April 24, 2020 1,143
Our client was an Iranian lady, living in Iran, who wanted to join her husband in the UK. Her husband was also Iranian, and he held refugee leave. The UK immigration rules enable the spouse of a refugee to apply for a spouse visa so they can come to the UK and be with their partner on a permanent basis, and she applied under this route.
But her application was refused, and for a highly unexpected reason.
One of the requirements in the rules is that the partner in the UK (the “sponsor”) must show that they are earning a certain amount of money per year – this is called the “financial requirement”. Her husband was gainfully employed, he was earning enough, and he submitted his wage slips and bank statements with his wife’s application in order to prove it. But it seems that the Entry Clearance Officer at the British Embassy contacted the UK HM Revenue & Customs and HMRC said that, according to their records, the sponsor had not earned as much as he had claimed.
So – and perhaps not surprisingly – the Entry Clearance Officer refused the application and accused the wife and husband of having submitted fake documents. This meant that the wife now had a serious allegation of deception and dishonesty on her record, which came as rather an unpleasant shock to her, and of course her husband was not very happy about it either.
Our client approached us and asked for our help. And in the meantime the sponsor had discovered that this discrepancy had occurred because of something that had gone wrong with the transmission of information about his earnings to HMRC. The issues were rather obscure but somehow his employer’s accountants had not succeeded in getting the correct information through, and so this made it look as though the sponsor had been dishonest in the earnings he had claimed.
Our client had the right of appeal to the First-Tier Immigration Tribunal and we strongly advised her to appeal; this would be the only way to clear the allegation of dishonesty. And so she did.
The appeal hearing happened at Taylor House in central London and our in-house advocate Oliver Westmoreland represented our client. We had two valuable sources of documents: firstly, a letter from the sponsor’s employer’s accountants stating that a technical (and innocent) mistake had been made in the transmission of information about earnings and, secondly, letters from HMRC confirming this and confirming the sponsor’s actual earnings. We hoped that the combination of evidence from these two sources would be a strong one.
The financial/deception issue had been the only issue in the refusal decision; every other aspect of the application was deemed to be satisfactory. So our strategy at the appeal hearing was to try and get the allegation of dishonesty cleared and thus to persuade the Immigration Judge to allow the appeal and overturn the refusal decision. The sponsor gave live evidence in front of the Judge.
When we received the written decision from the Tribunal we were pleased to discover that the appeal had been successful. The Judge accepted our documents and said that she thought that the sponsor had been a reliable witness. There were no other adverse issues, and the appeal was allowed.
This case goes to show that a damaging allegation of dishonesty and deception can be overturned at the Tribunal if the evidence is presented in the right way. If this happens then the allegation dies and is no longer on the record.
And, in a situation like this, where there is an allegation of dishonesty which has not been cleared, this could be fatally harmful to any further visa applications. The Entry Clearance Officer might adopt an argument that goes like this: you were dishonest last time – how do we know that you are not being dishonest this time?
At Get UK Visa we have a lot of experience of such cases and of family visa appeal cases generally and we may be able to help you if you need us.
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