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OTS Solicitors’ Opinion Sought In ‘The New Arab’ Article

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OTS senior solicitor, Smit Kumar and trainee solicitor Hans Appadu have been quoted in an article discussing the plight of Yeminis people, in an article by investigative journalist, Paola Tamma.

The article, entitled, Britain, Yemen and the price of love: Migration rules punish families torn apart by war, appears on the highly-respected, The New Arab website (Al-Araby Al-Jadeed in Arabic), which publishes breaking news and in-depth articles on issues which affect the Arab world and beyond.

The plight of Yeminis families separated by war and poverty

In her article, Ms Tamma highlights the struggles many British-born Yemini face trying to bring their spouse and children to the UK.

Some families have been separated from each other for years, with husbands or wives forced to remain in Yemen or live in third countries, waiting for endless rounds of Immigration applications to be undertaken.

Many submissions and subsequent appeals end up rejected, leaving families thousands of pounds in debt.

Becoming carers to avoid Minimum Income Rule

One of the women mentioned in the article, Alham Saleh, could not meet the high-income threshold, but was recently reunited with her husband by a fortuitous but tragic event.

Her situation was described in detail, as she was forced to live apart from her husband and father or her three children for seven years.

“By the time of her fourth visa application, her father had suffered a stroke and became paralysed. She quit her job to became a carer for him.

Recipients of carers' allowance are exempt from the high-income threshold, and Alham's husband was let in on this basis this year.

But as his visa is tied to Alham's continuing status as a recipient of this allowance, Alham is now locked into a cycle of dependency on claiming state-provided benefits - precisely the opposite of the authorities' original intentions.

Whereas Alham's case is genuine, the carer allowance exemption creates a perverse incentive for women to leave low paying jobs and do unpaid, publicly subsidised care work to be reunited with their loved ones.”

Insightful comments from OTS Solicitors, Smit Kumar and Hans Appadu

Smit Kumar told Ms Tamma that by rejecting so many Yemenis, "the Home Office is making unfair decisions".

"Yemen is a war-torn country. If there is constant fear, if the child doesn't get an education, if there are food issues… of course that's a breach of all rights - Article Two [the right to life], Article Three [freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment], Article Eight [right to private and family life]. It becomes an exceptional case in itself. But it has to be argued.

The burden of proof is on the applicant. Often people hurt their case by applying for other types of visas - such as visit visas or Student Visas - feeling they would be easier to obtain. In fact, each time they are rejected, it weighs upon any future application.

She went on to say, "It is important to get the application right from the start. But in our experience, more people are allowed in at the stage of appeals in front of the tribunal judge."

Hans Appadu added further insight by stating:

"Entry clearance officers just check the guidelines - but they don't update. Immigration keeps changing every day, every day there is a case in the Upper Tribunal which becomes binding. Some of them, they don't even bother [to check new decisions].

"They just don't care, if they see something tiny, they refuse it, because they have to protect themselves. And maybe they are being guided - I've heard that if they refuse however many cases, they will get a bonus or a promotion.

"In the Tribunal, when a Home Office representative wins a case, they become a supervisor. If they refuse cases, some of them can become supervisors."

To find out more about obtaining a spouse visa, please contact Smit Kumar or Hans Appadu who would be happy to discuss your situation.

OTS Solicitors is regarded as one of the best Immigration law firms in the UK. If you need advice on any Immigration law matters, please phone our office on 0203 959 9123 to talk to one of our dedicated Immigration lawyers.

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