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.