UK Immigration: British National hits out at Spouse Visa Application Refusal

Today, it has been reported that a British oil worker and his family have been torn apart by the Immigration rules, after the Home Office refused his wife’s Spouse visa application. Eliene, a Brazilian national is married to Alex Chatwin with two daughters. Eliene, submitted an application to the Home Office for a spouse visa which was subsequently refused. The application was refused on the basis that an incorrectly dated payslip along with incorrect documentary evidence showing Eliene met the English language requirement was submitted. The married couple have been left devastated after the news. Alex Chatwin, who is currently working and living in Scotland, has reportedly spent £15,000 fighting to bring his family home from Brazil.

Alex Chatwin: Ours is not a Marriage of Convenience — we’ve had two Children together and my wife’s English is good

Alex and Brazilian born  Eliene Sady Barbosa, married in 2008 at Aberdeen Registrar’s. The couple had their first child one year later at the Aberdeen maternity hospital. They moved to Brazil for Alex’s job and had their second child in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. Both children are British passport holders. 

The family of four returned to the UK last year in August 2013 and Eilene tried to get a visa, but the Home rejected her application. The family made the heartbreaking decision to separate, so that Eilene could go back to Brazil and apply for an Entry Clearance Spousal application. This application was also refused.

Alex expressed his disappointment in the Home Office’s decision:

“We’ve been caught in a bureaucratic nightmare by trying to do the right thing. Ours is not a marriage of convenience — we’ve had two children together and my wife’s English is good because she’s lived here on and off since 1999. I’ve done my bit as a legal, taxpaying British ­citizen by applying for a visa for my wife, but I’m being penalised for the international nature of my oil and gas work. I’m very ashamed to be British. How do we end up with a system that treats people like this? It’s unimaginable.”

One of the requirements to be met for a Spousal visa, is passing a Home Office approved English language test. Eliene submitted an ESOL Skills for Life Entry 3 certificate, this is a qualification which grants an indefinite leave to remain visa. But the qualification does not apply for Spousal visas. Ironically, London Bridge Language school, a school accredited in ESOL qualifications stated that Eliene’s English language skills is “above the requirements for spouse visas”.

The couple’s ongoing battle with the Home Office has cost more than £15,000. This is due to application fees, flights and accommodation for his wife and two daughters, child healthcare in Brazil and calls to a £1.37 per minute helpline, which has revolved around Eliene’s ability to speak English.

UK Visa Applicants: Meeting the English Language Requirement

Currently, an applicant can meet the Home Office’s English language requirement in one of the following ways:

  • By passing an acceptable test at a minimum level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) with an approved provider, or
  • By being a national of a majority English speaking country, or
  • By having an academic qualification recognised by UK NARIC to be equivalent to the standard of a Bachelors/Master’s degree or PHD in the UK which was taught in English.

The UKBA provides an exemption for those aged 65 or over, those who have a mental or physical disability or those who have exceptional circumstances which prevent them from meeting the requirement.

Are you affected by the Home Office’s ‘English Language Requirement’?

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to go through the English language requirement with you. As well as, the process of making a visa application to the UK step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.

Contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment.

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