UK Visa Refusals Reflect Political Sway
The rules governing the terms under which a UK visa may be refused are long and complex. The Home Office Guidelines for the General Grounds for Refusal alone runs to 69 pages. It is all too easy to find oneself on the wrong side of the rules and to have a visa rejected.
Although there has been considerable publicity recently concerning the UK government’s alleged anti-immigration stance, the rules are not in themselves designed as a means to restrict movement to the UK. Rather, they are intended to ensure that migrant workers are who they say they are, that they are travelling to the UK for the purposes they declare and that they are not likely to engage in criminal activity – as evidenced by previous criminal convictions or visa breaches.
Burden of Proof
However, the rules are implemented in such a way that the responsibility to meet the application criteria in full rests at all times with the applicant. For example, it is formally recognised that applicants with false or forged papers may not actually be aware that their papers are not genuine. However, irrespective of whether or not the applicant knows their papers to be forgeries (or copies), the presence of false documentation is itself enough to prompt a UK visa refusal. In effect any burden of proof rests with the applicant.
Bias Towards Rejection
The recent case of Palestinian medics planning to attend an international conference on trauma in war zones at Kingston University illustrates just how sharply the regulations are now applied. The applicants were apparently told that their visas were rejected in this instance because the British Consulate suspected that those involved might not return to Gaza. Such a tentative, conditional suggestion appears to have been deemed sufficient ground to reject the visas in this instance.
UK visa refusals are at an all-time high.
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