What Remedies Are Available For Tier 1 General Visa Refusals Due To HMRC Tax Discrepancies?

Tax

If you hold a Tier 1 General Visa, you have until 5th April to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), as the route closes on the 6th April 2018.  Your Immigration solicitor in London can provide you with the best advice for making an application for ILR.  Not only can they ensure the application form is filled in correctly and the right supporting documentation is included, but they can also write a detailed covering letter to pre-emptively explain any concerns the Home Office may have regarding the submission.

Unfortunately, the British government, in its obsession with driving Immigration numbers down to under 100,000 (a random figure created by former Prime Minister, David Cameron, as he was facing a looming election in 2010 – which he won), has meant the slightest error in an ILR application will mean it is likely to be refused.

Immigration officials are often incentivised to reject applications, which means they will look for reasons to turn down ILR.  The fact that 40% of cases brought before an Immigration judge are overturned, and the speed with which the Home Office often backs down when a top Immigration solicitor challenges a decision suggests many applications are rejected in the hope the applicant has neither the knowledge or resources to put up a fight.

One of the cruellest ways the Home Office is attempting to meet its unrealistic Immigration targets is by refusing ILR using paragraphs 322(2), 322(5) and 19 J (iv) of the Immigration Rules and alleging that the applicant has acted deceptively in their current or previous applications due to mistakes made on past tax returns.

The paragraphs are designed to deter criminals, and those deemed a threat to UK security.  However, it is also being employed as a tactic for refusing otherwise perfectly eligible candidates for ILR and tainting these professionals with allegations of deceiving the HMRC and stating their “character and conduct” make them undesirable.

Protesting against Tier 1 General Visa Refusals because of tax-return mistakes

In January 2018, a group called Highly Skilled Migrants, including doctors, teachers, engineers, and IT experts, staged protests outside Downing Street to raise awareness of what they say are “are discriminatory, inhumane and hostile Home Office policies”.

Most of the protesters entered Britain on a Tier 1 General Visa and are fighting for their right to be granted ILR.

Aditi Bhardwaj, one of the protest organisers, told the Guardian - “These are people who have spent over a decade in the UK, working in highly reputed professions, many of which have serious employee shortages. They have devoted their professional lives contributing to the growth of Great Britain, contributing over £25 billion towards its economy.  They have made the UK their home, bought properties, invested in businesses. They all are law-abiding citizens. None have been convicted of any criminal offence”.

Mr Bhardwaj then added, “Skilled migrants with excellent educational and professional skills are being refused ILR on the ground of ‘tax error rectification’ because of small errors they have made in their tax returns in the past, which they have long ago rectified and paid off”.

Almost every ILR application involving Tier 1 General Visa, where an error has been spotted on a previous tax return is refused, even if the HMRC has not penalised or criminalised the migrant.

For those whose applications have been refused on these grounds, it is imperative they contact an experienced Immigration lawyer immediately to obtain the best advice and representation.

If I have been refused ILR due to an allegation of tax error rectification what can I do?

Being refused on the grounds of “making of false representations or the failure to disclose any material fact for the purpose of obtaining leave to enter or a previous variation of leave or in order to obtain documents from the Secretary of State or a third party required in support of the application for leave to enter or a previous variation of leave” (para 322(2)) is devastating for well-educated, professional people who may have never broken a law in their life.  If you are facing these allegations and have been denied ILR due to tax error rectification, you may be able to challenge the decision by way of appeal, Administrative Review or judicial review.

Appeal rights for Tier 1 General Visa holders are only available for applications submitted on or before 1st March 2015.  Applications submitted after this date do not carry the right of appeal unless there are human rights grounds to base the appeal on.

ILR refusals can be subject to an Administrative Review.  A request for Administrative Review must be made within 14 days of the refusal being received, therefore time is of the essence.  It is crucial you discuss the matter with an Immigration solicitor who can prepare the best Administrative Review application for you.  Part of the reason for this is the only other avenue for challenging the decision (if there are no human rights grounds) is via judicial review, which can be complex and costly.  If the refusal can be revered at the Administrative Review stage, a great deal of time and money can be saved.

If making an application for judicial review is required because appeals, Administrative Reviews and other methods of resolving the disputed refusal for ILR have failed, your solicitor will use the Pre-Action Protocol procedure, which often results in the Home Office capitulating (the process of going to court is expensive for them too).

If you have a Tier 1 General Visa and your application for ILR has been refused, contact an experienced Immigration lawyer immediately, before your options run out.

OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London and is a Legal 500 leading firm.  It has also been voted selected by the 2017 Global Excellence Awards as the Most Trusted in Immigration law: UK.  By making an appointment with one of our immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.  Contact us on 0203 959 9123 to speak to one of our Immigration consultants.

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