As long term readers know, I often assist with refugee and immigration cases, including representing at immigration courts, and we have occasionally over the years housed refugee families in our home for a while.
I have nowadays to add for the avoidance of trolling, no I do not get paid for any of this, by anyone.
Yesterday I was introduced to a case unlike any other I have seen.
A student arrived in the UK, with a new, valid and genuine student multiple visa in his passport. His course fees are paid and he had money to support himself.
On first arrival at the UK airport immigration desk he was told his visa was cancelled. There was no interview and no questions were asked, he was just told the computer said it had been cancelled.
He was taken aside to a holding cell, and there told they would not say why his student visa was cancelled, as it was confidential.
He was not given any paperwork. The visa was not physically cancelled in his passport – it still has not been. That is itself very strange, if it had been cancelled it should have been stamped as such at the airport.
If the student visa had been refused rather than granted, he would by law have been required to be issued with a “decision letter” giving the grounds for refusal. That letter would also by law explain his rights of appeal.
Now a visa does not give an automatic right of entry to the UK. The immigration service at the border have the right to interview the entrant and refuse entry if they are not satisfied. This might most frequently be because the person has no evidence of funds to support themselves.
It is however very unusual indeed for a person with a valid visa to be turned back.
If it happens, it should be following interview and based on evidence and would still require a letter to be issued.
None of that happened. The border staff did not claim they were making the decision, it had been made mysteriously elsewhere, explicitly with no explanation, and existed within their computer.
The student was told they would simply be deported immediately back. They therefore entered a claim of political asylum – something they had no intention whatsoever of doing when they boarded the plane with their student visa. Their grounds included that they had borrowed the money for their course fees, travel and maintenance, from people who would now kill them if they returned with no means to repay.
I find this case utterly baffling. It seems to have been handled in a manner designed to circumvent all the rights of the student and all the legal requirement for a paper trail.
If the visa had been cancelled before travel, why was the student not informed of the cancellation in their home town and a new decision letter issued, and why was the airline not informed at pre-clearance?
We now have the situation that the student is stuck here in asylum seeker limbo, not allowed to attend the course they have paid for and not allowed to work. How does this help anybody?
I have written before of the privatisation and deprofessionalisation of UK Immigration Services. What we seem to have here is the empowerment of entirely arbitrary racism. There seems a complete contempt by the “UK Border Force” for the laws they are supposed to be enforcing.
Forgive me for pointing out that my ability to provide this coverage is entirely dependent on your kind voluntary subscriptions which keep this blog going. This post is free for anybody to reproduce or republish, including in translation. You are still very welcome to read without subscribing.
Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.
Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.
Choose subscription amount from dropdown box:
Paypal address for one-off donations: [email protected]
Alternatively by bank transfer or standing order:
Account number 3 2 1 5 0 9 6 2
Sort code 6 0 – 4 0 – 0 5
Bank address Natwest, PO Box 414, 38 Strand, London, WC2H 5JB