Life in the UK test and ILR missed deadline: New Zealand family faces deportation

Life in the UK test centre

The Home Office is deporting a New Zealand family because of a simple oversight regarding the Life in the UK test requirement, in their application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Their visa was set to expire in May 2015, and they intended to apply for permanent residency status 28 days before the expiration date.

As part of the application process, all members of the family had to pass a Life in the UK test. Mr. and Mrs. Talbot, the parents, passed their test on their first try, but their son Charles didn’t pass his test until after the application’s 28-day deadline. As he was busy studying for his exams at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. He had to attempt the test three times. Because of a two week waiting period between being allowed to re-take each test, the whole family application deadline was missed.

When they presented their completed application, they were told that they had missed the application’s 28-day window. His delay in passing the test resulted in the whole family’s application had been denied, and they were told to leave voluntarily or be financially responsible for their enforced deportation.

A high-ranking immigration judge said that they should not be deported if they meet all the other criteria, but Home Office seems resolute in their leaving the country, even denying them any right to appeal.

Mrs. Talbot said that it was a mistake, a simple error in judgment, and that the Home Office decision was cruel. The Home Office ILR procedures did not give them a chance to explain themselves. She understands that procedures have to be followed but she thinks the Home Office should be able to deal with certain exceptional situations.

They feel that their life is being ruined as the UK is their home. Mr. and Mrs. Talbot have visited the UK frequently for the last 30 years and had moved here for good in 2010.

They applied for an ancestry visa as Mrs. Talbot’s grandmother was a UK citizen. Also, twenty one family members died fighting for Great Britain in the two world wars.

Their son Charles, who was intent on setting up a dairy and beef farm here in the UK, described the decision as nonsensical bureaucracy. He submits that that they are lawful immigrants, and have not done anything illegal.

They had decided to make a “same-day” application (at a cost of £5700), to get a decision on the same day, instead of an application by post which could take months to be reviewed. They were been told that 42% of postal applications did not provide all required documents and information but applicants were given options and time to make their application complete. The Talbots were not given such opportunity for their “same-day” application and they have slipped into what appears to be a grey area in the ILR system.

The Talbots have plead for Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill to get involved and stop the deportation process. They argued that they only missed the application deadline because of Charles’s Life in the UK delayed test pass date, and they should be given an opportunity to have their case heard.

As of this posting, the Home Office has not offered any comments on the matter.

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