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29 MAY 2013

R (on the application of Syed) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 984 (Admin); (2013) PLLR 062

Immigration - Education - Qualifications

A qualification the equivalent of, but not recognised as, a degree cannot satisfy the Tier 1 (Post-Study work) Migrants route criteria of the Immigration Rules.

26 April 2013

Administrative Court

Holman J

(1)        These claims raised the question of whether the professional qualification of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) counted as a qualification entitling an applicant to leave to remain under the (now abolished) Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) Migrants route of the Immigration Rules. Each Claimant had obtained this qualification, but had had their application for leave to remain refused on the basis that the qualification did not satisfy the requirement of the rules.

(2)        The Defendant's submission was that under paragraph 245 FD Appendix A, Table 10 of the Immigration Rules the qualification was required to be ‘a degree', and as the ACCA qualification was not a degree, the grant of leave to remain was correctly refused.

(3)        The Claimant alleged that this was too simplistic an approach, and there was ambiguity in the rule insofar as the term used was a ‘recognised...degree'. The Claimant submitted that the word ‘recognised' enlarged the scope of the word degree so as to include qualifications that are equivalent or of the same level as a degree. It was contended that the qualification in dispute was one such equivalent.

(4)        This was the first time this issue had been considered by the High Court and it was serving as a test case.

(5)        HELD: It was accepted that the ACCA qualification was not a degree. The Court was not persuaded by the Claimants' submission that there was any ambiguity in the rules.

(6)        The Court held that word ‘recognised' qualified the word ‘degree' to make clear that the degree must be one which was recognised as such.

(7)        There was nothing in any of the Guidance to the Immigration Rules which resolved the alleged ambiguity in favour of the Claimants. Although the qualification had been certified by the National Recognition Centre for the United Kingdom as comparable to a degree standard, the Court clarified that this made clear that the qualification was not a degree and therefore should not be treated as one.

(8)        The Court would not read words into the rules which were not there solely on the basis that the Claimant submitted that it would be fairer if those words were included. As such, the Claimants' challenges were dismissed.

Claim dismissed

Key paragraphs

[20] - No ambiguity.

[21] - Recognised degree.

[28] - Guidance.

[29] - Not certified degree.

[29] - Not add words.

[30] - Conclusion.

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