Curtailment of leave to remain
The Home Office has wide ranging statutory powers that allow caseworkers to curtail a migrant’s limited leave to remain in the UK. These statutory powers are supplemented by guidance on curtailment of leave which tells caseworkers whether to curtail leave and when to consider using discretion.
What does curtailment of leave mean?
The Home Office has power to curtail i.e. reduce or cancel, your existing leave to enter or remain in the UK.
This usually happens if you have breached a condition of your leave, one of the ‘general grounds for refusal’ apply, or there has been a change in circumstances so that you are no longer eligible for the visa you hold.
Some examples of situations where curtailment of leave may occur are:
- Your hold a spouse visa but your relationship with your partner has irrevocably broken down;
- You hold a Tier 4 visa but you have failed to commence studies with your sponsor, or have been excluded from the course;
- You hold a Tier 2 sponsor but your Sponsor no longer holds a Sponsor licence;
- The Home Office consider that you obtained your current visa or ILR on the basis of a false representation or false document;
- You have not complied with a condition attached to the grant of your leave, for example, you have accessed public funds, and were subject to a condition not to have recourse to public funds.
How will I be notified of a decision to curtail my leave?
You will be given notice in writing of any curtailment decision. This is often called a curtailment letter. If you are in the UK, a curtailment of leave letter will generally be sent to your postal address or your legal representatives. Otherwise the curtailment letter will be sent by email.
If the Home Office is unable to contact you as there is no known address, or attempts to do so have failed, the curtailment decision can be served ‘on file’. Therefore it is important to keep the Home Office informed with your up-to-date contact details.
How long can I remain in the UK following curtailment of leave?
In some circumstances, curtailment of leave will have immediate effect once the decision is served on you. This will be the case if, for example, the Home Office believe you have attempted to enter, facilitate or assist a sham marriage, or you are a sponsored worker and have failed to start work.
If your leave is not curtailed with immediate effect, your leave will generally be curtailed to 60 days from when the decision was deemed to be served on you. The expiry date of your leave will be stated on the curtailment letter.
What should I do if my visa gets curtailed?
There is no right of appeal or administrative review against a curtailment decision. You may be able to pursue judicial review proceedings to challenge the curtailment of leave decision.
There are a number of options that may be available to you. This will depend on your circumstances and you should seek professional legal advice from an immigration lawyer.
If you believe the decision to curtail leave is correct, you should make arrangements to leave the UK and ensure you do so before your leave comes to an end.
If there is another basis on which you can remain in the UK, you should make an application for further leave to remain in the country, if you can do so before your leave ends. If your leave is curtailed with immediate effect, it is best to leave the country and make an Entry Clearance application from abroad to avoid overstaying.
If you believe the decision to curtail your visa has been made in error, or the curtailment of leave is incorrect for other reasons, you can write to the decision-maker and request that they reconsider the decision. Some reasons for curtailment are discretionary, rather than mandatory, and there may be factors that have not yet been considered, or mitigating factors relating to the curtailment of leave. You may have exceptional, compassionate circumstances, such as a serious medical condition that will allow you to request that you be given a longer period to remain in the UK.
If your leave is curtailed, it is important that you seek professional advice as soon as possible, to secure your position, and see what alternative options are available to you.
Contact our Curtailment Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance in relation to a curtailment of leave, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form below.