First group of 10-20 vulnerable resettled Syrians arrive in UK

First group of 10-20 vulnerable resettled Syrians arrive in UK 

 

The first group of Syrian refugees, believed to be some 10 – 20 people, arrived in the UK this week under the government’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme. The people are deemed to be most vulnerable and cannot be adequately protected in the region. They will be granted five years’ humanitarian protection and will be able to access public funds, the labour market and have the possibility of family reunion.

After months of campaigning by NGOs and aid agencies with pressure from other political parties, the UK government announced its commitment to offer resettlement places to vulnerable refugees including women at risk of sexual violence and survivors of torture at the end of January.

While a figure of up to 500 refugees to be resettled was initially reported, it is now believed the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme will assist several hundred refugees over a period of up to three years.

While assuring that this relocation will transform, if not save the people’s lives, Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren has said that, “The Government has insisted from the outset that this programme will be needs rather than number based, so it’s disappointing to hear that it will only support several hundred people over the next three years when the on going need is clearly colossal.”

“Over 2.5 million refugees have now fled the conflict and as a result, UNHCR is now calling on governments around the world to help resettle 130,000 people over the next three years. We hope the UK Government will be bold and ambitious in its response to this call and encourage other countries to act similarly. The world must not turn its back on Syria’s refugees”, continues Wren.

UK –based NGOs, Asylum Aid, Freedom from Torture, British Refugee Council, Regional Refugee Forum, Refugee Action, Scottish Refugee Council, Welsh Refugee Council, Crucible Human Rights Centre, Northern Refugee Centre, City of Sanctuary and STAR have joined with over 100 NGOs to call on European leaders to give refugees a safe way into Europe, protect refugees arriving at Europe’s borders and reunite families torn apart by crisis. Sign the petition and give your voice to Syria’s refugees via www.helpsyriasrefugees.eu.

For further information:

European Commission publishes guidance for Member States to guarantee right to family reunification

European Commission publishes guidance for Member States to guarantee right to family reunification 

 

The European Commission adopted yesterday a Communication to provide guidance to Member States on how to apply the Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification.

The Communication addresses a number of issues that were raised by civil society organisations in their contribution to the Commission’s Green Paper, such as the lack of information on and assistance in the family reunification procedure, the cost of family reunification processes, the administrative hurdles (evidence requirements, DNA testing, limited access to embassies, visa requirements, etc), the duration of procedures (often up to 2 to 3 years), and the restrictive interpretation of dependency.

The European Commission reaffirms the obligation for Member States not to use their margin of appreciation in a manner that can undermine the objective of the Directive, which is to promote family reunification, and its effectiveness. The availability of information, the best interests of the child, individual assessments and the right to legal challenge are overall principles Member States cannot derogate from.

Regarding the situation for refugees, the Commission recalls that the lack of evidential documents cannot be the sole reason for rejecting an application, and that Member States are obligated to take into account other evidence to establish family links, such as written or oral statements and interviews with family members. The Commission considers that Member States should allow sponsors to introduce an application for family reunification in the territory of the Member State in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the right to family reunification. Finally, the Commission encourages Member States to apply the same rules for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.

These guidelines follow the decision taken in 2012 based on a public consultation not to review the Directive, but instead to fully implement the existing rules, to launch infringement procedures where necessary, and to produce guidelines for Member States on specific issues.

Lateef (Latif) Avar Zamani sentenced to prison for Immigration Offences

Lateef Avar Zamani sentenced to prison for Immigration Offences

 

An adviser was handed a suspended sentence, a curfew order and made to pay £500 compensation and £200 prosecution costs.

Latif Avar Zamani, of Finchley, was given the three-month custodial sentence suspended for two years and was made subject to a curfew order after pleading guilty at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on November 26, 2007 of illegally providing immigration advice.

He also pleaded guilty to illegally advertising immigration services. There was no separate penalty

 

 

OISC News Spring 2008

Portuguese Bigamist Bride Jailed for 4 Years for Multiple Sham Marriages

Portuguese Bigamist Bride Jailed for 4 Years for Multiple Sham Marriages

A Portuguese ‘bride’ who entered into numerous sham marriages in return for cash has been jailed for 4 years.

Tania Sofia de Paiva Aniceto, 25, of Boundary Road, Barking, was arrested after specialist Home Office investigators became suspicious of multiple applications for leave to remain in the UK as spouse of an EEA national, submitted by foreign nationals. All the applicants claimed to be married to either Aniceto or Sandra Monteiro, an alias that she was using. Home Office enquiries established that false Portuguese identity documents had been submitted to support the applications.

Aniceto married 4 Nigerian men at ceremonies in Brent, Lewisham, Rochdale and Southwark between May 2010 and June 2012. She was arrested at her home address on 20 November 2012 and later charged with 5 counts of facilitation and 4 of bigamy. A charge of possessing a false identity document was later dropped from the indictment.

As yet the Home Office has not traced or arrested the ‘husbands’, although technically only one of the men is legally married to lady. The men face arrest and removal from the UK if found to have no other leave to remain. The Home Office says that the men are from Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria.

On 14 April, Ancieto pleaded guilty to 1 charge each of facilitation and bigamy, but not guilty to the remainder. A 3-day trial was scheduled for 16 October 2013. She eventually pleaded guilty to all the other charges.

Aniceto was sentenced to 4 years at Basildon Crown Court on Friday 18 October.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said:

‘By extending the marriage and civil partnership notice period to 28 days in England and Wales and allowing this to be increased to 70 days in some circumstances we will make time to investigate, prosecute and remove those involved in sham marriages.’

A sham marriage or civil partnership typically occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area as a means of attempting to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in the UK.

The issue of sham marriages has been at the fore front of recent Home Office changes to the Immigration Rules. Some of these changes started in July 2012 when the Home Office changed the ‘probationary’ period that couples must remain married before the non-EEA spouse gains indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Unfortunately we have found in our work that it is not just the foreign nationals seeking to remain in the UK who sometime try to take advantage of sham marriages. The reality is that many of the European’s nationals who ‘offer’ their services in marrying non-EEA nationals just for the purposes of assisting them in obtaining visas can also easily take advantage of the law. Our experience in assisting and advising clients has always been that sham marriages are, apart from being an offence and a breach of immigration rules, also on the whole likely to be result in failure. Once an immigration applicant has entered into a sham marriage it often turns into a slippery down hill path, with one problem leading to another. Added to this is the fact that a sham marriage is in effect an immigration fraud. Any person found to be relying on a fraudulent document or marriage is likely to lose a significant amount of credibility with the Home Office and also there are paragraphs 320 of the Immigration Rules to take into consideration. These basically state that you can be barred from making any further immigration applications for up to 10 years after you have been found to have lied to the Home Office.

The best advice is therefore, no matter how complicated and precarious a persons immigration status is, avoid sham marriages at all costs. For anyone who is concerned about their immigration status and who needs some expert immigration advice from a solicitor, call us on 020 8401 7352 to arrange a mutually convenient appointment. Remember that anything you discuss with us will always remain confidential. We understand that many people are living in the UK illegally and fear the consequences of identifying themselves. However; with immigration rules constantly being tightened and thresholds being raised there is no better time than right now to make a start at regularising your stay, where possible. As experts in immigration law we will always be able to tell you exactly where you stand and what will be the best steps to legally resolve your status.

 

STY02 – Tier 4 – interviews and genuine student rule (GSR)

STY02 – Tier 4 – interviews and genuine student rule (GSR)

Study (STY)

This is internal guidance for use by entry clearance staff on the handling of applications made outside the United Kingdom (UK) for students. It is a live document under constant review and is for information only.

On this page

The relevant immigration rules and the guidance for considering GSR following a Tier 4 interview are set out below.

Relevant Immigration Rules

245ZV(ca)

The applicant must, if required to do so on examination or interview, be able to demonstrate without the assistance of an interpreter English language proficiency of a standard to be expected from an individual who has reached the standard specified in a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) assigned in accordance with Appendix A paragraph 118(b) (for the avoidance of doubt, the applicant will not be subject to a test at the standard set out in Appendix A, paragraph 118(b)).

245ZV(k)

To qualify for entry clearance as a student the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) must be satisfied that the applicant is a genuine student. 245ZV(k) will not be applied to a national or the rightful holder of a qualifying passport issued by one of the relevant competent authorities of those countries currently exempted from the Genuine Student Rule under Appendix H of the Immigration Rules.

320(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.

320(7D)

Failure, without providing a reasonable explanation, to comply with a request made on behalf of the ECO to attend for interview will result in a refusal.
The ECO should also refer to the full general grounds for refusal at paragraph 320.

 

Caseworker guidance

1.  Rule 245ZV(k) is not applicable where the applicant is exempt under Appendix H of the Immigration Rules (see Annex B).

2.  An application should not be refused under paragraph 245ZV(k) unless the applicant has had the chance to respond to questions at interview (a credibility or genuineness interview) unless one of the following circumstances apply:

(i) The applicant has previously been refused because an Entry Clearance Officer(ECO) has not been satisfied that he is a genuine student, and there have been no material changes in his circumstances or new evidence since that refusal. An ECO should exercise caution when considering whether there has been a material change in his circumstances and where there is any doubt should conduct an interview;

(ii)  Following a significant number of recent very similar or identical applications in that post, ECOs have satisfied themselves by interviewing a sample of these applicants that the applications are not genuine.

3. ECOs are reminded that where an applicant:

Cannot speak English to the expected standard without the aid of an interpreter,  – the application can be refused under paragraph 245ZV(ca); and/or

Has used false representations – the applicant is to be refused under paragraph 320 (7A).

4. In assessing whether the applicant is a genuine student, ECOs must consider the application in the round, taking into account the reasons the applicant has given about why they wish to come to complete a particular course at a UK college along with any of the following factors or other relevant matters.

These factors are not a checklist and must not be used as such. They are a guide to assessing whether an applicant satisfies paragraph 245ZV(k). These examples will not be appropriate to all cases and ECOs may consider other relevant matters that arise in the particular circumstances of each case.

a) The immigration history of the applicant, in the UK and other countries, for example:

  • Previous visa applications for the UK and other countries, including reasons for any visa refusals;
  • The amount of time the applicant has spent in the UK or other countries on previous visas, and for what purpose; and
  • Whether the applicant has complied with the terms of previous visas for the UK and other countries.

b) The applicant’s education history, study and post study plans, for example:

  • How much time has elapsed since the applicant last studied, and whether the applicant has sound reasons for returning to, or commencing formal study in this area, particularly after any significant gap;
  • The applicant’s knowledge of, and level of research undertaken into, the proposed course of study and sponsoring institution, and living arrangements in the UK;
  • The applicant’s personal circumstances, where these would make it difficult to complete a full time course of study; and
  • The relevance of the course to post-study plans.

At the same time, they should also consider the education provider’s decision to issue a CAS, and decide whether they consider, based on their expertise in assessing entry clearance applications and the evidence available to them, whether the applicant meets the requirement of paragraph 245ZV(k).

The ECO’s opinion on whether the applicant has the academic ability to study the proposed course is not a relevant consideration and should not form part of any conclusion reached. The academic ability of the applicant is a judgement for the sponsor to make with the benefit of its educational expertise. Similarly the fact that the course does not represent academic progression is not a decisive factor in this consideration.

The relevance of the course to post-study plans, or vagueness about the nature of post-study plans, should not be used as a sole reason to refuse an applicant, rather it will be one of a range of factors to be considered in the round in assessing whether the student is genuine. In this context, whether the course will add to the applicant’s employability or whether the course could be undertaken more cheaply in the applicant’s home country should not be considered. For those considered to be genuine students, intention to leave the UK at the end of the course is not relevant as there are many bases on which an individually could lawfully remain in the UK.

c) The financial circumstances of the applicant, for example:

  • The economic circumstances of the applicant in their home country; and
  • Whether the applicant has a credible income source to meet course fees and maintenance for him / herself and any dependants for the full period of study.

The ECO should take account of the fact that the applicant has satisfied the maintenance requirements and that applicants will be prepared to make considerable investment in gaining a qualification from the UK.

d) The course provider and agents, for example:

  • If the applicant is applying to attend an institution that is under investigation or has been identified as an institution of concern in relation to immigration compliance; or where the application is being managed by an agent about which there are concerns, that may be an indication the applicant is not a genuine student.

5.  An ECO must be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that an applicant is not a genuine student when refusing an application on the basis of paragraph 245ZV(k).