26 March 2009

Judge gives overstayer of UK visa a light sentence

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A South African woman living in Britain on an expired UK working holiday visa (now called the youth mobility scheme) has been jailed for overstaying her UK visa to work in the UK illegally and for allowing a forged stamp in her passport.

Nonzuzo Ngcobo, a 22-year-old mother of two, started her UK visa in 2005 and needed to renew it before its expiry date in 2007, as it was a working holiday visa.  Now, the youth mobility scheme totally replaces the UK working holiday visa programme, and South Africans have been denied access to it. 

Even if Ms Ngocobo had maintained a clear criminal record, she would not have been able to apply for a UK visa through the youth mobility scheme (tier 5), as she was already a holder of the UK working holiday visa.

Only Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan have been entitled to participate in the new youth mobility scheme, which allows 18 to 31 year olds to be sponsored by the British government to live and work in the UK for up to 24 months. 

According to the Reading Post, the woman was jailed for breaching her UK visa conditions, working illegally in the UK, and forging visa information in her passport; however, in light of her contribution to the British community and her lack of criminal record, the judge presiding over the case gave her a reduced sentence.

Ms Ngcobo is a mother of two and works as a carer at Tilehurst's Riverview Care Centre, and during this time continued to pay taxes and National Insurance contributions, despite her status as an illegal immigrant.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

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