Jump to content

Tony M

Advanced Members
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

465 Excellent

About Tony M

  • Rank
    Senior Member

Recent Profile Visitors

4,980 profile views
  1. Settlement visa are no longer scanned at VFS in Bangkok. The system failed miserably, and submitted documents could not be seen, or found, by the processing ECO in Sheffield. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in many applications being refused because "documents were not submitted". UKVI have made no attempt to review the refusal decisions, so applicants are having to appeal. Having charged (settlement) applicants around 2,500 GBP to process their application, UKVI have made no attempt to rectify their processing errors. The system is a complete mess. Currently, all documents must be sent by post to UKVI Sheffield. There is no scanning at all in Bangkok. The documentation must include a pre-paid addressed envelope for the documents to be returned to either the sponsor in the UK or the applicant (in Thailand, or wherever). The blurb from the British Embassy in Bangkok says that there will be no change to the current system of visit applications. So how will VFS, or UKVI Bangkok, get the documents to New Delhi ? The scanning system has been proven to have failings. We await further info from UKVI Bangkok. It's interesting to see that the Embassy, and UKVI, don't foresee any changes to their current service levels. Common sense would dictate that, if documents have to be sent physically to Delhi, then service standards will drop. Alternatively, if they use the scanning system which has already failed, then I guess that we can indeed expect no change in service standards, in that applications will continue to be refused on the grounds that "no documents were submitted". That would seem to be the current service standard. To answer another earlier posted question, Bangkok handles around 100,000 - 120,000 applications a year, of all categories. Some of those applications are from Cambodia, Myanmar, etc.
  2. You are right, but it could not be any worse that the processes that are in place at the moment. I get the impression that the UKVI have no real interest in detecting fraudulent applications and/or documents. Certainly, in times gone by, documents submitted with visa applications were fairly carefully scrutinised. That doesn't seem to be happening now, and it is clear that a fair proportion of fraudulent applications have been successful over recent years. The Australians have actual contact with applicants if they have doubts about possible fraud. They even have a form, that they send, or give, to the applicant, asking if they want to change anything in the application ( a copy is attached). The will to deal "properly" with UK visa applications seems to have been put aside in the interest of amassing revenue. In my opinion, of course. 1023.pdf
  3. The fun will, of course, continue when the Bangkok visa section closes down in about 6 months time. As I understand it, no decision has yet been finalised on where the visit visa applications from Thailand will be processed. It could be Sheffield, or it could be Abu Dhabi, or it could be somewhere else. However, if there is no scanning at VFS Bangkok, then applications will need to be sent to wherever the processing is being done, and a pre-paid addressed envelope supplied too. I wonder how easy it will be to get a pre-paid envelope from Abu Dhabi for documents to be sent back to Thailand. I suppose UKVI will, as usual, inform applicants where to send their applications at least a day or two in advance. Why can't UKVI just come up with a reasonable system, perhaps along the lines of the Australian system, whereby applicant/sponsors scan and upload their own documents, from home or wherever to the Aussie immigration service ?
  4. CaptainScurvy - firstly, the decision to send the documents to UKVI in the UK, from Thailand or from UK, must be yours, and should be in the interest of making the whole process easy, if possible. For settlement applications it is often the case that most of documents required are from the sponsor. In that case, it would make sense for your wife to send her documents to you, and for you to send everything to UKVI, with a return envelope to you too. Some documents, such as your marriage certificate, you should have anyway, as you were issued with two. You will need translations though. Original passports should never be sent with an application. Copies of the passports, and the birth certificates will be fine (with translations where necessary). There could be many reasons for stopping the service. For instance, the system was hurriedly introduced, and may not have been tested properly. The scanning equipment was possibly not the best, and maybe did not perform as well as hoped (or maybe VFS staff were unable to process the scanning properly). Maybe UKVI realised that they would only be getting scans of documents, or of copies of documents, and could not tell if those documents were actually genuine. Relying on VFS staff to determine whether a document is genuine or not must be one of the most ridiculous decisions ever made by UKVI. BUT, what is known is that the system does not work. UKVI have refused many settlement applications since the process was moved to Sheffield, on the grounds that documents were not submitted, when in fact they were. For some reason, ECOs were not able to access, or to find, or to see, all of the submitted (scanned) documents. This led to multiple refusal decisions, and UKVI still haven't reviewed all of them. It is a shambles. Of course, UKVI have made no comment, apology, or explanation for any of this.
  5. For information. Last week, VFS in Trendy building, Bangkok (and therefore UKVI) ended the document scanning service (for settlement visa applications) without any warning. Applicants who turned up, with appointments, to submit their applications, were told that it is now necessary to submit all documents to UKVI in the UK by mail. The VFS website now says : Settlement application - All customers applying for UK settlement, including Priority Visa applicants, must send their supporting documentation directly to UKVI in Sheffield, UK by post. Prior to sending any documentation to UKVI, applicants should make sure that the courier company they are planning to use will deliver to Post Office (PO) Box addresses in the UK. DHL will not deliver to UK PO Box addresses. Thai Post do a service, but the cost is high. A 2 kilo package (if the documents include such things as chat app printouts, bank statements, etc) costs around 75 - 80 GBP to send from Thailand to UK. A pre-paid addressed envelope must also be included with the documents for them to be sent back (or to any other address). Applicant must still attend to give biometrics. Passport will be kept by VFS to pass on to the Embassy.
  6. rayza

    I don't think that you understand what you are being told. She cannot live in the UK by using visit visas. Going back to Thailand for a couple of weeks, and then returning to UK to look after you for another 6 months does not constitute "visits". She will be refused entry for using visit visas to reside in the UK. The accepted minimum period out of UK, between visits, is 6 months, although this is not written in stone.
  7. This is a recently introduced service for applicants, and sponsors, who have trouble completing the visa application form. It looks like a free service ? Possibly good for pinning ? https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assisted-digital-uk-visas-and-immigration/assisted-digital-uk-visas-and-immigration
  8. rayza

    She will not get 1 or 2 years as a visitor. That is not possible, even in a compassionate application. She can only get that sort of time period with a settlement visa. If you apply for a visit visa of 1 or 2 year duration as a carer, she will be refused, and she not get a visit visa in any future application.
  9. rayza

    An application would not/should not be refused on the grounds that the applicant intends to work in the UK. Even the UKVI realise that there are probably compassionate aspects to such an application. Basically, the applicant must satisfy the general visitor requirements. Partly this is because the immigration rules don't define specifically what a general visitor is. There was an appeal determination on this a few years ago. An application could also be made, and be treated, outside of the immigration rules in certain circumstances, but generally a visa is likely to be granted (if it is genuine, and the applicant qualifies for a visit visa) to allow the applicant to arrange for long time care in the UK, if necessary, for the sponsor/relative/friend. To quote from the guidance : There is no provision in the Immigration Rules for issuing entry clearance on the basis of an applicant coming to the UK to care for a sick family member or friend. A person who wishes to enter the UK to provide short-term care or make alternative arrangements for the long term care of a friend/relative may do so under the Rules relating to general visitors. See the attached document Child care, often by grandparents, is an entirely different matter, as, generally, it is done to allow the parents of the child to go out to work, not because the children need care. section2.pdf
  10. I'm not having a "go" at you, but I think you're missing the point. Generally, your posts are spot on, and helpful, but I think it's wrong to inform posters that they don't need a visa agent, and that they can find all that they need here in the forum. That is plainly not true, and you have given wrong information twice recently. When you inform someone about a financial threshold, and that information is wrong, then you risk that person's visa application being refused because they took your advice. Will you be accountable for giving them incorrect information ? Will you repay their financial losses ? When you tell a poster that there is no right of appeal in visit visa refusals, then you risk them losing a chance to appeal, a right which they have in certain circumstances. You are, in effect, depriving them of that right. Where, again, is the accountability ? It's partly for the above reasons that it's a criminal offence to give immigration advice in the UK, unless you are qualified to do so. It's also a reason why people using this forum should actually be advised that, if they do want correct information, then they should use an OISC registered visa agent. We all give information and advice here, and sometimes we are wrong. We should, therefore, maybe "temper" our advice with something along the lines of "as far as I am aware, but you may wish to check, ........" Unless we are 100% sure of the advice we are giving. I'm as guilty as the next man here, but I do have some knowledge and experience beyond just learning about immigration problems from forums, a single previous visa application, etc. You might have too, for all I know. So, it might be good advice for any poster to ask his "advisor" if, for instance, it's possible to appeal against a visit visa refusal, before taking any other advice they give as gospel. Nothing personal here, rasg. If we give advice, then we should be accountable, and a "good" agent will be.
  11. But there again, a visa agent might be aware that, under some circumstances, it is possible to appeal against a visit visa refusal.........................................
  12. Well said, bobrussell. Slightly more concise than my own comments !
  13. I posted the above, under an old login name. Sorry. Just because the ECO says there is no right of appeal doesn't actually mean there is no right of appeal. The case in question was a visit visa application from a wife to visit her British husband and two British children.Her husband is in the UK, having returned there to try to meet the financial requirements of the rules. One of the children had gone to the UK, for schooling, a couple of years previously, and one had gone to the UK with her on her last visit. She had returned to Thailand alone, after putting the second child in school. The application was for her to visit them all. The application we made included the fact that there are human rights considerations when an application affects the dependants of an EU citizen (her British husband and children). The future intention was for the Thai applicant to settle in the UK, but only when her husband could meet the financial requirements of the immigration rules. She had had several visit visa previously. The ECO refused the visa because he did not believe she would return to Thailand after her visit. The ECO did not consider that there were any Article 8 (the right to family life) rights that needed to be considered, and he was of the opinion that a visa refusal did not infringe the applicant's Article 8 rights. He declined to grant a right of appeal. Our view is that any refusal of a visa, whether it be settlement or visit, must infringe an applicant's Article 8 rights if it infringes their right to family life. There is appeal case law on this. We therefore went ahead and submitted an appeal, stating our grounds for believing that the applicant's human rights had been interfered with by the ECO's decision. Her husband is self-employed, and cannot take time off from work, or he will be unable to meet the financial threshold required for a settlement visa for his wife. His children can only return to Thailand if there is someone else to bring them, and in their school holidays. The family remain separated. That was over a year ago, and the appeal hearing is due in late December (or maybe later, according to the IAT). The IAT have allowed the appeal to proceed. An Immigration Judge must then decide whether the applicant's Article 8 rights were infringed or not. Just because the ECO says there is no right of appeal in these applications doesn't mean it is so. In my own opinion (for what it's worth) an ECO is not the right level of decision-maker in human rights applications. How can an ECO be the judge in such applications. What experience and expertise does he have ? None. ECO's work to a published document (attached). The Home Office doesn't want to grant appeal rights in HR cases, and an ECO works to the published document (although I believe that they don't actually refer these applications to the UK, as the guidance says they should). I have no idea what the Immigration Judge will say. he may throw it out of court, but I believe that everyone has the right to appeal against human rights refusal decisions, whether the ECO says they can or not. human rrights_claims_from_visitors_guidance_v1_0_ext.pdf
  14. For a wife plus two children it's 24,800 GBP. It is 3,800 for the first child, then 2,400 for each additional child.
  15. To update anyone who is interested, I actually wrote to the Home Office, asking for an explanation of their "foreign exchange" policy, and further asking how their exorbitant exchange rate fees were justified. Their full response : Thank you for your e-mail dated 10 September, our response is detailed below. Prior to October 2017, the Home Office used the Consular Rate of Exchange (CRE) policy, which is administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to set exchange rates where application fees are taken in a foreign currency. FCO uses the Financial Times (FT) exchange rates as their starting point and then set a CRE that is usually 5-6% above the FT rate but can vary by up to 13% depending on currency volatility. FCO regularly review their exchange rates (i.e. the rate that banks, or large financial institutions charge each other when trading significant amounts of foreign currency), on at least a monthly basis and update them where needed. The additional percentage applied aims to ensure that rates charged tracked the commercial rate whilst protecting the Exchequer from exchange rate fluctuations The new Home Office Exchange Rate Policy (HOERP) will track commercial rates more closely and will be based on a figure which is 4% above the Bloomberg opening rate for each of the foreign currencies we charge in. A number of organisations provide similar advice on currency conversion rates, including the Financial Times and Bloomberg. The decision to use the Bloomberg opening rate (i.e. the rate that each currency opens at on the date of review) has been taken to match that used by major market leaders in currency exchange and to use a rate that is transparent and readily accessible to customers. The new policy balances the operational, financial risks and Home Office IT capabilities and sets a rate above a normal commercial rate to reflect possible exchange rate fluctuations that may occur in the 2 week period between rates being reviewed and reset. A two week period between reviews is considered optimal in balancing resource requirements, in particular to update our IT systems and ensuring rates closely track commercial exchange rates. If the Home Office were only to review rates on a monthly basis, it would need to consider setting a rate that is more than 4% above the Bloomberg opening rate in order to ensure it minimises the risk of collecting less than the fee set out in Regulations. Where applications are processed online we were only able to charge in a single currency in any given country and in Thailand this is US Dollars. This decision is based on what is operationally possible, in terms of the online payment system and local banking arrangements and the most expedient currency for both the payer and payee. These conditions are included in the terms and conditions on the Visa4UK website, which applicants must agree to during the application process. Unfortunately we cannot comment on your specific case as we do not have the relevant information to investigate your application however as you have submitted an application prior to 2 October 2017 any exchange rates would have been set under the Consular Rate of Exchange. Financial Planning Unit Capabilities & Resources I just love this bit in the response : "These conditions are included in the terms and conditions on the Visa4UK website, which applicants must agree to during the application process." It seems to sum up the Home Office attitude to "customer service", and their total disregard for their customers. If you don't agree with their policy, then you cannot submit an application. End of.