The recent problems with the Home Office issuing incorrect Biometric Residence Permits to a large number of students, prompted Westkin to write a blog on the steps you should take if you are issued with incorrect leave.
As a seasoned immigration advisor, coming across errors in visas or biometric residence permits is not uncommon. What is more frustrating is that, even when previously represented in their immigration applications, these errors were either not picked up by the immigration advisor, or they were picked up and were deliberately ignored. This can jeopardise a person’s future in the UK.
Two cases of immigration authorities mistakes
Two such examples of this that this write has come across are as follows: a client entered the UK on a spousal visa under the Rules in effect prior to July 2012. The applicant had been granted indefinite leave to remain by the entry clearance officer in the USA (for the Rule sticklers, this was due to their relationship having existed outside the UK for some four years prior to entry), however on arrival in the UK, the officer at the border had amended the visa, by hand, in order to grant the applicant leave to end at the same time as her passport, some ten years later. This should have been challenged at the time, however, the Applicant only knew there was a problem when approaching Westkin some ten years later.
Another applicant had applied for leave under European Regulations and had been refused by the Home Office. On appeal to the Tribunal, the Appellant’s appeal had been dismissed under the European Regulations but had the appeal allowed under Human Rights grounds. The Home Office granted leave under the European Regulations, rather than on Human Rights grounds in error. This ultimately caused the Appellant significant problems on the application to be made when they approached Westkin five years later.
What should you do?
So what do you do if you’re issued either incorrect leave, or there are other errors on the visa or Biometric Residence Permit? The Home Office states that errors on the Biometric Residence Permit should be reported within 10 days of receipt of the Card. You can report problems with the Card on the Home Office website however, if there is a problem with the length of leave granted, as has been the case in a number of student cases, then an Administrative Review application may need to be lodged. Westkin has immigration advisors who can assist with lodging this application.
If the Applicant notices an error on the ‘vignette’ (the paper visa in the passport) then the Applicant should initially contact the entry clearance post that issued the vignette, or contact EntryClearance.Errors@fco.gov.uk. The post should be contacted as soon as the error is noticed and before use of the vignette. This can place significant time pressures on an applicant, particularly if they need to start their course in the UK and have a matter of weeks or days. Westkin can assist in contacting the Entry Clearance post with a view to obtaining a new vignette in the minimum amount of time possible.
So, what’s the lesson?
The lesson to take from this blog is if you notice an error in your Home Office issued documents, then do not rest on your laurels. Even if the error appears beneficial to you, it may not be in the long wrong and you should receive legal advice on the impact of the error.
In both of the examples cited above, Westkin was able to obtain indefinite leave to remain for the Applicants, despite the delay in notifying the Home Office.
Notice an error in your documents?