Tag: Human Rights

FAMILY REUNION IN THE UK

PARENTS ARE ABLE TO JOIN THEIR CHILD WITH A REFUGEE STATUS IN THE UK

Our clients, who are Ukrainian nationals, were initially refused to enter the UK. They wanted to join their refugee child who was living in the UK with her grandmother. The grandmother had been struggling to provide adequate care for the child because she also cares for her husband who suffers from complex healthcare needs. The family’s separation was because of the conflict in Crimea, where our clients continued to live during the appeal process.

Sterling Law successfully appealed the aforementioned refusal.

In accordance with AT and another v Eritrea [2016] UKUT 227 (IAC):
Decision to maintain separation of the family is a disproportionate breach of the appellants’ Article 8 rights. The importance of the best interest of the child and the clear interest in maintaining the family unit outweighs the need to maintain immigration control.

The Judge accepted the applicability of the aforementioned case, and thus, despite the fact that

  • neither of the appellants spoke English and
  • both were dependent,

the Appeal was allowed on the basis of Article 8 ECHR and our clients where granted entry clearance in the UK and reunited with their child.

Similar immigration problem? Do you believe the Home Office made a wrong decision? Contact our experienced lawyers for professional advice.

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ARTICLE 8 APPEAL OUTSIDE THE IMMIGRATION RULES ALLOWED ON THE SPOT!

Our client, a citizen of the Russian Federation, came to the UK at the age of 12 to study. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from a UK university, our client applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK under the ten-year continuous long Residency Rules.

The Home Office refused the application with no right of in-country appeal. The client’s previous legal representatives did not challenge this decision, at which point our client became an over-stayer as his continuous leave was broken. Instead, our client then applied for leave to remain based upon his private life. This application was refused on the grounds that our client did not satisfy requirements 276ADE of the Immigration Rules.

Immigration Rules 276ADE (1)

The requirements to be met by an applicant for leave to remain on the grounds of private life in the UK are that at the date of application, the applicant:

(i) does not fall for refusal under any of the grounds in Section S-LTR 1.1 to S-LTR 2.2. and S-LTR.3.1. to S-LTR.4.5. in Appendix FM; and

(ii) has made a valid application for leave to remain on the grounds of private life in the UK; and

(iii) has lived continuously in the UK for at least 20 years (discounting any period of imprisonment); or

(v) is aged 18 years or above and under 25 years and has spent at least half of his life living continuously in the UK (discounting any period of imprisonment); or

(vi) subject to sub-paragraph (2), is aged 18 years or above, has lived continuously in the UK for less than 20 years (discounting any period of imprisonment) but there would be very significant obstacles to the applicant’s integration into the country to which he would have to go if required to leave the UK.

 

After approaching numerous other lawyers, the client approached Sterling Law. Our lawyer, Oksana Demyanchuk and her team lodged an appeal with the First-tier Tribunal on the grounds that the decision was a breach of our client’s Article 8 ECHR human rights. In particular, the emphasis was placed on the fact that our client had established an extensive private life in the UK since his entry. After considering the grounds put forward and the bundle of documents provided in support of the appeal, the Judge allowed the appeal on a spot despite our client not meeting any of the Immigration Rules! In doing so, the Judge found that

the Home Office timing resulted in unfairness because it effectively prevented the appellant from benefiting from paragraph 276 ADE of the Immigration Rules when he had qualified for indefinite leave to remain.

 

Moreover, the Judge found that our client

  • has built up a significant private life in the United Kingdom;
  • has the English language skills of a native speaker;
  • is financially independent; and
  • It would be in public interest to retain him in the country.

Bearing the above in mind, it was held that any interference in the Appellant’s private life will result in unjustifiably harsh consequences.

 

Thanks to Oksana Demyanchuk and her team, our client can remain in the UK which already become a home for him.

 

Contact us should you have any immigration-related question:

oksana@sterling-law.co.uk and michael@sterling-law.co.uk

+44 (0) 207 822 8535

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AFTER FIVE REFUSALS CLIENT OBTAINED LEGAL IMMIGRATION STATUS IN THE UK

Our client, a national of Sierra Leone, came to the UK as a visitor. Since one of his family members was involved in political activities against the government our client feared for his life on return to Sierra Leone and decided to stay in the UK.

He applied, without legal representatives, for leave to remain on the medical grounds twice. However, these applications were refused.

After several years he applied for leave to remain on the human rights grounds. Again, the Home Office refused these human rights applications although our client had integrated into UK society, having lived here for over 16 years at the time of the last refusal. Moreover, for the last four years, he has been in a relationship with a British citizen and has established a close relationship with her British child from the previous relationship. They all lived together and our client cares for the child while his mother is at work.

 

Sterling Law successfully appealed the last Home Office refusal. In reaching his decision the Judge stressed that:

The welfare of the minor child of this family is a primary consideration in my deliberations. The child is British, entitled to the benefits of his citizenship, which include living in Britain and having access to its education, health and social care systems. Moreover, the child enjoys regular direct contact with his biological father that would be lost if the child has to leave the UK.

 

It follows that it is not reasonable and to remove our client from the UK as he is one of the main carers for the qualifying child. Thus, the Judge allowed the appeal on the human right grounds.

 

Thanks to Sterling Law, the client finally obtained legal immigration status in the UK after over 10 years fighting for his rights with the Home Office.

 

Contact us should you have any immigration-related question:

+44 (0) 207 822 8535

contact@sterling-law.co.uk

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.

EU National’s Children and British Passports

Since the June 2016 referendum, when most British voted for Brexit, EU nationals became concerned about protecting the interests of their children and started to look for options of securing a UK passport. Let’s get into more details.

According to the general rule, children born in the UK automatically acquire a British passport. However, depending on the date the child was born different rules might apply.

For instance, those children who were born in the UK from October 2000 to April 2006 must prove that one of their parents held permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain/enter at the moment they were born. Only, in that case, they will be able to get a British passport. Permanent residence card or a letter from the UK Visas and Immigration are enough evidence to be provided to the British immigration authorities. However, most parts of EU nationals did not apply for such documentation, mostly because of the lack of immigration law knowledge, so their children losses the right to obtain a British passport automatically. Such a pity, but due to non-acquaintance the parents will have to apply on behalf of their children and register them as British citizens.

 

Those, who were born after April 2006 can obtain British passport if they can prove that their parents were exercising Treaty Rights by residing in the UK for at least of 5 years before the child was born. EU parents who have not completed 5 years residence in the UK prior to giving birth will withdraw their children’s right to become British at birth. Nevertheless, this category of children will have a right to register as British citizens following the terms and conditions of the British Nationality Act 1981. It should be noted, that such application is rather high-priced and would cost nearly GBP 1000.

We often get lots of questions from the clients in the cases, where one child (usually the eldest one) was born outside the UK and the youngest – in the UK. In that case, the younger child will have two options: either to be British at birth or to register through automatic entitlement, which was described in the previous paragraph.

Holding British citizenship, you can always come back to the UK to live, study or work. As parents are highly concerned about their children education, you can get a British education, which is undoubtedly one of the most efficient in the world. Sure enough, British passport is one of the most beneficial nowadays and can be counted as a great investment into your child’s life providing lots of advantages and opportunities for a better future.

The royal engagement indicates how difficult it is for British citizen to get married with the foreigner

Many of British citizens, who want or ever wanted to wed a foreigner felt some sympathy for Prince Harry and his American fiancée Meghan Markle last year. Since 2012 it has become more difficult for the British to marry foreigners. There are various reasons for that. The first and foremost, an expensive test has caused many obstacles for British willing to connect their lives with the foreigners. Prince Harry was not an exception, he had a long interview with the Home Office. Also, Ms. Markle will not be able to avoid the procedure that most other foreign brides have to go through.

 

We believe that the first step for her is to obtain a fiancée visa, which will unite the couple and let them live together after the wedding. After that, Ms. Markle will be eligible to submit an application for leave to remain. Thereafter, she might be able to apply for a permanent residence after having resided in the UK for 5 years. Of course, this all is possible, if she will successfully pass the British life test. Another difficulty that we should admit, that this is a rather costly procedure and not many people can afford it. Roughly, it would cost nearly GBP 7000 all in.

 

However, not only foreign fiancée has to suit endless requirements for being able to become the wife of a British citizen. British husband/wife will have to pass a minimum income threshold. According to the new rules, a British national who wants to connect life with the foreign partner must have an income of approximately GBP 18,6000 a year. Saying from the start, 40 % of British citizens would not be able to pass this threshold, as their income is much less. The most interesting fact is that Prince Harry may also fail to succeed in this test, as since leaving the army in 2015 he has not done much work, but charity. Even so, they were able to get married due to having over GBP 62,000 of savings – this is what saved the legal part of their marriage.

 

Let us provide some statistics – in 2010 almost 41 thousand fiancée visas were granted, but 6 years later when the new rules came in, only 29 thousand of the lucky got a visa. This is a significant difference when more than a quarter of applicants were rejected. Rules on getting fiancée visa are getting tightened, which leave no other choice for British nationals but to give up their dreams to wed a special citizen of nowhere.

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.

Supreme Court clarifies meaning of “reasonableness” and “unduly harsh” in children’s cases

An interesting judgment was handed down in KO (Nigeria) and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] UKSC 53 where the question of “reasonableness” and “unduly harsh” when assessing the effect of deportation on a child was answered.

It has been clearly set out in s117C of the Immigration Act 2014 that it will be in the public interest for foreign criminals to be deported, the more serious the offence the higher public interest. The prime question is – will it be “unduly harsh” to deport a qualifying child  (child with more than 7 years of residency in the UK) of the foreign criminal? It was held that the Tribunal should not take into account parental misconduct but should carry out a more child-focused assessment. The phrase “unduly harsh” requires to focus on a more serious impact on the child, an impact that is severe. This essentially brings beneficial consequences because a child should not be held responsible for the conduct of the parent.

S117(6) of the Immigration Act 2014 focuses on those who are not liable to deportation. It is set out that the public interest does not require a removal so long as the person is a parent of a qualifying child and it would not be reasonable for the child to leave the United Kingdom. The same approach of assessing “unduly harsh” should be used to assess “reasonableness” namely the criminal or misconduct of the parent should not be taken into account.

It is enlightening to see the court provide a clear assessment that portrays the importance of the principle that children should not be held responsible for the conduct of their parents. The case of KO provides reassurance to families and properly promotes the best interest of the child.

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

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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

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