LEXVISA Weekly Immigration Update 28 July 2017

It has been an interesting week where the Home Office has faced further scrutiny for its excessive delays in deciding UK Visa and Immigration applications. In some cases, the delays have resulted in Applicants losing out on valuable employment and education opportunities. The Home Office has also introduced new changes to the Tier 4 Student Visa route which came into effect on 6 April 2017. There has also been a surge in Organ Donor Visitor Visa applications as recent reports suggest there is a lack of organ donors in the UK.

1. Home Office Delays on UK Visas and Immigration Applications

Unfortunately, it not uncommon for Applicants to experience severe Home Office delays on their UK Visa and Immigration applications. Recent reports suggest that the ombudsman had upheld seven of every ten complaints it received, with poor decision making and excessive Home Office delays being the common problem. It is apparent that the Home Office is struggling to keep up with the number of UK Visa and Immigration application it receives. As a result of unexpected and disproportionate delays, Applicants are being left in difficult waters as they are losing out on valuable employment and education opportunities.

There are limited actions that can be taken against the UKVI where the Home Office fails to process an application or fails to provide a decision on a UK Visa and Immigration application in accordance with its standard processing times. Whilst there is an application status tracking service available which allows Applicants to check the status of their applications. We often get informed by our clients that this Visa Application status tracking tool to be defective and unresponsive. It has become clear that there is a fundamental problem with the way the Home Office processes its Applications as it often leaves Applicants without decisions and fails to respond adequately to concerned Applicants, often failing to provide a simple update on the status of a pending application.

One way of overcoming Home Office delays is by using a User Pay service such as a Priority Visa Service. Applicants who opt for the Priority Visa Service would have their applications placed ahead of the queue at the Decision Making Centre and have their applications given priority over the standard applications. There is an additional fee involved for the Priority Visa Service but this service cannot be used by all Applicants and legal advice should be obtained before applying for the Priority Visa Service. It is important to note that the Priority Visa Service does not guarantee that an application will be successful and in some cases, decisions can be delayed.

2. An Overview of the Recent Changes to Tier 4 Student Visa Applications

The UK has made stringent changes to the Tier 4 Student Visa route which came into effect on 6 April 2017. Some of the key amendments which were listed in the Statement of Changes include:

  • The definition of the working week has been revised to mean a 7 day period from Monday to Sunday, therefore during term time, Tier 4 Students will be able to work 20 hours per week during that 7 day period;
  • Loan funds for maintenance are to be paid directly to the educational institution; and
  • Rules have changed regarding overstaying – International students must return to their national country after they have completed their degree, even though getting a job in the UK could boost UK business and economy.

These changes have been viewed as tactics by the UK Government to deter overseas students from applying to UK universities which in turn will reduce the UK’s net migration figure. This crackdown has been said to be unfair for international students who wish to study in the UK.

3. What is an Organ Donor Visitor Visa?

The Organ Donor Visitor Visa is one of the subcategories under the Standard Visitor Visa (formerly known as General Visitor Visa). The purpose of the Organ Donor Visitor Visa application is to allow non-EEA nationals to visit the UK to donate an organ to a loved family member. Applicants who wish to apply for the Organ Donor Visitor Visa must meet all the requirements of the Standard Visitor Visa application as well as additional requirements under Appendix V of the Immigration Rules. In order to successfully apply for this visa, it is important for Applicants to meet all the requirements under Appendix V as well as to provide the required medical evidence in support of the application. Where an application lacks the correct medical evidence it is likely that the Home Office will refuse the application, the Home Office has made it abundantly clear that they will only grant an Organ Donor Visitor Visa application if they are satisfied that the application is genuine and that their Immigration rules are met.

Recent reports suggest there has been an increase in the number of patients in need of an urgent organ transplant. There are currently 6389 people in the UK waiting for an organ transplant but there is a shortage of organ donors in the UK, therefore patients have started to ask their overseas family members for assistance. There have been many cases where the Home Office has failed to exercise proper discretion and has failed to take into account the urgency in granting an Organ Donor Visitor Visa application. An unsuccessful application is likely to have dire consequences for families as the vast majority of Organ Donor Visitor Visa applications are made as a last resort and there may be no alternative options in the UK.

Using Legal Representation to Submit a UK Immigration Visa

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on the law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a UK Immigration & Visa application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

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 Immigration & Visa application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully Apply for a UK Immigration Visa

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 prospects of submitting a UK Immigration & Visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a UK Immigration & 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 to discuss a UK Immigration & Visa application.

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

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