A college assured me a student visa that never came. What can I do?

QUESTION: I came to UK from Ukraine in 2005 on work permit visa for 6 months. At the end of that time I was told that I could apply for a student visa without leaving the country. I was naive and without the right advice I tried to obtain a student visa. I enrolled at a college and started studying. The Head Master told me that he would do all the paper work and that my application for a student visa would be 100% successful – he took my money for the payment fee for first year of study and he also promised to give me money back if the student visa did not go through.

I also paid the Home Office fee and after sending all the application forms I waited. The answer came after 1 month but the Head Master didn’t give me the result for another 3 weeks; this was because the Home Office refused my application for a student visa. I wasn't given my money back by the Head Master.

I knew another student from same place who had the same bad experience, but she left the UK and went back to her country. I couldn’t do so, because I didn’t have any money and I had to pay money back I borrowed for the first year course fees and Home Office fee. My family couldn’t help me as my father is disabled and my mother was looking after him full-time; they both don’t work. I have overstayed in the UK for almost 5 years so far.

What can I do to regularise my stay?

ANSWER: In respect of the issues of you overstaying because of the poor actions of the Head Master who never obtained you a student visa despite his promises, at that stage, you were best off to have sought the advice of Immigration Solicitors who could have explained the situation to the Home Office and re-applied for a student visa on your behalf.

It would have been helpful if you had reported the incident to the Police as, from what you describe, there appear to be issues of fraudulent behavior. Had a police report been obtained, this could have been helpful in proving your position to the Home Office as being genuine and, at their discretion, they may have allowed you a student visa.

However, if we assume that you did not report the matter to the police and instead chose to remain in the UK, then this would mean you overstayed your visa without making any further attempts to regularise your legal status since. You are a thus liable to removal as you have no legal status to be in the UK and as you have made no efforts to apply for regularisation of your immigration status.

The difficulties you have suffered whilst in the UK though are sad and of course have caused you great difficulties in life. However, unfortunately, immigration rules do not allow individuals to overstay their visas and work in the UK without permission.

Unfortunately, I believe the position of the Home Office would be to consider your removal to Ukraine, should you come to their attention.

by Raheela Hussain,
Principal Solicitor of Greenfields Solicitors

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The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. For legal advice regarding your case, please contact Greenfields Solicitors on 020 8884 1166 for a Consultation with a Solicitor.

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