Tag: Human Rights

UK-Born Child Diagnosed with Autism Granted Leave to Remain

A child diagnosed with autism was granted permission to stay in the UK after initial refusal by the Home Office.

Oksana Demyanchuk, Immigration Lawyer at Sterling Law, and her team appealed to the Immigration Tribunal a refusal of the Home Office in order to protect rights of the child. Parents of the child, both Ukrainian nationals, were also initially refused to stay in the UK.

Their son was born in the United Kingdom and was diagnosed as autistic. The boy, aged 7, has never been to Ukraine and communicates in English with very limited understanding of the Ukrainian language. Moreover, the child requires special care, support and has additional educational needs. These would not be adequately met in Ukraine.

These obstacles were initially ignored by the Home Office which served as the basis for the refusal.

It was also claimed by the Home Office that parents failed to provide sufficient evidence that child’s safety and welfare might be compromised if the family returns to Ukraine.

After seeking advice from Sterling Law the family was able to collect more evidence related to the case.

Appellants provided NHS records containing evidence of communication difficulties. They stated that the child would benefit from future advice and consultations. Additionally, the parents enclosed the letter from child protection and family services officer from the child’s school.

The letter acknowledged that the diagnosis would affect every aspect of learning and life. It will also impact the boy’s mental health and well-being if he returns to the country of origin of his parents. It was also proved that in this case the child will not have access to the same level of language and speech support.

The judge acknowledged the difficulties the boy would encounter upon return to Ukraine, such as cultural and language adaptation challenges. It was ruled, that it is in the best interest of the child to stay in the UK together with his parents. The family therefore was granted leave to remain.

The appeal was allowed under the Immigration Rules and on human rights grounds.

It was also stated that the previous decision to refuse permit contradicted the Home Office’s own policies.

Should you have any further questions, or would like to discuss your personal matter, please do not hesitate to contact us directly:

Oksana Demyanchuk

Email: oksana@sterling-law.co.uk

Tel. 020 7822 8535

 

 

 

UK Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case and to enquire about the immigration and legal fees, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, or via our online appointment booking form.

Insurmountable Obstacles Proved in a Delicate Human Rights Appeal Case

Oksana Demyanchuk acted successfully in a complex human rights case involving insurmountable obstacles to family life outside the United Kingdom.

The client is a Ukrainian national who initially applied for Leave to Remain in the UK on the basis of her partner and private life. The application was subsequently refused by the Home Office and appealed to the Immigration Tribunal.

During the appeal process, the client (Appellant) had to show that there were insurmountable obstacles if she and her partner had to continue their family life outside the UK as well as a breach of her and her partner’s human rights.

Insurmountable Obstacles

As the Appellant had a successful appeal and was consequently granted leave to remain in the UK, her circumstances help to define what insurmountable obstacles would amount to.

The immigration Judge explained that insurmountable obstacles mean that the Appellant and her partner would be faced with very significant difficulties if they had to continue their family life outside of the UK, which could not be overcome or would entail very serious hardship for either the Appellant or her partner.

Her partner entered the UK lawfully as a student, lived in the UK for a period of over 19 years and has indefinite leave to remain. He held consistent employment throughout this time and bought a property where he lives with the Appellant and their children. On top of this, her partner recently underwent serious heart surgery, and was still recovering. The Appellant’s main responsibility was caring for her partner. Additionally, the Appellant plays a strong role in the upbringing of her grandchildren. It is therefore accepted that the Appellant has a close family unit within the UK.

Moreover, it is noted that the Appellant does not hold any property in Ukraine, nor does she have any immediate family, friends or neighbours in Ukraine. It can be seen that the Appellant has taken on a strong role as a carer within the family. In the case of Beoku-Betts [2008] UKHL 39, it was stated that when deciding an appeal on human rights grounds, it is important to take into consideration the effect that the decision would have on other family members with respect to their family life. In regard to this, strong considerations were made on the best interests of the children involved, specifically the Appellant’s grandchildren.

Additionally, the Appellant proved that she is able to speak and communicate in English. The Appellant does not and has never claimed state benefits. Furthermore, by allowing her to stay in the UK to take care of her partner, her partner would not have to seek help from social and health services thus helping to reduce the strain on public services. It should be noted that she is the only member of her family with an illegal status in the UK, the remainder of her family unit holds the legal right to remain and reside in the UK.

For this reason, it was acknowledged that our client and the family members would face extremely serious hardships if she was forced to return to Ukraine. Our client would have no employment, home, friends and family and thus have significant obstacles in reintegration back in her country of origin. Moreover, our client’s partner and the entire family unit would suffer without the care of the Appellant.

The appeal was allowed by the First-tier Tribunal under the Immigration Rules and the European Convention on Human Rights (1950)

This successful appeal ensures that our client will not be torn away from her partner and will now be able to stay in the UK with her partner.

 

Refusals & Appeals: Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case, refusals and relevant immigration law requirements, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile +44(0)74 6338 2838, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

Daiga Barzdina

Home Office reliance on testimony from hospitalised spouse deemed abuse of Human Rights

Successful immigration lawyer – Daiga Barzdina

Our client is a Ukrainian national who was granted a 5-year residence card on the basis of his Lithuanian spouse. When he applied for the Permanent Residence Card based on the same relationship, the Home Office refused his application on the sole ground that they deemed the marriage to be one of convenience.

In deciding this dispute, the Judge first had to determine whether an interview with the spouse should be excluded and then to consider the question of the marriage of convenience.

This is because the evidence used by the Home Office in coming to their conclusion relied mainly on their visit to the Appellant’s home and a telephone call to his wife on the same day.

Excluding Evidence

We argued that the telephone call made by the Home Office to the client’s spouse should be excluded from the evidence, relying on Elsakhawy (immigration officers: PACE) [2018] UKUT 86 (IAC). Judges can refuse to allow evidence that, if admitted, would have an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings.

In this case, the client’s spouse was in the hospital, having had suffered from strokes, heart attacks, and brain damage. The interview was conducted when the client’s spouse was being treated as an in-patient in the hospital. In the interview notes, it could be seen that the client’s spouse was disoriented as she could not spell her own name, her address, full name or even that she was married.

The judge held that this was a complete abuse of her rights and completely unnecessary because the investigation/inquiry could have been made when the client’s spouse had recovered from her condition. For this reason, the interview was excluded from the final consideration of the case.

Marriage of Convenience

A marriage of convenience is a marriage entered into for the predominant purpose of securing rights of residence in the UK. When the Home Office is considering whether a marriage is one of convenience, it is for them to prove that this is the case. The case of Papajorgii (EEA spouse – marriage of convenience) Greece [2012] UKUT 00038 (IAC) states that the important question is whether it is more likely than not that the marriage is one of convenience when it was entered into.

Without the interview of the client’s spouse, the main evidence that the Home Office was relying on was a home visit where they interviewed the client, saw that the Appellant might be living alone and that the house did not seem to be occupied by a female. They also saw a name on a mobile phone and documents relating to a divorce in Ukraine prior to his current marriage.

Following the home visit, no further enquiries were made, and the Home Office immediately decided that the Appellant’s marriage was one of convenience. This was not enough to show that the Home Office had a justified suspicion that the marriage was one of convenience when it was entered into, especially when our client was previously granted a Residence card on the basis of this relationship.

The appeal was allowed, and the determination of the First-tier Tribunal was promulgated on 27 April 2018. Following this appeal, our client has been issued with a Permanent Residence card and will continue to stay and reside in the UK.

The casework in this sensitive matter was handled by the Immigration lawyer, Daiga Barzdina.

Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

Entry Clearance Refusal of Six-Year-Old Child under Sole Responsibility Successfully Appealed

The Appellant, a six-year-old child, applied for entry clearance as a child whose mother has sole responsibility and stays in the UK as a partner of a British citizen under Section EC-C of the appendix FM of the Immigration Rules . The child was consequently refused by the Entry Clearance Immigration Officer. The refusal was successfully challenged by Sterling and Law Associates LLP at the First-tier Tribunal in April 2018.

The reason for the refusal was based on relationship requirement, in particular, due to lack of evidence of sole responsibility. Other requirements were uncontested by the Entry Clearance Officer.

Our client appealed on the grounds that the decision is not in accordance with the Immigration Rules and is unlawful under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 as being incompatible with the Convention rights.

The mother of the appellant submitted that she has sole practical responsibility for the child from the age of two and that the appellant has no contact with the biological father for more than two years. In addition, the appellant`s mother took all decisions about the child as no one has had any significant input in child`s life since then.

Sole Responsibility

Following incorrect application of the test in the assessment of the sole responsibility by the Entry Clearance Officer in our client`s case the leading authority regarding the sole responsibility which has been applied in the court was TD (Paragraph 297(i)(e): “sole responsibility”) Yemen [2006] UKAIT 00049 which establishes that “sole responsibility” is a factual matter to be decided upon all the evidence. Last but not least, the Entry Clearance Officer failed to exercise the statutory duty under s55 of BCIA, which considers the welfare of the child.

Following the above, the Immigration Judge found that the Appellant`s mother has sole responsibility for the child. The Judge also confirmed that the decision interferes the family life of the mother and the child and that Article 8 of ECHR is engaged.

The appeal was allowed under Article 8 of the ECHR on human rights grounds, and the determination of the First-tier Tribunal was promulgated on 18 April 2018. This successful appeal ensures that the child can enter the United Kingdom to join mother and stepfather.

Refusals & Appeals: Immigration Assistance

The appeal was straightforward, with little opposition and clear facts, the family were granted their leave to remain in the UK. The Home Office may make mistakes in their decision-making, so it can be worth bringing your refusal to court to overturn any errors they may make.

Therefore, for expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case, refusals and relevant immigration law requirements, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535 or by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

Complex asylum appeal of Ukrainian national subject to conscription won

Sterling & Law Associates LLP continues to receive successful decisions from the Immigration Tribunal in the asylum cases.

Recently, we have successfully appealed a refusal of an asylum claim of an Ukrainian national who was subject to mobilisation in Ukraine and was summoned to join military service. The case was based on the applicant’s fear of returning to Ukraine because of the potential persecution by the Ukrainian authorities for his unwillingness to undertake military service and fight in the Russia-Ukraine war.

The asylum claim of the Appellant went through many difficulties due to his extradition to Hungary and return to Ukraine. This separated the appellant from his dependent wife and two children in the UK.

Upon his return to Ukraine, the Appellant was stopped by the border force and was detained for a short period of time. After release, he continued to receive summons. He had a strong reluctance to serve in the Ukrainian army and returned to the UK to be with his family. The second attempt to claim asylum ended with a refusal.

One of the reasons was the Home Offices`s disbelief that the applicant was still subject to undertake military service. Moreover, it was not accepted that his return to Ukraine would result in persecution or mistreatment. Another reason was the appellant’s failure to claim asylum as soon as he arrived to the UK.

Asylum Grounds

After the assessment of the Home Offices`s Country Guidance and Note dated April 2017 about Military Service in Ukraine, the Immigration Judge accepted that the Appellant fell within the criteria for those who are subject to military service in case of return to the country of origin.

The Judge found that the Appellant holds strong views against signing up for military service because “he is was not trained to fight at the front line and he is concerned what fill happen to his family if he is killed or injured“. Further, the real risk of arrest and persecution upon returning to Ukraine and the potential detention and imprisonment conditions according to VB Case led the Judge to a conclusion that would constitute a breach under the Article 3 ECHR.

On this basis, the appeal was allowed on human rights grounds. The decision was promulgated on 19 March 2018.

 

Asylum & Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: 074 6338 2838, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

Leaving the EU – Impact on Human Rights: Conference Summary Report

Sterling & Law Associates LLP were delighted to attend and participate in a high-level conference “Leaving the EU – Impact on Human Rights” organised by New Europeans[1], together with the European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH)[2], Britain in Europe[3] and Brunel University Knowing Our Rights project[4], and held in London on 16 March 2018 at Europe House

The event was organised to discuss the potential impact that Brexit would have on a number of our individuals’ rights and examine areas of human rights under threat for EU citizens and UK citizens.

The conference shed some light on key contentious areas such as workers’ rights, data protection, and family life among others. These are increasingly important topics to discuss as we move nearer and nearer towards the exit date of UK from the EU, especially when those in charge fail to provide specific indications into the details of these niche areas.

Brexit implications for human rights

There is a great fear that Brexit will lead to the regression of many of our rights. In the current state, a number of our fundamental rights derive from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the European rules, regulations and directives. The Withdrawal Bill that proposes to implement Brexit could seek to remove several of those rights. For instance, in terms of employment law, the EU sits at the heart of workers’ rights[5] having brought about greater health and safety regulations that reduced the number of work days loss to absences and sick days, bringing about equal pay for equal value work and ensuring our right to parental leave. The Withdrawal Bill could possibly see the removal of these rights.

Data Protection Concerns

When it comes to data protection[6], the General Data Protection Regulation[7] (GDPR) proposed by the EU that comes into force on 25 May 2018, which has been implemented in the UK through the Data Protection Act, could lose all strength and meaning following Brexit. From an immigration perspective, the Data Protection Act includes an exception to the regulation for ‘effective immigration enforcement’. This means that if an individual is suspected of breaching immigration controls, the Home Office and other governmental agencies would be able to obtain and use personal data, that had been collected for purposes unrelated to immigration, to make a decision in regard to an individuals’ immigration status. This exemption could also mean that the Home Office would not be obliged to respond to Subject Access Requests (SARs) from people who wish to know what data has been held in relation to their previous immigration applications or situations at border controls. This is distressing because SARs are often used by legal practitioners to acquire necessary information to advise their clients on their specific circumstances, particularly when their clients do not have a clear record of their previous situations. Brexit could mean that the UK could get away with including such a wide-ranging exception into the legislation.

Photo by New Europeans

 

Family and private life

The conference also delved deeper into the impact that Brexit would have on our family and private life[8]. Research and analysis is currently being carried out into the effects on different categories of families. In the UK, 12% of all children born in the UK have at least one parent that is from the EU. After the referendum, there has been a sharp increase in the number of EU citizens in the UK applying for permanent residence applications and citizenship applications. However, while it might give you some peace of mind before the exit, the permanent residence card or document certifying permanent residence will not be considered valid after Brexit. EU citizens in the UK and their family members will have to reapply for a ‘settled’ status in the UK. However, as the exact details and processes are yet to have been announced, the rights of the EU citizens in the UK and those of UK citizens abroad in other EU countries have not been guaranteed. Brexit is seeking to remove EU citizens’ and their families’ free movement and automatic rights within the UK and create an entirely new system that has yet to be executed.

These alarming possibilities after Brexit gives rise to the question, as brought up by a participant at the conference, of whether the stripping of our access to these rights given to us through the EU would amount to an infringement of our human rights in itself.

Despite what has been mentioned in this article, no one knows for certain what is going to happen to our human rights after Brexit, let alone anything else relating to the UK, EU and Brexit, but it is important to keep updated on the news to ensure that we are all prepared for the big change coming our way.

Throughout the entire conference, it has been evident that Brexit has and will bring about an unjustifiable amount of uncertainty into our lives. This uncertainty underlines the discussion with ifs, doubts and questions that cannot be answered with a simple response. It is clear that the complexity of the matter, namely what effect Brexit will have on our fundamental human rights, cannot be easily resolved. However, what we can take away from this event is that there are several organisations and individuals that are currently fighting to ensure that our intrinsic human rights are not infringed.

It is our goal at Sterling & Law Associates LLP to help individuals and families to navigate this complex area of law and to keep EU nationals updated on any changes that may affect their life.

References:

[1] New Europeans is a civil rights organisation that campaigns for freedom of movement, non-discrimination and the principle of solidarity in Europe. This is done by giving a platform to European and non-EU citizens a voice in local communities to join and take part in the Europe-wide debate regarding the challenges that we are currently faced with.

[2] AEDH is a European network of over 30 individual and organisation members to defend and promote human rights in the EU.

[3] Britain in Europe is a think tank based at Brunel University London that brings together academics, legal practitioners, and human rights NGOs across Britain and Europe to conduct research and influence public policy.

[4] The project aims to provide analysis and insight into understanding the impact and application of the European Convention on Human Rights in the UK.

[5] This topic was discussed by Hannah Reed from the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

[6] This topic was discussed by Gracie Bradley from Liberty, a UK human rights and civil liberties campaign group.

[7] The GDPR was proposed to unify data protection rules for individuals within the EU. It seeks to protect personal data that is stored on computers or filing systems for example by ensuring that organisations that hold your personal information need to notify you if they share it and be transparent about how they process and use that personal information. The reason why this regulation is seen to be a move forward in this area is that there are real risks that can arise from non-compliance such as fines of up to 2% – 4% of the company’s global turnover.

[8] This topic was discussed by Dr. Nando Sigona from the Institute for Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham.

Two refusals yet not a final decision: Successful appeal on the basis of Article 8 of the ECHR

Sterling & Law Associates LLP were successful in the appeal at the First Tier Tribunal challenging a refusal of a clients application for a leave to remain.

The appellant, a citizen of Uzbekistan, entered the United Kingdom as a student in 2006 and she was granted further leave to remain in that capacity until 2013 when she was unable to demonstrate that she met English language requirements. The reason for this was that Home Office believed that the appellant used deception to pass her English language test.

She appealed against that decision and it resulted to be a further refusal with no right of appeal. She applied for permission to remain in the UK on the grounds of her family life with her husband, the UK citizen. She had been in the UK for 10 years, working, living a family life and also doing charitable work in her area together with her husband. Upon consideration of the appeal lodged by Sterling & Law Associates LLP on behalf of the client, the Judge held that despite the fact that she used deception in her previous application for a student visa, it would be unreasonable and unjust for the appellant to be forced to come back to Uzbekistan. It would be wrong to intervene the family life of this couple.

Therefore, the appeal was allowed on the grounds of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.