An American husband & wife who operate a hotel in Scotland have had their legal challenge for indefinite leave to remain turned down. Russell and Ellen Felber who set up the hotel in Inverness had applied for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after being in the country since 2011. The couple entered the country under the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa which was granted to Mr. Felber and also covered Mrs. Felber as his spouse.
After being granted their two-year extension, they applied for indefinite leave to remain after being in the country for 5 years. As a well-known settlement route, it is expected that their application would be rubber-stamped without issue. But the couple were left stunned when their application for ILR was refused. The reasoning for the refusal was that although in line with regulations they had created full-time roles in the first three years, they had not created anymore in the last two of the visa. Even though they met every other condition the couple was turned down.
The couple sought a judicial review of the decision as they were aware of a November 2014 change in the rules regarding the employment section of the visa. But there was to be no change in the decision as it was thought that the ruling did not apply in this particular case. It appears that as they did not 100% abide by the terms as laid out, they were severely punished and will now have to consider their options going forward.
These issues do happen and it is vital that before you make any application you are sure that you have 100% complied with the requirements of the visa. In this case, if they had hired correctly during the extension period of their visa, then they would have been given the green light. Unfortunately, it is a sad tale that has no clear ending.
Many will cite a lack of compassion in the case. The UK could use all of the entrepreneurs it can get and this couple had created jobs in an area that needs employment. Many will criticise the government's lack of willingness to intervene as a slight to the couple and good honest tax paying entrepreneurs have been unfairly punished due to the stringent way the rules are followed. There appears to be a complete lack of discretion in the way that the rules are applied and there appears to be a blanket process for how they are handled.
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