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ECOs – The West’s new KGB!
This also includes UK based Case Officers as they all seem to possess the same characteristics!
After a period of widowhood, I met and married my present wife (a widow) who was living in the UK as a 'failed asylum seeker) although she did not realise the 'failed' part at the time, with her two grown up sons aged 26 and 20.
She was 50 and I was 65. I had retired from work in 2001 to be with my first wife who died of cancer in 2003.
After our marriage in February 2004, I contacted the IND(now part of Border Agency) and following their guidance, filled in the FLR(M) and paid the £155, sent it off and waited .. and waited! I was assured that 70% of applications were resolved in 3 weeks and the remainder in 13 weeks by the IND! 17 weeks later on 3rd July 2004, we received our first(of several) Notices of Refusal, which included quite a lot of information we knew nothing about.
For example, the Home Office had called my wife forward for an Asylum Tribunal in August 2000 – but had sent it to an address in London she had never been to, and consequently did not receive it! Only three or four weeks before she had registered herself with the authorities in a flat in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire when she had been given her work permit!
As a result of not attending the Asylum Tribunal, they found against her and from that moment on she was, technically. A 'failed' asylum seeker! I could not believe some of the rubbish the Case Officer was trotting out to justify his decision! He took us through the ECHR article 8 routine and stated that this was NOT be engaged 'in this case', as there were no compassionate reasons to do so!
Article 8 should NEVER be disengaged – unless one is a measurable threat to society – but a middle aged couple!! I have found this throwing away of article 8 rights by UK Government employees without proper foundation quite disreputable several times since!!
There were other matters which were obviously inaccurate and too numerous to go through here, but the upshot was that my wife of 6 months was to be deported on 21st July 2004, less than three weeks later, as it was in the 'public interest' for her 'not to reap the benefit' of her misdemeanour – whatever that meant!
I tried to get hold of an Immigration Lawyer, but whereas there seemed to be plenty around in early 2004 in Southend, the nearest one I could find in July 2004 was over 30 miles away in Ilford. "No point in appealing," he said, "It's really difficult getting leave to remain for foreign wives at the moment!"
We left for Russia on the 22.30 flight out of Heathrow at my expense, the day before the deportation date! It would have been a few days earlier, but the IND had confiscated my wife's passport at an earlier date – and LOST it! We had to get a travel document from the Russian Embassy(as well as a visa for me!).
After three weeks in Russia my wife had managed to get her identification documents renewed and procure an international passport. We turned up at the British Embassy in Moscow on 9th August with all our documents paid the fee(around £250 if I remember correctly), and individually went through the rantings of a rather rude and disrespectful Entry Clearance Officer who insisted on slandering my wife, and explaining that once she had got her Indefinite Leave to Remain in a couple of years, she would leave me and take all my money!! We flew back into Heathrow on 10th August 2004, and caught the train back to Southend. The whole fiasco had cost me around £3500, and gave me high blood pressure. I had an angioplasty to correct my heart problem in 2005.
What happened to my wife's sons? That is another story – and still ongoing.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author's and not necessarily those of UKresident.com or any entity associated with UKresident.com. This article is not checked for accuracy by any qualified immigration consultant or solicitor either represented on this site or otherwise. We will not be legally responsible for any statement made in this article. If you're going through the UK immigration process we strongly advise that you appoint a UK immigration consultant or immigration solicitor to deal with your case.
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