On 15 December 2017 The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the case of Anwar v the Secretary of State for the Home Department (2017). The Court held that the Home Office can only impose conditions on visa holders if they notified the visa holder of these conditions in writing.
The case concerned Mr Anwar, who came to the UK as a Tier 4 (General) Student migrant in 2009 in order to study at a certain college, which was further extended in 2011. However, Mr Anwar did not enjoy his studies and subsequently enrolled in a second institution, which did not sponsor his visa. Although, he continued to study at the Sponsoring institution, he failed his studies there whilst he succeeded in his studies at the Non-Sponsoring institution. Mr Anwar was then accepted for further studies at a third institution. When he was applying for leave to remain as a Tier 4 (General) Student in 2013, his application was rejected as the Secretary of State for the Home Department deemed that he had violated his previous leave, having failed his studies that the Sponsoring institution while studying at the Non-Sponsoring institution.
The Immigration Rules governing Tier 4 (General) Student visas prohibit an individual from studying in an institution different from the Sponsoring institution, unless it is supplementary to the main studies undertaken at the Sponsoring institution. Mr Anwar had never received a letter from the Home Office confirming the grant and conditions of his leave as a Tier 4 (General) Student and only received the leaflet accompanying his Biometric Residence Permit.
In the appeal, Mr Anwar’s counsel submitted that the imposition of conditions to a migrant does not happen automatically, but rather that the Home Office must specifically inform the person of any restrictions imposed upon them by virtue of their immigration status. The Court of Appeal confirmed that the Secretary of State for the Home Department is required to provide the conditions of each grant of leave with sufficient clarity in order to create an obligation on the applicant. The Court of Appeal noted that, although the Secretary of State for the Home Department has the power to grant leave and attach specific conditions to this leave, this power should “be exercised by notice in writing to the person affected”. Otherwise, this condition will not be binding.
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