There are a number of reasons why an individual may wish to move to the United Kingdom: work; family; and education to name a few. However, unfortunately for those individuals, UK immigration law is anything but accessible and clear, making it difficult for individuals to know exactly what is required of them under the law when completing the relevant applications.
The first difficulty with immigration law is actually finding out what it says, as unfortunately the law is scattered around various Acts of Parliament. Life is not made any easier by repeated amendments to main acts and in particular those introduced in 1971, 1988, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014 and lastly 2016. It can be very difficult even to find the right legislation as although the original versions of these Acts can be found on the legislation.gov.uk website amended versions may not be available, which is no help to people wishing to understand the law in order to come to or remain in this country.
As if having various Acts of Parliament with several amendments is not enough to confuse the position is further complicated by secondary legislation, Home Office guidance and policy statements. One of the biggest problems with all of this is the sheer volume of it. Lawyers and Judges let alone lay individuals are faced with rules and regulations which are, uniquely, set out in a non-sequential fashion. The immigration rules alone run to 417 paragraphs (many of which are divided into numerous sub paragraphs) together with various appendices. By way of example paragraph 245 starts with paragraph 245AAA and finishes with paragraph 245ZZE.
If you are an individual who has managed to find the relevant law which you think applies to you then you have done rather well. Perhaps we should add that the old Home Office website dedicated to immigration and visa issues was closed down some time ago. The rules can be further complicated by their requirements, for example only evidence in a certain format will be accepted for some types of application. There are appendices to the Immigration Rules setting out “Specified Evidence” for certain types of application and on occasions those appendices introduce additional substantive requirements not set out in the main rules. Points based applicants can struggle to understand let alone meet the evidential requirements and even if they do, they may find that their application is refused because they do not meet the “genuineness requirement”. The forms themselves are often long and complicated. The current application form for an extension of stay as a wife or husband runs to 79 pages. Even the application form for a permanent residence card for EEA nationals runs to 85 pages.
The complexity of the requirements combined with the high risk of getting it wrong in terms of the application fee often being over £1000 and the risk of becoming an ‘overstayer’ with the impact that may have on appeal rights even if they exist means it advisable to hire a good immigration lawyer in order to assist with the application the first time round. This is even more important since the restriction on rights of appeal introduced in 2015. In many cases it is now no longer possible to appeal under the immigration rules.
Expert advice is essential in order to prepare an application for leave to remain in the UK in order to avoid becoming an ‘overstayer’. We have immigration specialists experienced in dealing with these kinds of applications. If you need assistance with completing an application in order to avoid unnecessary fees and risk of becoming an ‘overstayer’, or immigration law generally then please do not hesitate to contact the team on 01603 610911.