To think I should report someone for a fraudulent visa application? Sorry, long!

(80 Posts)
Moralpickle Fri 22-Aug-14 17:08:05

NCd because I'm identifiable, have been vague where I can to not out myself. I'm in a quandary, please advise me wise MNers.

An acquaintance who is living outside of the UK is planning on applying for an entry visa for their spouse who is a non-EU national (under more favourable EU regulations) to move to the UK permanently. In order to qualify for this route the EU spouse must have lived and worked in another EU state before returning to the UK with their third national spouse (Surinder Singh route). This is a perfectly legal thing and is not an abuse of the EU rights of free movement.

However, this person is not working but has arranged for their spouses relative to make them a 'contract' and provide them with payslips and an employers letter etc etc all to fraudulently obtain an EEA family permit for their spouse. I am 100% this is the case as they have admitted it to me after several months of asking my advice (I know an awful lot about this route to the UK, DH is a non-EU national). Part of me is pissed off because I know a lot of people who have had to rely on this route to bring their spouses to the UK (financial threshold for bringing a foreign spouse to the UK is ridiculous) and I don't want to see it abused as it leads to UKVI cracking down on genuine applicants and making it harder for everyone else. I told them it was a bad idea because they could be caught out and was told that it's fine because the relative knows what story to tell if they call to verify employment.

I feel very strongly about this but I don't know if it's morally okay for me to report them? And if I do, how? Also, due to the nature of the application the non-eu spouse will not receive a 10 year ban or be punished, their spouse would just have to actually have genuine & effective employment in the host state for a minimum of 3 months. They are planning in trying their luck at the border for an entry stamp rather than applying for the permit in advance.

No "the Uk is full" bollocks please, I am very pro freedom of movement within the EU but this doesn't sit right with me. Feel free to tell me it's none of my business though & well done if you got through all that!

LiverpoolLou Fri 22-Aug-14 17:13:47

If this person is genuinely their spouse I think the moral disgrace is the fact that the system backs them into this corner. I'd leave them too it and keep my fingers crossed that the authorities start showing an ounce of compassion to separated families.

expatinscotland Fri 22-Aug-14 17:14:20

Report them. I would.

pluCaChange Fri 22-Aug-14 17:22:39

If this person is only an "acquaintance", it doesn't sound as though you have much to lose if it becomes clear you reported this. On the other hand, you sound as though you will regret not reporting.

As for the potential for frustration, you may never find out what happens, if the "acquaintance" dumps you, having gained your advice! grin

Moralpickle Fri 22-Aug-14 17:26:04

Liverpool I completely agree that the laws re: foreign spouses are disgusting and in fact in breach of the human rights act.

expat but how? I only know who to report an illegal immigrant already in the UK as that's all that google brought up.

Moralpickle Fri 22-Aug-14 17:28:33

grin plu I doubt they would know it was me! they are not very subtle. It would probably be all over the fb group we are both members on for immigration support so I'd know. Not that it would give me a perverse sense of satisfaction, purely because what they are going to do is wrong

MexicanSpringtime Fri 22-Aug-14 17:29:02

Poor people, this restriction is so cruel. To my mind it is totally against one's human rights when a citizen cannot move back to their own country with their family.

And it would be terrible if you reported then for just wanting to do something that there should be absolutely no problem about.

Tryharder Fri 22-Aug-14 17:29:24

I wouldn't say anything.

A person coming to join their British spouse has to a) pass an English test, b) pay around £1000 for a visa application, c) satisfy stringent requirements with regard to maintenance and accommodation (your spouse has to earn £18k+) and d) show that you will not claim benefits whilst in the UK

If you are married to an EU national, you have to do none of the above, you are able to claim benefits and your visa application is free.

Unfair? It's disgrace how the UK government is discriminating against it's own citizens.

I don't blame your friend.

InterestedIgnoramus Fri 22-Aug-14 17:31:10

Mmmmm. confused

I do see your point about not wanting to see the Surinder Singh route abused and thus potentially closed off.

On the other hand, I think LiverpoolLou is right. People shouldn't have to go to these efforts in order to live in their own country with the person they love - IMO spousal immigration should be absolutely sacrosanct, i.e. with no conditions other than the requirement to prove a real and subsisting relationship.

My worry in this situation would be that you reporting them would have consequences. By all accounts the Home Office, with their targets to reduce numbers, will take any excuse to delay or refuse spousal visa requests. It seems likely to be that your report would be permanently attached to their file and this could make life very difficult for them with any future applications...

Moralpickle Fri 22-Aug-14 17:33:52

To be clear, my issue is not with the route they are taking to enter the Uk together and I wholeheartedly agree that the system is incredibly flawed and EU law shouldn't be more favourable than UK law for spouse visas.

This is how my own DH got entry clearance and subsequently UK residence.

My issue is with the fact that they are not fulfilling the basic requirement for this application and are lying and will provide false documents to gain entry. It's not hard to work for a few months abroad, why lie about it.

Moralpickle Fri 22-Aug-14 17:38:18

InterestedIgnoramous I am bearing that in mind, any black mark against their name/adverse immigration history cannot be held against somebody applying for an EEA family permit. They could literally apply again the next day with fresh consideration. Metock and some other case law protects them.

If it meant a 10 year ban/ any effect on future applications I wouldn't even consider saying anything, all that would happen is a refusal which means they would have to fulfil the SS criteria and apply again when they meet the requirements, the only legal grounds for refusal are if the marriage is not genuine or if the non-eu spouse poses a sufficient threat to public health, public policy or public security.

Moralpickle Fri 22-Aug-14 17:39:42

And short of leaving the EU/EEA there is nothing the home office can do about the SS route fortunately, but they can impose restrictions illegally (they currently are in fact) it takes years to overturn them and in the meantime a lot of people suffer.

MexicanSpringtime Fri 22-Aug-14 17:39:51

It's not hard to work for a few months abroad, why lie about it

Gosh move to a country where you don't want to be, find somewhere to live, find a job....

Not hard!!!

InterestedIgnoramus Fri 22-Aug-14 17:40:01

Perhaps they're having difficulties finding a job, particularly when their ultimate intention is to move back to England anyway?

I absolutely agree that breaking the rules and lying is never a sensible or even a good thing to do. But I do worry that you reporting them could have long-term consequences that would keep them apart for a long time -- which seems a pretty cruel consequence to what is almost certainly an action taken out of desperation and confusion in the midst of some very harsh immigration rules.

InterestedIgnoramus Fri 22-Aug-14 17:40:29

Sorry! cross-post.

whois Fri 22-Aug-14 17:40:52

I think you would be a pretty horrible person to report them.

They have an actual genuine relationship and want to live together.

If it was just a sham marriage and a way of getting someone a visa for visa sake not relationship that would be different.

If you think the rules are unfair then I don't understand why you would report it. It's not like they're not married. They are getting around a rule that shouldn't exist in the first place, as you said.

I think it's extremely naive to think your reporting them would have no consequences. There is a chance it could lead to him being banned for a time, could you really live with that?

InterestedIgnoramus Fri 22-Aug-14 17:43:08

You said the Home Office can put restrictions on illegally. If you did report this to, say, the EEA, is there not a chance that in the future the Home Office might have access to that record and put sanctions on this couple once they are living in the UK?

I'm sorry, with a non-EU spouse of my own the Home Office often feels to me like a malevolent Big Brother figure, and I probably have a paranoia-inflated sense of their information-gathering and retributive abilities!

Corygal Fri 22-Aug-14 17:45:21

I think it's a bit much reporting a perfectly conventionally married couple who just want to live in the same country.

Footle Fri 22-Aug-14 17:48:24

This law is unjust and discriminatory. As I understand it, a citizen of another EU state can bring their non-EU spouse to live here though British citizens can't. I wouldn't report them.

Chunderella Fri 22-Aug-14 17:52:16

The Surinder Singh route isn't going anywhere, much as HO hate it. I would think they'll need more than a few payslips to be successful, mind- they're now asking for bank statements, tenancy agreements etc, though I would be interested to see whether the courts will let this stand if it comes their way.

Anyway yes ywbu to say anything. The Home Office aren't an institution that deserves the slightest respect. They don't play by the rules, so naturally people who come up against them don't always do so either. Stay out of it.

Moralpickle Fri 22-Aug-14 17:52:18

MexicanSpringtime they already live outside of the UK and set up the 'job' before their arrival. I don't want to write what they said verbatim but suffice it to say they never had any intention of doing it "properly" and decided to commit fraud because it made things easier.

I'm not naive dreamingbohemian I know the law and I know that there would be no long term repercussions. It's not a usual UK visa where the application can be banned etc and for the purposes of this type of application a ban does not matter, it is not legal grounds for refusal.

interested I think if they completed the SS route successfully and the non-EU spouse had their 5 year residence card there's nothing they could do. If you meet the requirements for the family permit, you meet the requirements for the RC and they'd be safe.

Moralpickle Fri 22-Aug-14 17:53:54

V. Glad to see that everyone agrees the current spouse visa requirements are unfair!

Thenapoleonofcrime Fri 22-Aug-14 18:01:30

I see people doing vaguely illegal things all the time, smoking dope, taking home extra stationary supplies, perhaps their boyfriend stopping over more than I think might be allowed if they claim benefits and things I think are a bit morally dubious but are allowed (e.g. on paper working 30 odd through self-employment and claiming benefits but really doing little work).

I don't feel the need to report any of these things. I do think you should heed your own last line and mind your own business. I can't see the moral justification for reporting whatsoever, and you would have to be very very sure that they wouldn't in fact look like they had been working for this family if the paperwork all stacked up.

Just don't get the motivation here, the HO treats legal immigrants with so much contempt, that I sympathize with those bending the rules.

I'm non-EU so aware of the process. There were a couple things I had to go through that were illegal under EU law but UKBA did them anyway, so I would not be so breezy about knowing the law and being 100% sure of no repercussions. They wouldn't be refused because of not providing enough evidence, it would be actual fraud.

Actually let me google...

4. ABUSE AND FRAUD
Community law cannot be relied in case of abuse55. Article 35 allows Member States to
take effective and necessary measures to fight against abuse and fraud in areas falling within
the material scope of Community law on free movement of persons by refusing, terminating
or withdrawing any right conferred by the Directive in the case of abuse of rights or fraud,
such as marriages of convenience. Any such measure must be proportionate and subject to the
procedural safeguards provided for in the Directive5

4.1.1. Fraud
For the purposes of the Directive, fraud may be defined as deliberate deception or
contrivance made to obtain the right of free movement and residence under the Directive. In
the context of the Directive, fraud is likely to be limited to forgery of documents or false
representation of a material fact concerning the conditions attached to the right of residence.
Persons who have been issued with a residence document only as a result of fraudulent
conduct in respect of which they have been convicted, may have their rights under the
Directive refused, terminated or withdrawn.

eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2009:0313:FIN:EN:PDF

If this is still valid (it's from 2009) then it sounds like there would indeed be repercussions.

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