Case study

PhD student lost right to study in UK after visa application submitted too late

Case study

The case:

Mr G complained to us when he lost the right to remain in the UK to study for a PhD, after his solicitor did not react quickly enough when the Home Office let them know his application for a student visa had not been received.

We investigated Mr G’s complaint and found that the firm of solicitors had prepared the visa application, and believed they had paid for it and properly submitted it online. However, four weeks after sending the supporting documents to the Home Office through the post, the Home Office notified the firm there was a problem, because they had not got any record of receiving the application itself.

The Home Office asked the firm to resubmit the application. When they did not do so, the Home Office sent a further notification four months later confirming they still had no record of receiving an application.

At this point, the clock was ticking, because Mr G’s Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies number (CAS) was only valid for a period of six months, and there was just one month remaining.

When the firm re-submitted an application a few weeks later, it was too late as the CAS had expired. This resulted in Mr G and his wife overstaying their visa, losing their jobs and facing removal from the UK.

The ombudsman instructed that a remedy of £50k requested by the client in relation to his and his wife’s lost earnings should be paid, together with a refund of fees of £4,806.

In our opinion, while the firm had believed they submitted the application, it was clear that they failed to take sufficient steps when the Home Office put them on notice that there was a problem. Had they followed this up promptly and taken steps to resubmit the application in good time, Mr G would have been granted his visa and the subsequent chain of events would have been avoided.