Can you have more than one immigration application pending at the same time?
If a person makes an application for leave to remain whilst he or she has an outstanding application, the new application will be treated as a ‘variation of the previous application’. The rule does not explain what it means by that. What it should mean is that the original application will be treated as varied so as to include both the original and the additional grounds upon which leave is being sought. For example, where a person applied for further leave as a student and then submitted a long residence application, the application will be treated as varied so as to include both student and long residence grounds. That approach would accord with the statutory framework and with the judgment of Akhlaq Choudhury QC in R (Chaparadza) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1209. However, the Home Office’s approach is to vary the application so that the later is substituted for the former. In this example, only the long residence application would be decided; the student grounds would be ignored. The rule also says that if a person makes more than one application for leave to remain on the same day, the Secretary of State may invite the person to withdraw all but one of the applications. If the person does not do so by the time specified by the Secretary of State, all of the applications will be treated as invalid. There are good grounds for saying that paragraph 34BB is unlawful, but whilst it remains in force, it necessitates careful thought about the content and timing of applications for leave to remain.
by Ronan Toal
Ronan is a leading Barrister in the field of Immigration and Public Law. He edits Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice, the leading practitioners’ text. As a result, he has a detailed knowledge and understanding of the complex and changing interrelationship of international and European law, domestic legislation, immigration rules.