being able to finance his own education, as he has no savings and assets, the client’s son seeks full financial support from his mother during his university years. 

The judge has considered the fact that the applicant’s son has been living with his mother before going to university, and continues to do so throughout his university years, as he is wholly reliant on his mother and does not lead an independent life. Furthermore, it was found that there is a clear financial and emotional dependency enabling the applicant’s son to complete his education without the applicant’s support. The judge noted that if the client had to leave the UK, she would not be able to run her business, which would make it no longer possible to generate the income required to support and pay for her son’s university education.

The outcome of this appeal was successful, as the judge ruled that under those circumstances it would be a breach of the right to a family life and the client’s son would be deprived in the event of his mother’s removal from the UK to pursue his education and career.





Nollienne Alparaque 

Email: nollienne@sterling-law.co.uk

Tel. +44 (0) 20 7822 8535

Mob. +44 (0) 0781276 9389

Shakir Hussain, Senior solicitor

Email: shakir@sterling-law.co.uk

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7822 8535

UK Immigration & Legal Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case and to enquire about the legal fees, please contact our lawyers on

Tel. +44(0) 20 7822 8599

Mobile / Viber: +44 (0) 73 0584 8477

e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk

or via our online appointment booking form.

Using unauthorised immigration services

We would like to warn our clients that there are many visa companies offering their services, however, unfortunately, not all of them are operating lawfully. 

Here at Sterling Law we are dealing with an increasing number of visa refusals issued because of our clients trusted such companies to submit documents on their behalf.

Unfortunately, many agencies find it acceptable to alter documents, such as bank statements without event telling their clients. 

Shakir Hussain assisted by Aliya Rimshelis, Immigration Lawyers at Sterling Law, resolved a spouse visa refusal at the appeal stage. 

Background of the Case:

Our client applied for the UK visitor visa 9 years ago. She sought advice from a visa agency in Ukraine as her English was not good enough to complete the online application form herself. The agency assisted her with documents preparation and completion of all the relevant papers. Her application was however refused. The agent collected documents from the visa centre and explained to our client that they refused solely because she did not have enough evidence. The refusal letter was not provided to our client. Like others who thought that the Home Office could refuse without a reason, just because they are not satisfied with your documents, our client thought the same.

When we assisted this client later on with the spouse visa application to join her settled partner, it turned out that the real reason of her previous application being refused is because the agency altered her bank letter in order for her to demonstrate that she has sufficient funds to support herself in the UK.  This was a main ground for refusal. 

As a result, our client’s immigration history was damaged, which resulted into expensive and time consuming process of appeal. Likely the appeal was allowed at the hearing and this client finally joint her partner in the UK.

This is not the only case of fraud. We also received a number of similar complaints from our clients who used such unprofessional services.

We recommend to only seek legal advice from accredited firms as doing otherwise may lead to unnecessary expenses, stress and wasted time.

UK Immigration & Legal Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case and to enquire about the legal fees, please contact our lawyers on

Tel. +44(0) 20 7822 8599

Mobile / Viber: +44 (0) 73 0584 8477

e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk

or via our online appointment booking form.

Shakir Hussain, Senior solicitor

Email: shakir@sterling-law.co.uk

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7822 8535

Aliya Rimshelis, Corporate Immigration Lawyer

Email: aliya@sterling-law.co.uk

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7822 8535