If you have ever been refused a UK visa in the past like I was many years ago, no doubt you would have been disappointed and upset (regardless of the reasons given by the Entry Clearance Officer for the refusal).
You probably began to believe that entry clearance officers are mean and always find reasons not to grant anyone visa to the UK, especially if you felt you were refused unjustly.
So if you or someone you know is applying for a visa to the UK in the near future – and want your visa application to succeed – then this article will be of interest to you.
Dispelling the Myth about obtaining UK Visas
Like all border controls, the UK visa offices and borders exist to make sure that only genuine people enter the UK. But “who are genuine people?” We’ll talk more about seeking genuine entry to the UK and how that may be shown/reflected in your application forms in subsequent articles. For today, we’re going to focus on the Entry Clearance Officers and their processes.
Because the entry clearance officers (ECO) do not know any applicants personally, they only assess individual visa applications and make decisions based on the information that is put on the application form and the supporting documents submitted. The responsibility is on the applicant to ensure that they present adequate information about their reasons for wanting to visit, work, study or live in the UK. Additionally, the applicant also must supply relevant evidence to support any claims that they make on their application form.
Entry clearance officers are not obliged to call for more information from an applicant if they feel they can make a decision on the application form/documents they are assessing.
They can refuse an application for any of the following reasons:
– insufficient data provided,
– poorly represented and conflicting information,
– if the application does not meet immigration rules,
– or if they suspect and discover that the information supplied is inaccurate or false.
The good news is the applicant will always be given a reason for a refusal to grant an entry visa. Therefore, an applicant should be very selective in the documents they submit as evidence as lots of irrelevant or poorly presented documents will not aid you in getting approved.
Let me cite a scenario I have come across.
I once heard from someone who had been declined a UK visitor visa.
The ECO stated that “he was unsure the applicant was genuinely seeking entry to visit the United Kingdom as a visitor. He was unsure the applicant would return to his country after the visit because he had made an unexplained, single large deposit into his account a month prior to his application.”
After inquiring further, the applicant confirmed that his account had not seen such amount of deposit in its entire history. However, when the ECO had asked him where the money had come from, the applicant claimed that he sold his car.
In my view, the above two misrepresentations by the applicant did not show his true circumstances and were adequate reasons for his visa application to be refused. You have to ask yourself at this point “why would anyone sell their property or asset just to visit another country if they had any plans to return to their country of origin?”
If he had benefited from proper immigration advice, he might have been able to present his application in a format that the ECO would have clearly understood what his real circumstances were. This would have improved his chances of getting the tourist visa for the purposes of visiting the UK.
This is just one situation, and in my profession, I have seen so many scenarios where people feel they have “unjustly” been refused a UK visa based on their circumstances. They subsequently go to their lawyers, who will then write a letter to the Embassy and complain about the refusal. But that letter cannot overturn an ECO’s refusal decision. The best that can happen is your complaint is logged and future applications made will be treated on their own merit again. If the representations are all okay, then you get issued a visa. If not, you still get refused, and then the cycle begins again, get another lawyer to write a letter, feel disappointed, etc.
I cannot overemphasize what the little mistakes in form filling and lack of “relevant” supporting documents can do to your visa applications.
My advice is rather than getting all upset and frustrated, believing that the ECOs are impeding your efforts to visit, work, study or live in the UK, you look inwards at what was not done right and re-submit a new application or appeal (if appropriate and if the refusal was not in accordance to the law).
To save yourself time, effort, money, and the disheartening feeling of a visa rejection, it might be worth considering seeking the advice of an Immigration Adviser or an Immigration Lawyer. Notice I used the word “Immigration lawyer”. While all lawyers or solicitors may have some knowledge, they aren’t always in the best position to advise you, as their primary area of expertise may not be UK immigration law. UK immigration law is a separate beast to general law, so an immigration lawyer who has specific experience in the industry is sure to be more helpful.
In summary, the UK is a beautiful place to visit, do business, to study, and live in, but it is becoming increasingly harder for anyone who has not entered the country legally to survive in the current economy, and they are being taken out at the slightest opportunity.
So if you are planning on visiting, setting up a business, studying or relocating to the UK now or in the future, talk to us! Let the team at MichelleBelle Immigration Solutions walk you through this journey from the initial planning stages to successful, stress-free completion.
Peju is one of the UK’s leading Immigration Consultants. She is a highly experienced and sought after Immigration and Compliance Consultant with over 12-years’ experience dealing with UK Visas & Immigration.
She is registered by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner at the highest level and has supported businesses to ensure that the migration of staff is compliant with relevant country migration laws, especially the United Kingdom.