The Home Office has reversed its initial decision to refuse entry to a Russian national, meaning he can now come to the UK to visit his family. This follows an enquiry by The Independent.
The case concerned a Mr Stepan Polyakov, a 68-year old Russian national whose wife of four decades, Anna, is German and therefore an EEA national. In July this year, Mr Polyakov applied to come to the UK together with Anna in order to visit their daughter and her new-born son. He sent a copy of his marriage certificate and a letter from his daughter in support of his application for an EEA family permit. This visa allows non-EEA nationals to travel with their EEA partners to visit family members.
According to the Home Office guidance for the EEA family permit:
“EEA family permits are issued under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and not the Immigration Rules. The permit is issued ahead of a person’s travel to the UK and is valid for six months and is free of charge”.
(See the full guidance here).
Mr Polyakov’s application under the above regulations was first refused in September 2018. It was unclear how he had failed to comply with the requirements. The Home Office refusal letter cited the reasons for the decision as a “failure to supply photographic evidence of your marriage”. An article by The Independent covering Mr Polyakov’s case was published following receipt of this refusal letter, and they described his surprise and disappointment given that he had not been asked to supply any photographs of his marriage, and that he had followed official guidance in sending his marriage certificate. With little resources to remedy the situation, his only option was to travel 800 miles to Moscow to try and re-apply. However, this might have incurred delay and uncertainty, and Mr Polyakov was keen to see his new grandson as soon as possible.
The Home Office’s suggestion that Mr Polyakov did not supply sufficient evidence of his marriage appeared to allude to concerns about a marriage of convenience. However, The Independent rightly questioned whether such concerns was appropriate in the case of a marriage of 43 years, and a couple who were applying for documentation to visit their daughter and her new family in the UK.
Furthermore, since The Independent’s original report, the Home Office contacted Mr Polyakov asking for further documentation and following receipt of this overturned their original decision by email. The Independent published an update on Mr Polyakov’s case last week, though it stated that the Home Office did not supply any further information for the change in decision.
The media coverage surrounding this case more than likely influenced the result. It is unknown, however, how many other similar cases are being wrongly decided, or going to appeal, especially given the lack of clarity in the reasons for refusal sometimes provided by the Home Office.
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