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Working in breach of immigration working conditions

On 23 November 2022 in the case of (1) Rahim Shah (2) Fawad Anwar (the “claimants”) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (the “defendant”) [2022] EWHC 3033 (Admin), the High Court rejected an application by two students who were caught working in excess of immigration working conditions - 20 hours per week as permitted by the immigration laws during term-time.

The claimants were apprehended by immigration officers in an early morning raid and found to be working in breach of their visas. Evidence was taken in the form of:

(i)            digital notebooks of the immigration officers known as PRONTO 

(ii)           minutes prepared after the arrests

(iii)          witness statements produced for the court hearing.

The claimants sought to challenge the defendant’s decisions to curtail their leave by arguing there had been procedural unfairness.

The judge rejected a substantive part of the claimant’s argument which argued the immigration officer’s evidence could not be relied on, as the Immigration Service had settled claims with two other migrants who had been part of related raids and therefore the different treatment of these migrant’s cases undermined the credibility of the evidence. The judge rejected the argument for the following reasons:

(i)            all four migrants had their visas cancelled and so there was consistency

(ii)           decisions taken by the Government Legal Services department in other cases cannot be used to undermine evidence

(iii)          cases are dealt with in different ways.

The judge also found:

(i)            there was anything improper in the immigration services having no cameras and the interviews not being recorded

(ii)           the fact PRONTO was used, and the claimants signed the notes was acceptable

(iii)          rejected submissions that cautions should have been issued immediately so the claimants would have been made aware of their right

(iv)          the employers should have been contacted before making the decisions to cancel leave

(v)           no inconsistency in the immigration officer’s notes

(vi)          no evidence the claimants did not understand what was being said as there was no physical interpreter (there was one working remotely)

(vii)        nothing wrong with an immigration officer’s statement being dated later as the information was drawn from notes taken on the day of the raid

(viii)       nothing wrong in the use of the form of statements used in criminal proceedings.

This case states nothing in that working in breach of the 20 hours per week is a breach of the immigration conditions and will lead to action by the immigration services. It shows the resources and intelligence the immigration service has available to intervene where there are potential immigration breaches. From a legal perspective it highlights how the judiciary is unlikely to intervene in cases of immigration breaches in work related cases unless there is very substantial evidence to suggest otherwise.

RLegal is a firm of immigration solicitors located in central London. An immigration lawyer can be contacted by clicking here, sending an email to or by telephoning +44 207 038 3980.

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