It seems that caseworkers at the Home Office are increasingly confusing their role believing themselves to be police detectives rather than immigration decision-makers.
It now appears to be common practice for decision-makers to scroll through applicants’ Facebook and other social media accounts to look for anything that may cast doubt on their credibility.
This is in line with the general culture of disbelief that permeates the Home Office, whereby the starting point for any application is that the applicant is lying unless proven otherwise.
I was recently shown a refusal letter by a distressed client who had applied for an EEA Residence Card based on his marriage to an EEA national who is working in the UK.
Despite providing wage slips, a contract of employment and a letter from the employer, the caseworker was not satisfied that the work was genuine.
Having watched too many episodes of Columbo in his spare time, the caseworker took it upon himself to conduct a Google Maps search to ascertain the distance between my client’s address and his wife’s place of work.
Having confirmed the distance to be 63 miles, the aspiring-sleuth calculated the estimated time to travel that distance in any given morning to be 1.5 hours, with the daily work commute being 130 miles over 3 hours.
So far so good.
Nothing to suspect.
Just one more thing.
His wife only gets paid the minimum wage working 30 hours a week.
Applying everything he had learned about the Science of Deduction, this wannabe Sherlock Holmes concluded that it was not credible that someone would travel such a distance simply to earn minimum wage.
Britain is saved from another migrant.
Our borders have been protected.
Perhaps a real detective would not have been so hasty and may have done a little more “internet research” such as looking into the following:
- the employment rate in the client’s home town
- the average cost of living
- the nature of the job and whether it fit within her future plans
- whether her husband was also working
- the reality that many people do not have a choice where they work or how much they earn
Of course, that was not going to happen as this is the Home Office we are dealing with, an institution that has made it policy to create a ‘hostile environment’ for foreign nationals who have made Britain their home.
No stone will be left unturned to find a reason to refuse an application and try and reduce net migration, regardless of whether the decision is correct or not, and without any concern about the devastating impact such decisions can have on the lives of all those affected.
Visadreams.com, Diary of an Immigration Lawyer, is a blog run by Fahad Ansari, the director and principal solicitor of Riverway Law, a niche UK immigration and nationality law practice based in London. If you would like any advice or assistance in relation to your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your details here.