The UK Border Agency (UKBA) have refused the Olympic activist Trenton Oldfield’s UK spouse visa application and ordered him to leave the UK forcing him to consider his human rights grounds under Article 8 of the ECHR (right to a private family life). The Australian national made headlines during the 2012 Olympics when he disrupted the Oxford v Cambridge boat race to protest against the UK’s government cuts and to highlight the sport’s ‘elitism’. He was arrested and received a six month jail term for his actions.
Presence in UK ‘Not Conducive to the Public Good’
Despite the fact that Mr. Oldfield is married to a British national and has reportedly lived in the UK since 2003, the UKBA refused his spouse visa application and stated that his presence is not ‘conducive to the public good’ due to the disruption he caused at the boat race in the Olympics last year and the fact of his criminal record. Mr. Oldfield’s British wife is currently pregnant with their child.
Mr Oldfield told the Guardian: ‘No one was expecting this. I have a tier one visa, as a highly skilled migrant, and I was sentenced to less than a year’. The activist now intends to appeal the decision.
Appealing using Human Rights: Article 8 – Family Life
The UKBA’s decision has controversy as many feel that the decision is disproportionate to Article 8, the right to a family life. Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 enshrines the Right to respect for private and family life, it stipulates that “there shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” An individual can rely on Article 8 if he/she can show that they face a serious and unjustified interference with their family or private life if removed from the UK.
This sentiment is echoed by Mr. Oldfield’s MP, Rushanara Ali, who represents Bethnal Green and Bow in east London. She told the Guardian newspaper “He has served his sentence and now his right to family life is being undermined,” she said.
“I don’t condone what he did, but it seems disproportionate to say that someone whose offence was to disrupt the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race is a threat to our security, whose presence is not conducive to the public good.”