My mother (aged 62) applied for UK visitor visa from Bangladesh recently and got refused. She was intending to meet her elder sister who is a British Citizen living in London. As they haven't met for a long time and my aunt is not in a health condition to visit Bangladesh, my mother wanted to visit her sister on her short holiday at London.

My mother was the sole proprietor of an import oriented company, which she still owns (but doesn't work). But because of her age she doesn't look after the business now. I look after the company on her behalf. I also pay her some money every month. During filling up the UK visa application she mentioned "Retired" in the field where occupation was wanted, which is from her perspective true. But when she filled up "Retired", no further field appeared where she could mention her monthly income (the amount on an average I pay her from the profit of the business, also note that the business is still in her name, not mine). But there was a field that required her to fill up the monthly expenses. So, she filled up the monthly expenses. She had letter of sponsorship from her brother-in-law. She submitted her personal 6-month bank statement too and the amount was sufficient. But her visa got refused where the main reason was shown as:

You state on your visa application form that you are retired. You go on to state that your monthly expenses are 50 GBP. You have provided no evidence of your income or how you support yourself in Bangladesh. Due to this I have been unable to assess your financial circumstances. This also calls into question the origins of the funds you have presented and I am further not satisfied that these funds are genuinely available for your exclusive use.

She is very shocked at this and we are planning to re-apply and submit a new application. Although she is retired, in the sense that she doesn't work anymore, but she still has documents which could be presented to prove her proprietorship of the company.

Here I also provide with the photo of the refusal note:

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My question is how should we deal with this problem in the next application. What should she mention in the place of occupation? When we mention she was refused a few days ago, then where and how do we write the explanation?

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    It seems she is a silent partner in the business that she was running. That would be an investment and she has income from investments. – gnasher729 Jul 21 '16 at 16:38
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    This raises a general question of how to fill in visa and similar forms when retired and living off proceeds of earlier work. I had a similar issue come up when applying for Global Entry as a US permanent resident. In a face-to-face interview I realized the officer was trying to understand how I expected to pay for international travel, and explained my financial situation. – Patricia Shanahan Jul 21 '16 at 17:38
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    "...I also pay her some money every month..." <<= this is the problem. Is it off-book? Explain more please. Also please scan and upload a redacted copy of the refusal notice. You had a quote but it does not include the legal grounds. Thanks – Gayot Fow Jul 21 '16 at 21:28
  • @gnasher729 Actually she is the sole proprietor, there are no other partners. I just run the business for her. Because she is my mother and she has got old. What should be done in this case? What should be mentioned as her occupation? Thanks for your help. – Blain Waan Jul 22 '16 at 3:23
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    It would be helpful if the business issued your mother something similar to a salary slip each time she is paid. I expect such documents might have a different name given the circumstances, but the purpose would be to document the payments. – Michael Hampton Jul 22 '16 at 4:38
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Examining the refusal notice they got her on two grounds...

  • 4.2 (a) + (c) this is basically their way of saying that your mother is not a genuine applicant and they think she will go underground after she arrives. We have lots and lots of this type of refusal already in the archives here on the site, you will benefit from reading them.

  • 4.2 (e) this tells us that they concluded that she did not have sufficient economic resources at her disposal to undertake the visit. We have lots of refusal notices citing this paragraph also.

Combining the two reasons together allows us to infer that in addition to going underground, your mother will ultimately become reliant on public funds, and when she is finally caught they will have to go through the rigmarole of detention and removal. Plus an Article 8 case, which further depletes public funds. The combination of these two reasons makes your situation unique, otherwise your question would be closed out as a duplicate.

Part of their conclusions are drawn from the risk profile of your mother's demographics: Bangladeshi, elderly, retired, female, settled family in the UK, no apparent source of income, and so on. These risk profiles are not available to the public, but we have to assume that their performance history is poor. Maybe it's fair, maybe it's not, but at the moment it's part of "what is". Accordingly Bangladeshi nationals have to use extra diligence when they apply for the Standard Visitor Visa.

Based on what you wrote, she is receiving income from the black economy, i.e., away from record-keeping, away from taxation, opaque sources, away from criminal detection, and generally away from money laundering detection (a big one). This is a sure-fire recipe for for getting them worried because the legality of her income is questionable. They are entitled to refuse on this criterion alone.

This calls into question the origin of the funds you have presented...

And for the opaque sources, money laundering part...

I am not satisfied these funds are genuinely available...

Side-note: it is the same refusal formulae they use for "funds parking"; even though they didn't get her on funds parking, you can benefit by studying those types of refusals because there is a connection. This site has a very rich anthology of funds parking refusals.

Obviously your mother's income stream(s) will need to be legalised and made transparent. And the arrangements will need to be in place for quite some time before they are satisfied that you are not simply painting them a picture. If they think you are painting them a picture they will use the discrepancy method to refuse again and then matters will be worse. We have seen situations where people put in a quick fix and then got refused again and thus entered into a tailspin of serial refusals. Avoid that outcome!

Secondarily, her lifestyle and personal circumstances should be altered such that your mother no longer falls in to a high-risk profile. Whose 'turn' is it to visit your aunt for example. What does she actually do in her retirement that she could not do living with your sister in the UK? The prescription here is something you cannot find on the net because it is tightly wrapped to lots of personal information.

There are regulated solicitors in the UK who specialise in standard visitor visa refusals of Bangladeshi nationals (a fee earner), some will do 'pro bono' work, but most will charge a fee (visiting the UK is not a human right). Check out the Law Society and the OISC register. Importantly, avoid scam artists in South Asia who operate as 'visa experts'.

What should she mention in the place of occupation?

Wrong strategy! You should put down exactly what it is. Read the part about 'painting them a picture' above. There is nothing wrong with being retired in itself, painting them a picture on the other hand spells DOOM for many applicants.

When we mention she was refused a few days ago...

I surely hope this answer has put you off the 'few days ago' strategy. The cure is more complex than that and serial refusals will make matters worse.

...then where and how do we write the explanation?

There is a place to list prior refusals on the form, and a place to enter free text. A solicitor will know what to do.


Note: You can check the archives by following the visa-refusal tag.

Note: 'funds parking' is our own term to describe and categorise this very popular strategy. Accordingly there is no point in trying to Google it. It's "in-house" terminology. There's some graphic representations here: Should I submit bank statements when applying for a UK Visa? What do they say about me?

Disclaimer: I know the linked solicitor personally, she is a fee earner, not a charity.

  • Are you sure the income stream is illegal? I don't know enough about Bangladesh tax law to know what, if any, reporting is required when the owner of a business receives profits from it. – Patricia Shanahan Jul 22 '16 at 16:20
  • Bangladesh is a Commonwealth country; both dividends and income are taxable. Also UK money laundering rules also apply. – Gayot Fow Jul 22 '16 at 16:24
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    Thank you for your observations. Since the business is in her name, our lawyer regularly pays her taxes, so her income is not unlawful. But now I feel we had some bad practices. In Bangladesh it is not uncommon that when an elderly person owning a business wants to retire from job, rather than closing the business or changing its proprietorship, we continue with the old proprietorship, because we usually live in a joint family, we don't want to lose customers too. I have a separate profession (freelance adviser of several firms) and I also pay my own taxes on consultancy payments. – Blain Waan Jul 22 '16 at 17:44
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    @BlainWaan so the way forward is clear for you; be extra diligent, and remember that the need for a solicitor's help is still part of the best practices solution. – Gayot Fow Jul 22 '16 at 17:54
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    @BlainWaan regarding your last comment/question: your solicitor should fill that one for you, I think the answer you got above (+1) is quite clear: get help from a solicitor and have them deal with it and do not try on your own again right away because you win nothing but risk a refusal spiral and ultimately a ban! – mts Jul 24 '16 at 9:51

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