Serious concerns over UK visa decisions made by Home Office

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Amid an increasing number of bad UK visa decisions being overturned following media exposure, the Home Office is being accused of operating in a ‘continuous state of disaster management.’

Sanwar Ali comment:

In a system where Home Office officials seem to be encouraged to take an aggressive stance on implementing visa policy it is inevitable that unjust decisions will be made.  It seems certain that there will also be racial discrimination.  We believe that the Home Office and those sponsored by the Home Office are more likely to target ethnic minority migrants who are perceived to have less power and influence. 

Amid serious allegations of racial discrimination and abusive behaviour an organisation sponsored by the Home Office is currently being sued for racial discrimination, abuse and victimisation in the Employment Tribunal.  Despite the Windrush scandal the Home Office have not taken the necessary steps to investigate this sort of behaviour and prevent this from happening.

Media coverage of several recent cases involving people refused entry to the UK has led to many decisions being reversed within hours or minutes of news stories going live online or published in print.

An article published by The Independent, claims that two recent cases on which they reported, both involving people refused UK entry because immigration officials were “not satisfied” they would return home, were overturned within 12 hours of their reports going public.

Speed of Overturned UK Visa Decisions a Warning Sign

UK immigration experts say that the speed at which a decision is overturned once a case goes public is a warning sign that the Home Office’s adjudication process is inaccurate and unfair. One commentator said: “It’s a debacle and nothing short of a popularity contest. Only people who have access to a journalist can get their cases resolved.”

The case of 59-year-old Yvonne Williams was reversed following a report published by The Independent. Ms Williams is the daughter of a Windrush generation immigrant who was issued with a removal order despite her whole family being in Britain.

Meanwhile, the decision of UK immigration officials to refuse entry to six-year-old, UK-born Mohamed Bangoura to be reunited with his mother after a holiday, was also overturned. The case of 27-year-old Afghan Hafizzulah Husseinkhel, who was threatened with deportation despite serving in the British army, was also reversed. 

The journalists exposing these cases are often contacted by the individuals themselves, a charity that’s supporting them or immigration solicitors that are representing them. Immigration lawyers claim that media exposure is now often considered the ‘only way’ to pursue a ‘fair and timely’ outcome on refusal decisions made by the Home Office.

Dysfunctional Process

Legal director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), Chai Patel, argues that although it’s positive that individual cases are resolved successfully, the entire fiasco exposes a ‘completely dysfunctional’ system that’s ‘incredibly unfair’ for people who can’t get media exposure for their case.

Mr Patel said: “It demonstrates the lack of faith or consideration that UK immigration officials give to their decisions, when they’re willing to overturn them within a matter of hours or minutes if their decisions attract a bit of bad publicity.”

What’s more concerning is that rather than having a proper process, there now exists a popularity contest, where if enough people give coverage to a particular case, the Home Office will do a U-turn,” Mr Patel added.

Patel slammed the decision-making process, describing it as ‘grossly unfair’, especially for people who have no chance of getting media coverage for their case due to sensitivity issues, or they don’t have access to immigration lawyers, journalists or a community that can create campaign groups to support them.

Home Office UK Immigration U-turns an Admission of Unfair Decisions

The JCWI’s legal director also stated that every decision reversed by the Home Office is an admission that the government agency is clueless about how to solve the underlying problem of consistently destroying lives with completely unjust decisions, unless people are fortunate enough to get poor decisions overturned.

In a lot of cases, the people caught up in poor decisions made by immigration officials are in desperate situations. The majority have been separated from loved ones for a very long time. Erroneous decisions made by the Home Office can add months to a process that’s already long and emotionally draining.

Brexit and UK Visa Policy

With Britain’s exit from the European Union fast approaching, campaigners for UK immigration reform have expressed concerns that an ‘already broken system’ faces even more pressure with potentially ‘disastrous implications.’

Patel said: “The Home Office is overwhelmed by the current number of applications and can’t cope. The agency is set to come under further pressure when the government develops a UK immigration system that includes EU nationals as well.”

“Irrespective of what happens, the Home Office faces huge pressures when it comes to future and existing immigration applications. To prevent disaster, they must completely reform every part of the UK immigration system because it’s utterly broken,” Patel added.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Home Office said: “The home secretary [Sajid Javid] has been clear since his first day in office that he wants a different approach to the UK immigration system which provides control, but is fair and humane.”

“If evidence about a case comes to light then it will be considered by caseworkers, but solely because a case is covered in the media does not mean it will receive a favourable decision,” the spokesperson added.

Further information, help, and advice on UK visa applications has been in the immigration services business for thirty years, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work under Section 84 of the 1999 immigration act and can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at