This part of the LGBT Section of the information resource gives some particulars on characteristic abuses of process of particular kinds of special significance and importance to LGB and T community members*
*For readers reference a number of the experiences below were noted in a formal representation to a former Home Secretary (2016 period), by a greatly [outside of the UK / Whitehall] respected South Asian LGBT human rights organisation. They never received any acknowledgment of their representation by the then Home Secretary or the Home Office/UK Immigration: however the Chair of the APPG for Nepal, the Hon Virendra Sharma MP provided important intervention to check that the formal representation had been received — it HAD: still NO acknowledgement was received by those who provided the representation, and certainly NO response to the questions asked and observations made in the formal representation.
This is a characteristic revelation about the actual perceived contempt, and from the LGBT community in the UK and internationally, perspective damning evidence of UK government department’s Visa & Immigration Services LGBT context, record. This in regard to the Home Office, but by extension FCO [that is the overseas UK Government overarching department/organisation responsible for process of UKVI services outside of the UK] too — a sad irony given the latter’s stated support for LGBT human rights across the world, even in states that still revert to British colonial era Victorian age legal provisions criminalising same-sex love, carried over into post-colonial times up to and including the 21st Century.
First example: ‘Overstay’ charges irregularities by the immigration services, related:
We have evidence from the Croydon UKBA centre, of 25th May 2018, that the Home Office immigration services now – in regard to LGBT asylum seekers at least – is operating a non-publicly stated policy of sabotaging applications by LGBT asylum-seekers, that are genuine. With UKVI and HMCTS Immigration Tribunal clearly known known record of always respecting appeal submission deadlines, evidenced in tribunal decision papers, letters, emails, this attempt to sabotage a genuine application was made still worse by it’s particulars (more below including implied source) which also involved the asylum screening interviewer preventing the asylum seeker (whose husband was prevented by the interviewer from sitting in with his husband) from presenting his statement and evidence in support of his claim – in effect leaving his application form missing this essential information, but having an ‘Overstayer’ statement put in: a combination setting up the opportunity for detainment and deportation, but exposed fully to Gay Star News and recorded to the UKBA Newport Reporting centre with his MP copied in, detailing this abuse of process and providing his Statement & evidence.
We believe, for compelling reasons that this process abuse, malpractice can only come from UKVI Chief Operating Officer level, with potential unstated condoning by the UKVI Director General. The asylum applicant had previously been slandered with ‘overstay for a few weeks’ when it was known appeal had been made before his visa expired: this in association with a badly flawed immigration history record, that even included a, it is believed, deliberate, incorrect information entry [pretending a different visa to that actually applied, had been sought – LOTR visas CANNOT be applied for, and are required to give context note relating to the original purpose of travel and visa applied for] to cover for a decision to refuse an LTR visa application that met, as was known, all eligibility criteria, but clearly refused by an ECO carrying out the Hostile Environment in its anti-LGBT manifestation. Supportive document ‘Response Analysis & Findings to the UKVI Chief Operating Officer b..’ attached with this Appendix to the inquiry representation letter.
An ‘Overstayer’ is the technical term used for somebody who came to the UK legally, and then made the deliberate decision to stay on and as such be in an illegal status, after the exit/end date of their visa.
We now know, through documentary evidence, that the UKBA/UKVI are stating to asylum applicants whose legal status in the UK is impeccable (and the only named officer associated with this very recently [May 2018] revealed immigration Rules adjustment by the immigration authorities themselves, is that of … UKVI Chief Operating Officer from his letter to the Rt Hon … MP of December 2016) — through unnamed senior officers phoning through to asylum screening interviewers at Lunar House, Croydon, whilst the interviewee is out of the interview room, that, as revealed Policy, that those legally in the UK who have, within time, made appeals to the HMCTS immigration tribunal, or indeed directly (again, within time, as was the case with my husband on … December 2017 when our MP wrote to the Home Secretary — that all such individuals are in effect indulging in the criminal action of overstay, warranting deportation. This means:
- The right of appeal, being exercised in-time, is no longer a protection against life-threatening and unjust deportation, and HMCTS Immigration Tribunal a human rights and justice window-dressing item (on HMCTS immigration tribunal’s attachments to/non-independence from the UKVI/UKBA, please see entry on same below) only, that the UK immigration authorities have decided, as irrelevant.
Meaning anyone using the appeals system is at the same time as doing so, in the UK on an illegal basis [which of course is in law an inconceivable notion and has been exposed rather openly/honestly stated on any Home Office policy document or webpage] – this to deliberately slander genuine applicants and appellants whom are in the UK on a Legal Basis, but undergoing appeal, which until finally ended, means they remain in the UK on a legal basis.
NOTE: this malpractice is matched, as we have evidence of, in the case of overseas UKVI’s such as New Delhi, putting refused entry/criminalising ‘signals’ in passports knowing that a visa only had been refused and with right to appeal. PLEASE SEE: UKVI UK Letter of 23rd 2016, attached with this representation, regarding this destructive and legally and ethically unjustifiable malpractice
- No less importantly, perhaps still more so, it makes the whole HMCTS Immigration Tribunal and related appeals rights & mechanisms, defunct, and that such a defence against arbitrary human life and human rights protecting mechanism as judicial review, has been removed by UK immigration officers, showing contempt for both Parliament, and the Judiciary – such action is not tolerable in a democracy.
- Same sex married partners kept from attending UK asylum screening interviews, in contrast to others: an unpleasant homophobic experience at Lunar House, Croydon, Home Office asylum applications screening venue on 25th May 2018, that I and my husband encountered and is represented in the attached Additional Grounds document that UKBA in Newport have now received
- The Director General of the UKVI advising MPs to tell their [gay] constituents to apply for visas that were scrapped years before: reference to Mark Thompson’s letter of 17th April to the Rt Hon … MP that on the latter learning from the UKLGIG that the Exceptional LTR visa that could be applied for
[on study by Mr Thomson of Mr … letter to the then Home Secretary of 22nd
by my husband, Mr … constituent Mr … , or Asylum, had been scrapped years ago, Mr (MP) … Senior Caseworker reiterated that Mr Thomson had mentioned that the Exceptional LTR visa could be specifically applied for, in a number of places in his 17th April letter made this clear
- A six-hour interrogation by 6 different UKBA officers at Heathrow Terminal 4 on 1st June 2014: in this verbal bullying and deceits were routinely used (is this UKBA official policy to use deceit?). Don’t call … you’ll know when we are finished …. we can do whatever we want to so your’ only making it worse for you and your friend.
This started by a particularly vicious tactic that briefly broke my husband’s heart: detained, my number was called, at which time I was taking a call from a friend asking if my partner had arrived. Instead of the UKBA ‘officers’ telling the truth to my partner they said; he’s not there, no one there so he has either been fooling you, or you have said all of this just to get here illegally – nothing can compare with such a disgusting tactic. We must assume it came from a homophobic perspective.
- In regard to the above; my partner (later husband) had already been given two refused signals in his passport (a third was to follow later the next year after an enforced separation of many months in which my partner almost died in the Nepal earthquake of April 25th 2015, when he should have been safe with me in the UK months before, as his eligibility was impeccable) that latter on UKVI UK conceded should never have been made (against their policy, but overseas branches of the UKVI do other things, that we aren’t responsible for). This malpractice is referred to below in more detail, but demonstrates how such signals constitute ‘black marks’ that can be used as a pretext for the type of vindictive behaviour detailed above
- Email/in-writing acknowledged confirmation that at very senior levels HMCTS Immigration Tribunal refusals to answer evidence-backed questions on miscarriages of justice on an LGBT case that witnessed the Outing of an appellant that was Gay and had formerly had an anonymity order placed by a First-Tier Tribunal judge, for his protection. Said decision subsequently de-facto stated as an irrelevance by an Upper Tribunal judge that stated in defence of a different First-Tier tribunal judge that made, challenged on the basis of irregularities decisions, that the latter was very professional [the appellant’s Counsel being de-facto intimidated too]. But he and the First Tier Tribunal judge being, it was perceived, protected, risibly getting the Appellant’s husband and Representatives name wrong [with three different variations] over 20 times throughout both these immigration tribunal decision & reasons papers.
- Beyond LGBT human rights compliance statements, the reality is that the UKVI and associated immigration related services & entities, employ many overseas nationals whose states and/or cultures have official anti-LGBT laws or comparable socio-cultural records of endemic homophobia & transphobia: there is no evidence to demonstrate that such employees paid for by the British taxpayer, do not hold comparable views and apply them when they encounter LGBT applicants and LGBT people in possession of visas. Certainly, the ultimately THREE refused stamps put into my husband’s passport all took place in UKVI New Delhi, and in each case the ECO that made the subsequently overturned refusal decisions, had an Indian, not British name: being Gay is a crime in India and LGBT people there are routinely persecuted at social level too.
- Perception that LGBT activists, especially those who challenge UKVI perceived homophobic motivated malpractice, suffer disproportionately, through decisions against and maltreatment of their same-sex partners who are vulnerable as overseas nationals to immigration processes.
- Immigration solicitors on the HMCTS approved list, demonstrating dangerous levels of incompetence on safety issues in regard to LGBT clients, and facing no disciplinary action or removal
- Dual standards on application of HMCTS Immigration Tribunal rules: applied to LGBT people, but when substantially breached by the UKVI, no action taken, and the First Tier & Upper Tribunal authorities
- A Cornwall based South Asian gay man having a case appeal, not allowed by UK Immigration services to travel back to Nepal for the funeral of his father
Another gay man from the same South Asian country (Gay Star News also has seen all of his particulars), outed in his home country (well documented in the newspapers there) threatened with death and violence by members of his family, some friends, and strangers because of the extreme cultural homophobic social & cultural environment of the country. NOTE: issue here is that WITHOUT liaising with LGBT human rights organisations in given countries such as [given South Asian country] as to the actual environment and severity of risk to Outed LGBT people, the UKVI just bases country decisions on legal status of LGBT human rights.
- Non-independence of both UK police constabularies officers working closely with ICE [Immigration Compliance & Enforcement] teams and HMCTS immigration tribunal, from the UK immigration authorities – their de-facto satellites of the latter status. This demonstrated in a number of ways which have been the subject of formal complaint to police forces and the immigration tribunal [of which the Home Affairs Committee is aware], but in the case of the individual above [permission granted by him to include his initials – ‘J’ — for reference, and advised deportation date: 16th June 2018] the following particulars are especially striking: a) Police role (more on a different facet of police- UKBA/ICE operational level actions, detailed below): b) HMCTS & the Home Office immigration services:.
- Routine revealed policy of ignoring/not acknowledging or responding to key details and evidence that would prevent visa or LTR refusals in regard to LGBT sensitive & safety issues, with the immigration tribunal having a record of failing to challenge this, and in fact replicating and further entrenching it. Most recent example provided by the Director General of the UKVI Mike Thomson, in regard to time-sensitive, electronic and hard-copy provided information on appeals being provided to the UKVI with MPs witnessing, apparently not being received (we believe deliberately, and for malicious purposes informed by indirect homophobic factors on the part of those who received said communications)
- Asylum interviewers acting in bullying ways, and getting angry when confronted with evidence of LGBT people having been Outed, facing threats of physical violence & death
- Chief Operating Officer of the UKVI (whom it must be assumed sets operational level strategy for implementation of ECO and Entry Clearance Managers cases level implementation grounds for turning down visa & LTR applications, and subsequent UKVI responses to appeals) evidence of providing incorrect information on cases to MPs with the effect of defaming constituents on false grounds. This in signed letters by said officer with either personal knowledge the information provided was wrong and of a kind to defame UKVI service users (this on assertions of overstays, when as the MP in question subsequently learned through evidence, this to have been an impossibility) or unquestioningly accepting same information provided by a subordinate.
- In regard to the above (and why wilful deception of Members of Parliament is the more likely of the two possibilities), immigration history records to cover with incorrect entries being ‘doctored’ to cover for wrongly refused visa & LTR application decisions by genuine applicants
- Defacement of LGBT overseas nationals passports, with unjustified refused entry ‘signals’ (three!) by UKVI [New Delhi] overseas offices, when the individual in question had only been turned down by ECOs for visa applications, that were subsequently overturned (the visas granted) because of the defects in the grounds used by the overseas UKVI ECOs decisions to refuse (in all cases it was demonstrated the latter had ignored wilfully or through incompetence, key details & evidence on the applications). This de-facto criminalising those holding such defaced passports (which are the property of the individual and given overseas government) in regard to being denied the basic human right of unimpeded international travel. This practice we have evidence in official letter form from UKVI UK as not being policy and regarded as bad practice: senior British diplomats (evidence, again, available) have also voiced to us that this practice is unethical and human rights abusive.
- No apologies ever given by the UKVI in regard to internally overturned decisions of UKVI ECOs visa refusal decisions demonstrated to have been incompetent or contemptuous of proven genuine applicants who are gay, who met the eligibility criteria. No evidence in such cases of disciplinary or retraining actions in regard to such ECOs
- ‘Boomerang injustice consolidation’ phenomena in HMCTS Immigration Tribunal system: a judge who refuses on the poorest of grounds a solid case for overturning an immigration decision, upholds the latter. When a request to go to the Upper Tribunal is made, they themselves have and exercise the right to refuse the request. This is not consonant with an independent and professional judicial function, nor that UKVI officers are established (Hatton Cross) in HMCTS Immigration Tribunal hearing buildings, and that said tribunal never impose sanction on transgressions such as Appellants, who Have to receive the UKVI bundle 7 working days before a hearing, being given it by HMCTS clerks literally as a hearing is about to begin.