This post will speak to you if you are subject to immigration control in the UK. It is important that communities understand the impact overstaying can have on an individual both emotionally, physically and in the long – run financially.
1. Always review your current immigration status. You must apply to extend your permission to be in the UK before your current permission expires. Your permission expires at midnight on the last day of your Resident Permit or visa. You should use guaranteed next day delivery when sending your renewed application to the Home Office. The date of the application is the date it was posted by guaranteed post as long as it was handed in the post office before the last post of that day.
2. The Immigration rules change all the time. You must keep abreast of changes in the law, rules, case law and Home Office policy. That way you can plan ahead and decide whether you will still qualify at the time of your next application or do you need to make a different type of application.
3. It may not seem urgent now but do put some money aside so that you can pay any costs of a future application. Public funding is only available in limited circumstances. If you are going to need legal representation then you should make early enquiries about the likely costs. The Home Office fees also increase annually and this is set to continue. So again, put the fees aside. Many people find that they cannot make their renewed application before their deadline because they simply don’t have the money.
In exceptional circumstances the Home Office grant fee waivers but this is only if they consider the applicant to be destitute – which they very rarely do.
4. When seeking advice don’t rely on friends and family – even if they have gone through the Immigration system themselves. UK immigration changes all the time. The climate is a lot more hostile than in the past. What worked then may not apply now.
An immigration adviser must be a Solicitor, Barrister or an accredited representative. Don’t be afraid to ask for confirmation that your adviser is authorised to give that advice.
Make sure that you understand everything being told to you and that it makes sense to you. Ask questions until you are clear about what is expected of you and what the nature of your application will be and the likely outcome.
Make sure you have a copy of your application and any papers received from the Home Office. This will help you keep track of your immigration status.
5. Don’t get carried away with your situation so much so that you do something that is unethical or contrary to the law. If you use deception in an application, it becomes impossible to turn this around; the Home Office and the Courts may not believe anything else that you say, however true. This can have a terrible impact on the success of future applications.
You can also be banned from entering the United Kingdom if you use deception for the purposes of entering the UK.
If you are applying for a visa to enter the UK make sure it truly reflects the reason you wish to come here. Get good advice before you start the process. There are many different types of UK visas which allow entry into the UK for the long-term. If you apply for the correct visa in the first place you are more likely to be able to renew it easily and quickly from within the UK – saving you time, money and headache.
6. Stay away from criminality. Among the objectives of UK immigration is to protect the public. One sure way of protecting the public from foreign national criminals is to cancel their permission to be in the UK or refuse to renew it. They will then have no permission to be in the UK and will be considered an Overstayer. It follows then that they can then be forcibly removed back to their country of origin – and thereby no longer presenting a danger to the UK public.
Do not let this happen to you. Neither the Home Office, the courts, the politicians and indeed the public don’t have much sympathy for foreign nationals who commit criminal offences in the UK – no matter how long you have lived here.
And my final guidance is..
7. Become British. If you are eligible and intend to make the UK your permanent home, give yourself complete peace of mind and apply for British citizenship. Immigration laws will no longer apply to you and you can let all this just pass you by.
Rachel Okello is a UK based solicitor and immigration consultant with Rogols Solicitors in Birmingham UK. www.rogols.co.uk/contact
Categories: Immigration Review