Friday Aug 06, 2021
LONDON: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visa to the United Kingdom remains valid but his application for extension in stay has been turned down by the Home Office with the right to appeal against the Home Office decision.
Hussain Nawaz Sharif confirmed here that Nawaz Sharif’s extension in stay application has been rejected but an appeal has already been lodged at the Immigration Tribunal.
A Home Office source said that Nawaz Sharif has been given extension in stay since his arrival in the UK under two years ago but the source didn’t specify how many times he had been given extension and why the same refused this time.
Hussain Nawaz said: “While rejecting the application, the Home Office allowed the right to appeal and the process has already started. We are confident that the Immigration Tribunal will grant extension to Nawaz Sharif taking into consideration all the facts.”
The News and Geo spoke to four different immigration lawyers who opined that Nawaz Sharif had several options available according to the UK’s immigration laws.
Hateem Ali, a leading UK immigration solicitor from GSC Solicitors LLP said: "if the previous visit visa extensions were on the basis of medical grounds (which seems to be the case here) then typically you can keep extending for a total of 18 months. In this particular case it would appear that the Home Office were no longer willing to keep extending on that basis.
He added: "If the latest application for an extension has been refused with a full right to appeal the entire appeal process can potentially take anything between 9 months to over 20 months to be decided by the Immigration tribunal in the UK. This period does not even take into account any potential subsequent judicial review once all appeal rights have been exhausted.
“So although Mr. Nawaz Sharif has been refused it is not necessarily the end of the process.”
Immigration solicitor Muhammad Amjad said that Nawaz Sharif “would have come to the UK as a visitor and he would have applied for an extension on this basis which has been refused. He would be lawfully resident here pending the appeal. It’s possible the Tribunal would still grant him extension of his visit visa even if the appeal was refused”. Amjad added: “The application on medical grounds would have fallen to be considered outside the immigration rules on human rights grounds namely under Article 8 and possibly also under article 3 of the European convention on human rights (ECHR). These are difficult and complex applications to succeed on. Under Article 3 Nawaz Sharif would need to prove that his health would be at a real risk of serious, rapid and irreversible decline resulting in either intense suffering or substantial reduction in life expectancy due to lack of medical treatment or access to that. This is a very high threshold and very difficult to succeed on. The threshold under article 8 is lower but there is a huge amount of discretion involved in those applications and they are decided based on what is fair and reasonable based on a concept of proportionality.
“Overall, Nawaz Sharif would continue to be lawfully resident in the UK pending determination of his appeal. Any appeal can take 12-18 months and more.”
Barrister Rashid Ahmed said that there were several grounds and precedents which are available under the UK’s immigration laws.
Solicitor Rashad Aslam said that Nawaz Sharif has several options to continue staying lawfully. He said that Article 3 of the ECHR provides protection against torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. “In medical claims a claimant may claim their return would amount to inhuman or degrading treatment.”
Immigration lawyer Barrister Rashid Ahmed said that Nawaz Sharif continues to stay legally in the UK while the Immigration Tribunal is considering his appeal. He said that due to the ongoing backlog caused by the pandemic, it could take nearly two years before a decision is made on Nawaz Sharif’s appeal and in the event his appeal is refused he has the right to launch the whole process anew through a fresh application.