The TOEIC scandal enabled the Home Office to deport thousands of Students and non-Students; many simply victims of the system. While some of those affected have now left the UK having moved on with their lives, a good number of past TOEIC students are still having their applications refused due to allegations of an intention to deceive the Home Office.
In this case, Mrs V, a non-EEA national, came to the UK to pursue her dream of studying in the United Kingdom. She entered the UK around 11 years ago with her husband, who, at the time, was her dependant. She studied for several years, graduated with a master’s degree in business, and decided to implement her skills and ideas to establish a new business venture.
Due to delays in obtaining her master’s degree, she had no choice but to sit an English language test solely to be able to vary her Tier 4 Student Visa to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa. The only earliest English language exam at the time was TOEIC; the details of which provided in her Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) application. The application was approved. However, a couple of years later, Mrs V was asked to attend an interview with the Home Office to establish whether she appointed a proxy to sit her TOEIC test. Following the interview, Mrs V received more queries from the Home Office.
Mrs V approached A Y & J to assist with her Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Extension application. An extension application was put forward, and while pending, she reached her ten years continuous lawful residence. Mrs V then varied her extension application to an application for settlement. A few months later, she was notified that her long residence application had been refused due to TOEIC concerns.
Despite being interviewed many years back regarding the same issue, following the receipt of her Subject Access Request from the Home Office, we learnt that the Home Office had recorded on her file a note to the effect that she must be refused when applying for leave. It was extremely useful to know that the Home Office had already planned to refuse her leave, though no action was taken when the interview took place.
We firstly lodged an appeal with the First Tier Tribunal, and subsequently received a hearing date. On the day of the hearing, the Respondent requested an adjournment to adduce more evidence. The subsequent hearing was also adjourned until after three attempts had been made by the Respondent to produce a piece of evidence, for which they had been searching over two years since the refusal of Mrs V settlement application.
The appeal preparation, the evidence put forward before the First Tier Tribunal Judge along with the assistance of an experienced barrister meant that A Y & J succeeded in this 2-year battle and secured the long-awaited settlement visa.
Once again, you need to know where to look for the evidence that will benefit your client and how you can use it in his/her favour. Robust preparation backed by experience and passion will always increase the chance of your success in an appeal matter. For Mrs V, the worries of her status are now over, and she can look forward to a normal life with her British husband and son.