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      Thai Visa Website   09/30/2017

      In honour and respect of the late HM Bhumibol Adulyadej Thaivisa will make all sites greyscale for the period of October

Tony M

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About Tony M

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. To reinforce 7x7's point, a recent settlement visa fee of 1464 GBP (paid in $ US) actually resulted in a charge to the sponsor's account of 1575 GBP. That is a massive difference in financial terms - 111 GBP. If the UK sponsor of an applicant in Cuba pays 1464 GBP (because he can pay online in GBP), then why should the UK sponsor of an applicant in Thailand pay 1575 GBP (because he has no choice but to pay online in $ US) ?
  4. Some of you might recall the posts about the Home Office policy on charging visa fees in $ US. See the attached. It explains the current policy, but I can't see anywhere that it explains why. Nor can I see any rhyme or reason for some of the policy. Why do they pay in GBP (in cash) in Ukraine, or online in GBP in Cuba ? HO_ERP_Policy.pdf
  5. It's not exactly easy reading. It is so disjointed. They had the chance to tidy the whole guidance up, when they published the latest guidance this month, but they failed to take the opportunity.
  6. There are a couple of things to mention here : 1. There is mention in Appendix FM-SE financial requirement guidance ( Appendix FM 1.7 attached below) concerning self-employed sponsors returning to the UK, with the applicant, to work, either in continued self-employment, or in a new job. See here : 9.5. Self-employment as a sole trader, as a partner or in a franchise – requirements 9.5.1. A sole trader is a business that is owned and controlled by one person, although they may employ staff. A partnership is where the business is owned by two or more people (although equity partners are treated as in salaried employment for the purposes of the financial requirement: see section 5 of this guidance). And a franchise allows a person the right to use an existing business idea. 9.5.2. Where the applicant’s partner is in self-employment overseas and is returning with the applicant to the UK to work, they may rely on continuing their self-employment in the UK or on a confirmed offer of employment in the UK in order to meet the financial requirement. Therefore, if their self-employment income overseas is sufficient to meet the financial requirement, they can also provide evidence either:  That their self-employment is ongoing and will be continuing in the UK; or  Of a confirmed offer of salaried or non-salaried employment in the UK, starting within 3 months of their return. (The specified evidence and calculation for this is explained in section 5 of this guidance). The difficulty is probably going to be in evidencing the income from self-employment, and providing the required documentation ( 18,600 GBP earned, tax paid, etc ?). 2. The "new" rules, introduced this month, do make it possible for applicants and sponsors who cannot meet the financial requirement to use the new additional sources of income - third party support and/or evidence of a job offer for the applicant. However, they must show "exceptional circumstances" in order to do so. This is, most likely, totally untested as yet, and I would certainly recommend obtaining advice from a UK Level 3 OISC registered advisor, or a UK based immigration lawyer. Proving exceptional circumstances will be difficult, so difficult that the Home Office actually says, in the guidance : The threshold of such exceptional circumstances (which must be met before other credible and reliable sources of income, financial support or funds can be taken into account) is a high one. For guidance on when such exceptional circumstances may arise, see section 13 of the IDI Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.0a Family Life (as a Partner or Parent) 5-Year Routes, which can be found on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/370606/Appendix_FM_Section_10a_5-year_Partner_and_Parent_Routes.pdf You should read Section 10 of the attached document. Appendix_FM_1_7_Financial_Requirement_Final.pdf
  7. It would be better if you posted the refusal notice. As said before, the devil is in the detail.
  8. For me, and I stress that it is my opinion only (or mostly my opinion) there is a lot more in this situation than first appears. It is a visit visa application, but there is a British child involved. The child lives in Thailand with his mother, and my view is that the child, as an EU citizen has a right to family life. The Home Office has argued on many occasions that the Article 8 rights to family life do not apply in visit visa applications, but I don’t see how the right cannot exist. The fact that the applicant hasn’t made a settlement application is, to me, irrelevant. The ECHR doesn’t differentiate between the reasons that a person might want to enjoy “family life”. The Home Office is aware of this, and publishes guidance that states that if an applicant or sponsor expressly states in the visit visa application that there are human rights considerations, then the ECO must consider them. If it is not stated, then the ECO doesn’t have to consider any human rights. My question to that is, why shouldn’t the ECO have to consider any possible human rights “violations” in an application ? Such reasons for a human rights claim could be that the child is so young that he cannot be expected to travel alone, and the father in the UK is unable to travel to Thailand for whatever reason, etc, etc. The normal outcome is that the refusal notice says that the ECO has considered the human rights claim, and that he doesn’t consider Article 8 (the right to family life) to have been engaged. So, the ECO refuses the application, and states that there is no right of appeal. I do not believe that the ECO has the right to decide who has the right of appeal in human rights applications. He, logically, cannot be the final arbiter on such a important claim. Therefore it surely must be the Appeal Tribunal that decides if the applicant has a right of appeal on human rights grounds, and they will make that decision if an appeal is received at the IAT. You could, in my opinion, therefore submit an appeal. It might well be denied at the hearing as no mention was made of any human rights aspect in the application, but (again, my view only) how can it be the ECO’s decision to say whether there are any human rights aspects or not. No disrespect to ECOs, but they are not experts in European human rights law, and I don’t believe that they are the correct “level” of decision – maker for such a decision. Denying someone their human rights is a fairly important decision at any level. I am aware of one visit visa refusal, in almost identical circumstances, where an appeal has been submitted, even though the ECO said that there was no right of appeal. There will be an appeal hearing next month, I believe. The appeal may well be turned down, but it might at least give some guidance on whether the ECO has the right to decide if an applicant has a right of appeal in visit visa applications where “human rights” are claimed. Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that human rights should be thrown into every application, but where there are British children involved, who are unable to be with a parent, then I have some sympathy. This is from some old advice that I found : An appeal to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal can only be brought on grounds of either · a breach of human rights or · race discrimination. In some cases an appeal will not really be possible on these grounds and an application for judicial review will be the only means of legal challenge. It is normally very hard to succeed in arguing a human rights immigration case and very few such cases normally succeed. Do I even have a right of appeal? It is no longer standard practice for visit visa refusals to be accompanied by an appeal form, and in an independent inspection in 2011 it was discovered that 30% of those refused visit visas were given in correct information about their appeal rights. You should therefore not assume that information provided by the entry clearance post is accurate. All visit visas have a right of appeal on human rights grounds or race discrimination grounds, and if an appeal is the right remedy for you then you can lodge an appeal to the tribunal irrespective of what information the Entry Clearance Officer provides. What cases might raise human rights grounds? First of all, you need to show that a human right of some sort is engaged by the visit. In immigration cases and family visits, that means that there will need to be a visit between close family members so that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights can be argued to be engaged. This article protects the right to private and family life: Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life 1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. 2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. A visit between two spouses or long term partners would normally be considered to engage human rights. A visit between a parent and child under the age of 18 would also normally be considered to engage human rights. A visit between a parent and non dependent child over the age of 18 might engage human rights, as might a visit between siblings and perhaps even between more extended family such as an uncle, aunt, cousin, nephew or niece. So, you can appeal if you want to (and make another application while you are waiting, if you want to). It may not succeed, but it might help others in the future. At the moment, the Home Office doesn’t even want to accept that there can be human rights considerations in visit visa applications, or rather, they don’t want applicants to know that there could be. There is, actually, published guidance on this, but ECOs seem to like to ignore it. I have attached the guidance. considering_hr_claims_from_visitors_guidance_v1_0_ext.pdf
  9. But you said "All you can do is submit another application..........' I just pointed out that is not correct. Sorry if I have offended you in some way.
  10. That's not entirely true. You can complain about a refusal (and ask for the decision to be reviewed) if, for instance, the ECO made an error of law, or if you have good grounds for thinking that some evidence was not considered. Just complaining about a decision because you think it was wrong won't get you anywhere, I'm afraid.
  11. It may have been asked before, but why don't they just offer a reward for information leading to his whereabouts and arrest. An offer of 5 Million THB might lead to an early arrest.
  12. The previously spoken-about "new" requirements for settlement visa applications (where the 18,600 GBP threshold is not met) have today been published by the Home Office. As suspected, in order for the additional routes to meet the 18,600 GBP threshold, the applicant/sponsor must meet the "exceptional circumstances" requirement. Even the guidance from UKVI says that this requirement is set "high", meaning, I guess, that very few will ever meet the "high bar" that has been set . For instance, this is a taste of the guidance on Exceptional Circumstances (my emphasis) : What are exceptional circumstances? “Exceptional” does not mean “unusual” or “unique”. Whilst all cases are to some extent unique, those unique factors do not generally render them exceptional. For example, a case is not exceptional just because the criteria set out in EX.1 of Appendix FM have been missed by a small margin. Instead, “exceptional” means circumstances in which refusal would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the individual or their family such that refusal of the application would not be proportionate under Article 8. If the family could all go to the country of return together but they choose to separate, this will not in itself constitute exceptional circumstances. However, the decision maker should not usually make a decision that forces a family to split if there is no criminality to add weight to the public interest in removal. Cases that raise exceptional circumstances that warrant a grant of leave outside the rules are likely to be rare. The new Appendix FM 1.7 is attached. Appendix_FM_1_7_Financial_Requirement_Final.pdf
  13. An Introduction From IAS

    Thank you for your response, but I'm not sure that you have covered my question. You say : "in short, ‘exceptional circumstances’ will be the new battleground for these types of Application". My question was, will the exceptional circumstances have to be proved before the ECO has to move on to considering the additional routes to meeting the financial requirement ? If this is the case, then won't it just become a matter of UKVI refusing the applications on the grounds that there are no exceptional circumstances, and they therefore don't have to look any further ?
  14. An Introduction From IAS

    What are your charges ? Many advisors publish their charges. but I cannot see yours. It might be a good idea to do so, so that applicants can compare your charges with agencies in Thailand, some of whom are also OISC registered in the UK ?
  15. An Introduction From IAS

    You have an article on your website about the new requirements for spouses/partners etc. These requirements are due to start in 2 days, but there is still no guidance from the Home Office. Your website says : From August 10th, 2017, decisions for spouse visa and dependent children outside the EEA will take into account specified circumstances if the applicant or spouse does not currently meet the £18,600 per annum, Minimum Income Requirement. Home Office decision-makers will now have to consider if the 18,600-Minimum Income Requirement would be met through other methods of financing. This will include evidence of sustainable self/employment within three months of moving to the UK, proof of continued support from a financially stable family member or other such persons. The changes are following a February 2017, Supreme Court ruling in which the principle of the £18,600 Minimum Income Requirement but considerations were made and the Home Office will have to take into account the potential earning potential as well as consequences of refusal. Spouse and Family visas will also now be considering those who don’t meet the Requirement and whose refusal will have “unjustifiably harsh consequences for the family” or would breach the applicant or family’s Human Rights. The way the Command paper reads, it seems that before the ECO needs to consider the "new" financial routes, the applicant must prove that there are "exceptional circumstances" to cause the ECO to do so. So, it appears that, if the applicant cannot show exceptional circumstances, then the ECO will not need to go on to consider any additional financing. But your article seems to indicate that the ECO must consider both. Which is correct ? Proving exceptional circumstances is very difficult, and the UKVI rarely issue visas where exceptional circumstances are claimed in the application.