It’s been a long time now since I first got that horrible letter telling me that I was in violation of the UK Immigration Rules and would be expected to leave (or be made to leave) as soon as possible. It’s been so much time since I sent in my appeal that I figured I was just never going to hear from the UK Courts either… I mean, if the UKBA is so poor at communication I wasn’t exactly expecting much from other British institutions.
I was wrong.
Better (very) late than never, I received this past week the First-tier Tribunal’s determination of my appeal.
TL; DR – I WON THE APPEAL.
I hope that this is good news for more than just myself: I hope all the people that come to my blog desperate for answers to their own situations will find this update and know that it is possible to fight. It is possible to win.
I wanted to share some of the sections from the Determination, as I believe some of the wording may give hope to others who have been (or who are currently being) screwed over by the UKBA. Check out what a judge thought of their monkey business… there is some key stuff here that could really be useful if anyone is having similar issues (note “the respondent” is the UKBA):
11> I accept that the respondent has the burden to establish the facts that give rise to the power to remove. For example, the date of expiry of leave is not conclusive on the issue of overstaying since if a valid in time application for a variation was made before the expiry of the limited leave, that leave is extended by statue while in the decision on the variation application is pending. If the decision is negative, an in time appeal could be brought.
13> A more important consideration for me is that when removal decision is taken under section 10 of the above stated Act, the exercise of discretion is involved and the burden of proving overstaying or breach of conditions is on the respondent. Whilst the Immigration Rules are silent on how the discretion is to be exercised, the Rules set out factors, which the respondent must take into account.
14> Paragraph 395B of the Immigration Rules requires the respondent to have consideration of all relevant circumstances including the appellant’s age, length of stay, strength of connections with the UK, personal history including the character of the appellant, employment record, domestic circumstances, criminal record, compassionate circumstances and representations made on behalf of the appellant.
I sincerely hope reading what a judge thinks about how my case was handled will give some people the confidence they need to fight back with their own cases.
For me, now that I’ve already left the UK and established myself elsewhere, at the end of it all, all that matters is the Decision:
The appellant’s appeal is allowed on grounds that the decision is not in accordance with the law and the Rules.
My life was still horribly uprooted and I was put through a terrible ordeal… but everything has turned out well for me. And to find out now that I was right all along?
I’ll take it. Being right isn’t much, but I’ll take it.