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UK Entry Clearance Visa Applications

by Lyndie (11/20/2005)

UK Entry Clearance Visa Applications

I thought I would like to share this with you all. I hope it is useful for anyone thinking or trying to obtain an UK visa for someone in Turkey. Clearly this is only my experience, and it will not apply to everyone, but I hope it might be useful for anyone thinking of trying.


In October this year my friend attempted to obtain a UK Student Visa. My family had paid for one year’s tuition at a UK Government approved college in London. We were sponsoring him to come and live with us in our family home. As sponsors we undertook to pay all his living and college expenses. We are well able to do this.


I investigated the UK Home Office websites and found out everything we needed to do to obtain the visa (according to the website). He got his passport, copies of his bank account. He saved all of his income from the summer. We provided absolutely everything that was required. He had enough money. We could prove that we could pay for the things we said and we also proved that the whole of the college course had been paid for in advance. Everything should have been wonderful.


When he went for his interview, they did not believe anything. The Turkish interpreter did not relay his words correctly to the Officer, she even said at one point, ‘Oh I think he is lying!’ (There was a definite Turkish ‘Class Thing’ going on here I believe) They refused his visa on the basis that he could not pay for his course and they did not believe he would return to Turkey after one year. They even mentioned in the Refusal Notice that I had a £1700 overdraft (Yeah! And?) We appealed, because we had provided all the evidence needed to show he could pay for his course. (He didn’t have to pay for anything actually), and he provided everything he could to prove he would return.


‘Not satisfied that you will return to Turkey’ is the killer clause in the process, and one which they also used on his Refusal Notice. Basically it is very difficult to prove that you will return, but they don’t have to prove that you will not! They just have to say that they don’t believe you will return.

We then discovered that you can apply again, even if you have appealed an early decision. So….We reapplied. (This costs £85 each time). This time we put in more evidence about our finances his and ours. We put in certified translations of the Turkish documents (£95.00) and the whole package was put together perfectly. Absolutely everything was perfect. No lies, only the truth and every bit of evidence we could put in.


He went today to his 2ND interview. From the beginning the UK Entry Clearance Visa Officer was rude and nasty to him. “Why are you applying again? Why did you appeal the last decision? What have you in this application that was better than before?” When he tried to tell her the new things in the application bundle she was shouting at him that she would refuse him again. He started to get flustered and confused and his English started to fail him, because she just would not let him speak, she just kept firing questions at him. He tried to get the Turkish interpreter to help him. She did not translate properly for him and she kept saying to the Officer, ‘I don’t understand what he is trying to say’. (He could understand everything the interpreter was saying and she was not interpreting his words properly again). Then the Officer started shouting at him saying “Do you still want to go ahead with this application?” When he said ‘Yes’ she just said “I will say no again. You will not get your visa.” He tried to show her new things, but they were laughing at him. He got more and more upset and flustered and the Officer just kept saying over and over again “Do you want to go on with your interview?” In the end he said ‘No’ because he could not cope with the pressure they were putting him under. He said to me that they treated him like ‘an animal’. He was crying when he called me after he left the embassy, from frustration and anger and misery. It was heartbreaking!


They returned all his documents and told him to go away. He has no right of appeal, because there is no decision to appeal against. He was forced into terminating his interview by their treatment of him and it seems there is nothing we can do about it.


He is completely broken.


The thing is, absolutely everything about our applications, both of them, was 100% true and honest, but if they don’t believe you, there is nothing you can do about. When I was preparing the appeal against the 1st refusal, I found Home Office Instructions to Entry Clearance Officers on the net. The instructions are written entirely with the agenda that they refuse everyone unless the case is so irrefutable that they can’t lose an appeal. All the instructions are about how to refuse someone and NOT lose an appeal against the decision. It is terrible.


Additionally, when you want to appeal, the appeal must be done in England. This means that unless an appellant has either the money to pay an English lawyer, or a sponsor willing to act as a representative in England, they can’t appeal, because they can’t come here themselves to put their case before the tribunal. He is lucky at least because I am willing and able (I trained as a barrister) to represent him at his appeal, but it is a long process and of course if anything changes over this long period (for example, he has to spend the money he saved) then it is going to be difficult because maybe by the time the appeal occurs he won’t meet the criteria that he met when he applied. I am forced to leave the money I paid for the college £1500 in the college, because if I withdraw it I’ll lose nearly £200 in ‘admin charges’ – if I leave it there, its just ‘dead’ money gaining no interest. I have probably already spent over £500 in couriers, application fees, faxing, telephone and his passport! He has paid for 2 trips to Ankara for his interviews and the emotional costs have been terrible. I think he is ready to give up because he can’t take the pain of building his hopes and then having them dashed.


They are also very tricky. When he was refused the first time, all the appeal paperwork was in English except for one small letter. This is totally prejudicial to the applicant, because again, unless he has someone who can understand the appeal instructions, how could they appeal? The one small letter was in Turkish, but was written in complicated vocabulary and my friend could not translate it all and tell me what it said. (It was very lucky that I was in Turkey at the time because I bought all the paperwork back to England with me.) You have 28 days to prepare and lodge the appeal and he would have had to have paid a courier to deliver the document to me. (Letters from Turkey can take four weeks to arrive in England sometimes). They wanted any Turkish documents translated into English. No where on the paperwork did they say it had to be done by anyone special. No where on the website did it say this either. It was only when I was having my Turkish lesson and I happened to ask my teacher if he would translate the small letter that was written in Turkish, did I discover that that any translations for the appeal had to be done by a certified translator. This cost more time and money (£100) and if I hadn’t by chance asked for the letter translation we would have run out of time (the 28 days) and it would have been too late to have included the evidence in the appeal.


I could not afford to pay for a lawyer in England, it would cost thousands of pounds, so again, if I wasn’t willing or able to represent him myself, he would have no chance of appealing the decision. It took days of research to find the law I needed to help me even decide which ‘ground’ we could appeal on. Because if you choose the wrong ‘grounds for appeal’ it doesn’t matter how good your case is, you are stuffed basically!



After days of research, I found the information to decide which ‘grounds for appeal’ we would use, and then further research was required to organise my paperwork. All my resources and legal training were required. If, the appellant in Turkey did not have someone with the time, energy, money, ability etc to do all of this, they wouldn’t stand a chance in hell of even submitting an appeal within 28 days let alone a chance in hell of winning it. I still have more paperwork to do and eventually I will have to go to court and argue against a Home Office barrister! The only good thing is that the Embassy in Ankara have now been given a date of the 26th of January to submit all their evidence and they have to give me copies of all their notes and paperwork concerning their decision. Even so, it is a daunting and terrifying prospect for me, because I although I trained as a barrister, I did not practice because I became a Probation Officer instead. Hell I work for the UK government and I will be fighting them in court.


This latest ‘interview’ has put me in despair, because every single step of the way is ‘against’ the applicant. We could not possibly have prepared ourselves for this treatment. He was calm and word perfect about how he would explain that he really would return to Turkey and it was all the truth. I think there are human rights issues here, because it seems to me that they are only going through the motions of making an application for a visa possible, but setting it up so that only the very rich can succeed. They are stereotyping all Turks into the ‘lying, cheating, deceiving’ category and honest applications are being ignored on the basis of the ‘stereotype’.


If my friend was rich, well educated and had a fabulous job in Turkey, why would we be sponsoring him, why would we pay for his college course and why would he want to come to England? The colleges and universities in England are full of other nationalities coming to England to study; the chief difference is that the vast majority of them come from very rich backgrounds. University fees alone for a foreign student can be up to £60,000 per year! It’s a scandal. Especially when you consider the huge numbers of illegal immigrants just walking into England off of the channel ferries and there are not enough immigration officers to prevent them.


I feel now as if it is my mission in life to fight this system, but I don’t know if I have the emotional energy, time and money to keep going. I don’t know if my family will put up with my life being taken over by this fight. I have already put so much into the applications and there is still the appeal to deal with in the future. Our friend is so devastated by this that I don’t know if he has the emotional energy, or the resources to keep trying. He has had his life on hold since October when he made his first application, his family have struggled to keep him so that he doesn’t have to use his savings to provide for the household, it is very difficult to get a winter job in Turkey anyway and those jobs that there are get filled by the end of the summer. He will probably have to use his savings until the spring when he can get another 18 hour per day 7 day per week job. He is fighting a terrible life in Turkey against an employment system that discriminates against anyone without a university education and I am faced with fighting an almost un-winnable fight in England against my own government policies that discriminate against anyone (it seems) from Turkey!


Anyone reading this, anyone who might have anything at all to say about this, please feel free to send me a private message on this site, or email me on CurleyLCurley@aol.com


Thanks for listening.


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