Harsh Penalties for Innocent Mistakes in UK Immigration Visa Applications

We have previously written about the issue of deception and the consequences of making false representations in immigration applications. In recent years, we have seen an increase in immigration refusal decision in which the Home Office have raised on grounds of false representations or deception. In certain cases, an applicant might have acted in bad faith and had an intention to conceal material facts that will  adversely affect their case. However, in a mountain of  other cases, an applicant might just have made an honest and ‘innocent’ mistake when preparing an application. We briefly outline the consequences of making false representations in immigration applications below. 

Home Office can impose a 10-year ban for false representations in UK Visa Applications

Consequences of Deception on UK Immigration Visa Applications

One might expect that with every refusal, you have another chance simply to make a fresh application. However, this might not be the case. Paragraph 370(7A) of the Immigration Rules allows the Home Office to refuse visa applications where an applicant has made false representations, submitted false documents and/or information:-

(7A) where false representations have been made or false documents or information have been submitted (whether or not material to the application, and whether or not to the applicant’s knowledge), or material facts have not been disclosed, in relation to the application or in order to obtain documents from the Secretary of State or a third party required in support of the application.

The fact whether the information submitted is relevant to the applicant’s case or whether the applicant had knowledge of the information is irrelevant.

Paragraph 370(7B) goes on to impose the tough sanction as a consequence of submitting an application where grounds of deception or false representations have been raised by the Home Office, the refusal will automatically attract a 10-years ban for entry clearance. Hence, a single refusal might lead to a ban from entering the UK for 10 years.

Innocently Making False Representations on UK Visa Applications

There are a wide range of errors that could trigger an assumption of dishonesty. For instance, if you disclosed that you have no criminal convictions but in fact you have had warnings or penalties, you might be criticised for this and the Home Office may consider this as deception or making a false representation.

Caselaw in this area have sought to clarify that the intention behind this rule is not there to penalise applicants for making innocent mistakes. However, a prima facie dishonesty assumption can be held by an Entry Clearance Officer or caseworker, simply due to the fact that an applicant accidentally ticking the wrong box on the application form e.g. you ticked ‘No’ when asked whether you have any criminal convictions and you completely forgot about that driving penalty five years ago.

Further case law precedent provides that ‘false representation’ must include an element of ‘dishonesty’. If a plausible reason is given to an allegedly dishonest representation, the burden of proof reverts back to the Secretary of State to prove that a representation have been false and dishonest.

Numerous cases have gone through lengthy appeal process in attempt to correct a small error; this is both time consuming and costly when you take into account all the court fees and litigation fees.  Applicants should seek legal advice before submitting application to avoid the disappointment  and harsh after effects of a refusal and avoid a potential ten year ban from entering the UK.

Legal Immigration Advice on Successful UK Visa Applications

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through a variety of Entry Clearance and Leave to Remain application or appeal process step by step. This significantly limits the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law.

Please always call us for a telephone case assessment even if you wish to consider other advisers. Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice in this area of law.

To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now 02071830570 on for a telephone case assessment.

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