UK Immigration Case: Han, R (on the visa application of) v SSHD

The result of submitting a visa application one day late is demonstrated in the unfortunate case of Han, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 4606. Overseas Student Service Centre Limited (the “OSSC”) were provided with all the required documents to make a successful visa application for an extension of leave for a Tier 4 General Migrant. However, the lawyers submitted the visa application one day late and as a result their client’s (“Claimant”) visa application was refused on the basis that the Claimant did not have an “established presence” in the UK. Furthermore, the Claimant required more funds than she actually held in her bank account. 

Facts of the Immigration Case

The facts of the immigration case are as follows, the Claimant was granted leave to enter the UK as a Tier 4 Student this visa was valid until 13 September 2012. During this period the Claimant successfully completed a BA in Business Management at the University of Northampton. The Claimant graduated in June 2012 and was accepted to do her MSc in Events Management at Bournemouth University at the beginning of September 2012.

The Claimant approached OSSC to prepare and submit her visa application for an extension of leave as a Tier 4 General Migrant to enable her to pursue her Masters. She entered a contract with OSSC on 7 September 2012 and by 12 September 2012 had provided the lawyers with the documentation and a signed visa application form. OSSC signed the visa application form on 13 September 2012 and submitted it the following day.

The Claimant’s visa application for an extension was refused by the Secretary of State less than 4 months later on the basis that the Claimant did not have an “established presence studying in the UK” under paragraph 14 of Appendix C of the Immigration Rules. This is due to the fact that the Claimant’s visa application was submitted a day after her leave expired on 13 September 2012. Furthermore, due to this error the Claimant had to show that she had the necessary funds to cover the fees for the first academic year and £820 per month for 9 months for herself, some £7,200. If she did have an established presence then she would have only had to demonstrate that she had £800 for two months for herself. To make matters even worse for the Claimant she was not given the right to appeal since her visa application was considered to be made when she did not have leave. However, she was given the option to make an extension visa application outside the UK.

Mr Justice Cranston: Claimant Has Been Badly Let Down

The Claimant challenged the decision of the Secretary of State by Judicial Review and blamed the refusal on the OSSC’s error. Mr Mold, who was acting on behalf of the Claimant stated the grounds in which the Claimant could have achieved a successful visa application.

  1. The Claimant should have been notified to submit her bank statement in the right format. The Claimant’s 9 September 2012 statement showed that over the summer of 2012, there had been several payments into her account so that on 3 September the balance was £7,539.62. However, there was a payment out on 4 September of £4,400, leaving a balance of £3,139.62. Mr Mold argued due to the date of the statement it should be considered in the wrong format. Had the Claimant submitted or requested to submit further documentation such as her 3 September 2012 statement she would have satisfied the Immigration Rules.
  2. Mr Mold further stated that if the OSSC had submitted the visa application in time the Claimant would only have to show that she had £1600 in her account.

Mr Justice Cranston ruled that although he understood where the Claimant was coming from it is important to comply with the UK Immigration Rules:

“As I said at the outset, this is a most unfortunate case, the claimant has been badly let down. It may seem to the outsider that it is very much an application of technical rules. For reasons given by the Court of Appeal, the technical rules are absolutely vital to the proper administration of immigration control. I dismiss the application.”

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