Unsuccessful High Court challenge reminder to adhere to visa conditions

The High Court has dismissed an appeal against the couple’s decision to suspend their UK residency permits for exceeding their permitted working hours. Rahim Shah & Fawad Anwar v Home Secretary. It serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to specific visa requirements when granting leave. 

Mr Shah and Mr Anwar were both in the UK on student visas which permitted them to work up to 20 hours per week in term time. Following a raid on their place of work by immigration officers on 27 September 2021, they were each interviewed regarding their employment and right to work. Both admitted to working significantly more than 20 hours per week during term time and were arrested at the conclusion of the interview on suspicion of breaching the conditions of their leave. Their leave was also cancelled (or “curtailed”, as it used to be called).

They challenged the decision to cancel their leave on several grounds, including that their answers in the interview had been misinterpreted, that the interviewing officer was rude during questioning, and that the officers failed to contact their employers to verify the information provided. The court dismissed each argument, finding that they both made clear statements regarding how many hours they worked in the interview and failed to present any persuasive evidence to the contrary:

“Making all allowances for the language difficulties, and the stress of the ‘dawn raid’, the PRONTO records show careful questioning and unambiguous admissions. Mr. Shah had an interpreter. Mr. Anwar said he did not need one.

The claimants also sought damages for unlawful detention, which is why the case was heard in the Administrative Court instead of the Upper Tribunal. These fell away when the challenge against their visa cancellations failed.

Although none of these breaks new ground, it serves as a useful reminder to be careful in abiding by the conditions of leave and the severe consequences that can arise from a breach.

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