Illegal immigration in the UK is a currently hot political issue. In order to combat it the Government announced what amounted to an ‘amnesty’ for people who were in the UK between 17th March 2008 and 30th September 2008 who returned home and then applied for new visas to regularise their stay in the UK. This does not mean that a new visa had to be granted automatically as the applicant must show that they satisfy all the provisions of the requirements under the Immigration Rules for the category of visa they are applying for but they will not face an automatic ban on re-applying.
From 1st October 2008 the penalties for an illegal immigrant applying for a new visa are:
1. Anyone who has previously used deception will be automatically refused entry for 10 years. Deception includes such things as using false documents such as references, P60’s, wage slips, entering the UK on someone else’s passport among others. The law states categorically that the deception ban will apply whether the applicant was aware of the deception or not.
2. Anyone who has previously breached the immigration rules by overstaying, entering the UK illegally, working illegally will face the following bans: 1 year if they left the UK voluntarily at their own expense: 5 years if they left voluntarily at public expense: 10 years if they were removed or deported from the UK.
Illegal immigrants include those who entered on valid visas and have overstayed, those who breached their conditions of entry, people who came on a fiancée or marriage visa but are no longer living with the original sponsor and have not been granted indefinite leave to remain, work permit holders who have changed employment without notifying the UKBA and receiving permission, illegal entrants, victims of trafficking and all other possibilities.
New visa applications must be 100% correct and fully documented and it is imperative that the truth be told in order to secure a new visa. It is therefore essential that professional advice is sought when making a new application.
Since 1st October 2008 there have been a few categories of visa applicants who will not be subject to the automatic ban depending on their personal circumstances and again we strongly advise you to seek our professional advice when applying. The people who will not be subject to an automatic ban are treated as a concession outside the Immigration Rules and this requires extremely careful consideration when making an application for a new visa. Spouses, fiancees, children, civil partners and unmarried partners making a fresh application will not normally be refused unless they have used deception or deliberately contrived to frustrate the rules, they must however satisfy all the relevant immigration rules in the relevant category.
The ban will apply to all visa applications currently being made so if, for example, a person were to apply for a tourist visa and use a false employment reference they would face an immediate 10 year ban.
It is important to note that many Embassies share information on visa applicants through the 'watch index' and that a person banned from applying for a UK visa will find that they also cannot apply to many other countries.