In the news: Student Visitor latest to fall victim to UK’s Hostile Environment Policy

In the news this week, the Independent has reported the case of a Bosnian national currently undertaking her Master’s Degree at a top University in Amsterdam who has just been refused a visit visa in order to attend a psychology conference by Glasgow University for 6 days. The UK’s Hostile Environment Policy has made it increasingly difficult for genuine migrants to enter or remain in the UK lawfully and this is only likely to become worse post-Brexit.

In the news: The Case of the Student Visitor and how she became the latest victim of the UK’s Hostile Environment Policy

Nadza Dzinalija, a Bosnian national currently studying her Master’s Degree at Amsterdam University, has been denied a UK Visitor Visa in order to attend an academic conference organised by Glasgow University. Ms Dzinalija planned to come to the UK for 6 days and even provided her return flight ticket in evidence of her intention to leave the UK at the end of her visit. However, the Home Office has refused her visa application stating that they were “not satisfied” she would leave at the end of her stay. Ms Dzinalija has no previous adverse immigration history and it can be argued that “the fact the Home Office had refused the student’s visa on the assumption she would abandon her studies and try to remain in the UK illegally was both “unlawful” and “nonsensical”. Understandable, Ms Dzinalija is disappointed with the Home Office’s decision and fears that this negative decision could adversely impact any future UK Visas and Immigration application.

The Home Office gave the Independent its standardised response, stating “all visa applications are considered in line with the immigration rules and on the basis of the evidence provided”. However, the Hostile Environment Policy has meant that Home Office caseworkers are often accused of being too objective when considering visa applications and failing to use common sense.

What is the UK’s Hostile Environment Policy?

Since 2012 when Theresa May was Home Secretary, the UK’s Immigration Rules has been overhauled and the requirements for many UK visa applications have become far more stringent. Termed the Hostile Environment Policy, the Home Office has made it harder for non-EEA migrants to visit or settle in the UK. This has meant families have been separated, employers are finding it more difficult to employ highly skilled migrant workers and there is no longer a right of appeal for failed visitor visa Applicants. This is all in a bid to reduce the UK’s net migration figure to the inconceivable target of 100,000. In addition to the vast changes to the Immigration Rules, other aspects of the Hostile Environment Policy include Right to Work checks, Right to Rent checks, Right to Bank checks and Right to Driving Licence checks, all of which create an anti-immigrant environment in the UK and make those with lawful immigration status feel as if they should not be here.

Post-Brexit, it is unlikely that the Hostile Environment Policy will change, and EEA nationals will likely also be subject to the Home Office’s anti-immigrant position.

Requirements for a Standard Visitor Visa for Business or Academic Purposes under the Hostile Environment Policy

The Standard Visitor visa usually permits Applicants to stay in the UK for up to 6 months in order to undertake a variety of activities beyond the standard ‘leisure and tourism’ purposes. The Standard Visitor visa replaced the following individual categories:

  • Family Visitor visa;
  • General Visitor visa;
  • Child Visitor visa;
  • Business Visitor visa, including visas for academic purposes;
  • Sports Visitor visa;
  • Entertainer Visitor visa;
  • Prospective Entrepreneur visa;
  • Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa; and
  • Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa.

For all of the above purposes, Applicants must also meet all of the requirements for the Standard Visitor visa. It is important to demonstrate that in order to be a genuine visitor; Applicants must intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit, not undertake any paid or unpaid work, cannot access public funds or make the UK their primary home through frequent or successive visits.

Since in the introduction of the Hostile Environment Policy, it has become increasingly difficult to be granted a Visitor Visa to the UK, therefore it is important that Applicants contact our specialist Immigration Team in order to arrange a consultation and discuss the requirements for the Visitor Visa in detail. As part of our service, LEXVISA prepares detailed representations to accompany the Visitor Visa application in order to give it the greatest chance of success.

Using Legal Representation to submit an application to the Home Office in the midst of the UK’s Hostile Environment Policy

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a UK Visa application to the Home Office despite the Hostile Environment Policy.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully submit an application to the Home Office despite the UK’s Hostile Environment Policy

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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