The Home Office can refuse an application if there is a suspicion that an applicant is using false documents to accompany the application. Not only can the Home Office refuse an application but these accusations can have serious repercussions for any future applications made within the UK or for any future applications for entry clearance to the UK.
It may seem that I am stating the obvious when I say that the Home Office has to show evidence to support any accusation of the use of false documents. However, it is important to be aware of the details here.
The Home Office can withhold evidence where there is a risk to matters relating to national security or the public interest but one can see that this restriction should only be used in very limited circumstances. The Tribunal may view this evidence in private to ascertain whether or not it should be restricted. However, in the majority of cases the Home Office will have to produce strong evidence to an accusation of the use of false documents.
The Home Office often use documentation verification reports. These are reports that can be submitted to the applicant or to the Tribunal after the Home Office has carried out various checks with the organisation from where the alleged false document originated. It is important that an applicant asks questions about these reports as it will not be sufficient for the Home Office to simply submit reports.
Firstly, an applicant can ask for a copy of a report if the Home Office has not already given it to them. Other matters that might be relevant are what was the wording of the request that was made to the organisation from the Home Office? One should ask for a copy of the document that the Home Office attached to this request. Who answered this request? What position do they occupy within the organisation? What experience/authority does this person have to state whether or not the document is false? You can also ask to see the written response from the organisation.
There must be positive evidence that an applicant has used false document. The Home Office must discharge the standard of proof being 'to a higher balance of probabilities' so it must be more than likely that the applicant has used false documents. It is not appropriate for the Home Office to refuse an application because they are not satisfied that the applicant is telling the truth or if there are mistakes in the application.
However, one must tread carefully here as even if a document is false and the applicant was not aware that it is false, this can still be a ground for refusing an application.
If you find yourself in this situation please contact a solicitor in the Immigration Team at Drummond Miller for further advice.