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Hi there,

My name is Nancy, and I am a Canadian living in the UK. I came here to do a PGCE, and I stayed on a post study work visa. My PSW visa ends at the end of November.

In March 2012 I was diagnosed with breast cancer in London, and I had a mastectomy in May 2012. I have been waiting for reconstruction since. There have been many frustrating delays.

With my visa about to end, I have been trying may avenues to move to a Tier 1 - unsuccessfully so far, but I have interviews lined up - and I have also been applying to do a PhD to remain here under a student visa.

I would like to finish my medical treatment, and apply for a leave to remain under compassionate medical grounds. If I am forced to go back to Canada, it would take a while for me to re-establish residency and to be covered by national medical insurance. The waits for reconstructive surgery would be very long.

Does anyone have experience in this area?

Thank you.
 

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I do sympathise with your conditions, and hope all goes well for you.
As for discretionary leave to remain (DLR), I don't think you'll qualify for your condition, and when you cannot extend or switch your leave, you are expected to go home. Your current NHS care goes with your work visa, and when that ends, you lose entitlement. You may get leave to remain as visitor on private medical care, but as the name implies, you'll have to pay.
As you can see, DLR on medical grounds is very limited:
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/s...cut/human-rights/human-rights.pdf?view=Binary
A few successful cases have involved people from developing world where being made to return would mean almost certain early death (because of inadequate medical facilities at home). No ready eligibility for public medical care in Canada won't be considered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply.

Could I ask about your experience to advise me with this?

I will call the Home Office with my specific questions, as much as I appreciate your advice, I am still going to look into making a request. The NHS has made a number of delays with my treatment in spite of my numerous requests to finish my treatment before my visa expires.

This would not fall under article 3, which you are quoting, but article 8. Without going into detail, the loss of a body part while I wait for reconstruction has substantially affected my private life, my relationship with others and my identity, (all part of article 8).

At the very least, filing a request will allow for more time to remain here on my present visa whilst trying to firm up a job offer or acceptance at a school.
 

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AmyD said:
If you're not going to take Joppa's advice (or any of ours) you should speak with a professional.
canada is not Congo or Haiti you can still get top notch medical care there. Joppa is write you have no strong augment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Dear Amy D,

There is no need to be like that!

I am in a situation where I feel under pressure to look for avenues of help given my medical circumstances and approaching expiration of my visa. A friend recommended this forum, and I posted a reasonable question last night, looking for suggestions or advice from people with experience of a similar situation. I am surprised, Amy, at your attitude and lack of compassion.

As i stated in my last response, I appreciate Joppa taking the time to answer my question. I appreciate his advice, whether I choose to follow what he says or not is not yours to comment on. Forums like this are not about the obligation to take others advice - it is full of unmediated and often contradictory commentary. Ideally forums like this open an avenue of brotherly or sisterly support, a sharing of experiences, especially for those in difficult circumstances, (I think having been through a very difficult battle with breast cancer in a foreign with my treatment unfinished before the expiration of my visa, my experience falls under that category).

In your response to your comment, I am waiting for the lines of the Home Office to open this morning, which I expressed in my last post.

If you read my first post, I asked specifically if anyone has experience, (or saving that expertise in this area).I responded to Joppa's comment in an appreciative but dialogical manner. I believe his response refers to one article of 3 of the Human Rights Act, where my request refers to article 8, medical grounds under moral and physical integrity.

Please don't make my experience more difficult than it is with your unnecessary commentary on my situation or intentions in asking for (hopefully) experienced advice on this forum. I asked for help here, but I also expressed my intention to seek professional help alongside this forum. We have many options when we ask for help.

It is posts like yours that give message boards like this a negative reputation. If you are not posting with an intention to help or serve my situation or share a relative experience, don't post!
 

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I am not being like anything. You laid out your case and Joppa gave you a realistic and sympathetic answer, and you rather arrogantly dismissed his advice. If you're going to come here and ask, be prepared to listen to what we have to say.

The fact is visas are not meant to give you a means to medical care. There are no grounds for your leave to be extended. You've taken advantage of the UK health care system, as is your right, and now it is time for you to take advantage of Canada's since that is your home.

I do wish you well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I did not arrogantly dismiss his advice! That is entirely your misreading and projection.

"There are no grounds for your leave to be extended. You've taken advantage of the UK health care system, as is your right, and now it is time for you to take advantage of Canada's since that is your home."

I am not going to outline my case to you. I don't know who you are and I do not wish to explain the details of my medical case to a stranger. However, I presume given your posts that your are not a professional and have no justification for making claims that you don't have an area of expertise in. I have not "taken advantage" of the UK health care system, and it is not up to you to suggest that now "it is time for me to take advantage of Canada's since it is your home". You are in no place to suggest what is home to me. I have a Canadian passport. I will not be covered by medical care if I return to Canada. It will take 3-6 months for my coverage to kick in. My cancer treatment has not finished. Please do not tell me what to do given that it sounds like you don't know what you are talking about - that is your arrogance.

Please stop posting about things you don't appear to know anything about.
 

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Oh dear Blakbrd, whist I sympathize with your situation you are not making things easy for yourself. I wish you well...
 

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I don't want or need the details of your medical case. I am only telling you that UK visas are not meant to give you easy or continued access to medical care. Again, I do wish you well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Again, I appreciate informed advice. I appreciate Joppa's informed advice.

Hertsfem, I appreciate your sympathy. May I ask why you suggest I am making things difficult for myself?

I have a highly delicate, personal and complicated visa situation, so I got rather upset at Amy D for commenting in a way that appeared to me under informed, unhelpful and unnecessary. She suggests Uk visas are not meant to give you easy access to medical care? Gosh! I think as a working professional who has contributed both my exceptional skills and financial investemnt to the UK, contributed to its economy, paid tuition at two universities in post-graduate study and taught its children, I am very much entitled to medical care, and under my visa, I am very much entitled to easy access to medical care. Given that I was diagnosed with cancer in the UK and my treatment for a life-threatening disease is not finished, I should think I have a means for a case.

I will say that I just got off the phone with the Home Office. They directed me to the correct form for an application, advised including a covering letter explaining my specific case along with a letter from the surgeon including details of my medical records relevant to my cancer history.

The Home Office saw no reason why I shouldn't apply, and they only insisted the necessity of submitting these before the date expiration of my present visa.

As I suggested in my response to Joppa, while I appreciate his informed advice and link, making this application for discretionary leave to remain on medical grounds of article 8 of Human Rights at the very least will allow me to to stay in the UK until my application is processed and returned to me.

This means while the application is being considered, I would have more time to sort out my visa situation through other means - if the application is rejected, I would have had further time to interview with schools for teaching positions that will offer me sponsorship on a Tier 1, and/or secure a place in a PhD programme, which could offer me sponsorship on a student visa. If my application is successful, then of course it would have been worth it. If it is not successful, at least I tried, and I would have been given more time to sort things out medically, personally and professionally with the possibility of staying or re-entering on the terms of a new visa.

Thanks for your feedback.
 

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Whilst I do not wish to get into a bun fight with you I think it's fair to say that after seeking advise from this forum you then turned around and more or less asked for his credentials? and stating you would phone the Home office regardless.

You may notice that Joppa has almost 13 500 posts to his credit. Many people would not have been successful with their visas without his and others advise and knowledge.

This forum is free and their advise is free so if you don't like it perhaps you should get paid help from elsewhere....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I asked for his experience in the matter, yes. And I think any thinking person would before taking a complete stranger's advice on such a delicate medical and visa issue.

I stated a number of times that I appreciated his help, but that given my research and situation, that it made sense to still apply for an extension. The Home Office agreed.

As I said in a previous post, no one is obliged to take free advice. I would advise you to not blindly take anyone's advice but to personally research all available options. Any thinking person makes his or her own decisions in life; however, part of being human requires seeking several avenues for help and support. I sought support here, and if I do not take one person's advice, I should not be chastised. I read and integrated Joppa's comment into my decision making process. I called The Home Office. Given all the details, I think it makes sense to apply - and now because I have expressed that decision, simply saying I still wish to apply - you are taking offence?

Besides Joppa's informed answer to my post - which I have stated several times I appreciate - the other posts in this thread seem tantamount to bullying.

Was I obliged to unconditionally take a stranger's advice by posting in this forum, someone I have no personal or professional contact with, an anonymous screen name? That is not in any way refuting anyone's potential credibility - but please!

If I posted advice here in response to a question, I would not expect that other's follow it, nor be personally offended if they chose not to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks.

I don't need to pay a lawyer.

The situation is very simple. I apply for the extension. I make a grounds for a case. If I am rejected, I am rejected. If I am not, I am not. But at least I tried. Perhaps if you were a cancer patient, had lost a body part and were waiting for reconstruction with no access to medical care outside the UK, you might make the same case.

All the Best,
Nancy
 

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Even under Article 8, as the guidance says, you don't really have a strong case. Case studies have shown that apparently nobody has succeeded in overturning Home Office's refusal to issue DLR under Article 8, and only the most exceptional circumstances have even the slimmest chance.
It's no point talking to Home Office helpline, they don't give advice and will just repeat what you can read in immigration rules. If you want professional advice, you have to pay, and there's no guarantee whether you can rely on what you are told. Normally they charge around £1,000 + VAT to take on your case. I have over 40 years' experience in immigration matters, but not professionally, and I'm not a registered immigration advisor, so can't take on anyone's case or charge for my service. All I can say is I have helped 100s of people to get their visa or leave to remain over the years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dear Joppa,

Thank you for your response. I appreciate your willingness to help given your experience and success rate with leaves to remain.

I'd like to respond to what you've advised in light of my specific situation.

"Even under Article 8, as the guidance says, you don't really have a strong case. Case studies have shown that apparently nobody has succeeded in overturning Home Office's refusal to issue DLR under Article 8, and only the most exceptional circumstances have even the slimmest chance."

It may be true that I don't have a "strong case", but that does not prevent me from making one. If I submit a request for a discretionary leave to remain before the expiration of my visa, I believe have a right to stay here until my request is either rejected, or by miracle, accepted. Please correct me if I am wrong here.

With a few more weeks of residency, and with all the entitlements to health care as well as the right to employment and seeking employment that have been granted to me through my PSWV, several things could potentially transpire.


a) I could receive the first step cancer reconstructive surgery I have been waiting for for over a year and half and which is scheduled to happen according to my surgeon "before Christmas"

b) I could be accepted onto one of the many doctoral programmes I have applied for for January, which means I could re-enter the UK with a student visa.

c) I could be offered a job teaching English in a secondary school, a job which I am highly qualified, (if not over qualified), and for which there is tremendous demand in this country and be offered sponsorship for a work permit.

I am exploring b and c thoroughly before I submit a request for a discretionary leave to remain. But submitting this request would be a way of ensuring I have a little more time to secure either b or c.
 

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Of course, in-time application allows you to stay until your application is considered and a decision made. Expect to wait many months (the longest I've heard was a year, but 3-6 months is common), so you may get your treatment done while you wait.
The fact that Home Office told you what you can do doesn't mean you stand a chance or it's their recommendation. Anyone can apply for any visa, but the outcome depends on whether you meet the requirements or, as in this case, you have a strong-enough case for DLR. A strongly-worded letter from your surgeon why you must stay in UK to complete your treatment may influence their decision, but the government policy is to use discretion only exceptionally, and as a last resort. But you never know. It certainly is worth applying, just for the extra breathing space.

About your other options:
Tier 4 adult student visa for PhD programme, when granted, will give you health cover, but the government is about to tighten eligibility for non-routine specialist care (details unknown).
Teaching Secondary English isn't on shortage occupation list so you may have difficulty getting sponsored Tier 2 General visa. Only Maths, Physics and Chemistry teaching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Joppa,

I really appreciate this response. Given the wait times, and my eligibility for medical care and employment during my wait, I think it makes perfect sense to apply.

I appreciate this information about the government about to tighten on non-routine specialist care. If I make the application before the expiration of my visa, I could very likely get the first round of my reconstruction scheduled before Christmas. Given that the delays have been because of loopholes in the NHS, which my surgeon acknowledges, I think that he would be willing to support me in my case. I have already written him with my request for a letter.

I realize that Secondary English is not on the shortage occupation list. That said, I spoke to a Canadian English teacher last night, and she has been offered two jobs since supply teaching here over the past month. Schools that like what you do and know you and trust you are often very willing to sponsor your work permit, (Tier 1 I believe?)

Anyway, hopefully my interview goes well next week, or I am offered a place on a PhD in the meantime before I make the application.

Thanks again for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Dear "Lessenich"

I am fully aware that Canada is not the "Congo", and that there is adequate medical care there.

My problem is not a dispute of the Canadian medical system; it has to do with a very specific, and personal, situation.

My problems is not that I may be rejected should i make a request for a discretionary leave to remain, but that making a case would buy me more time here to secure residency, a work permit, or a student visa, and to go ahead and get the treatment I have been waiting for for over a year and a half.

As stated in my first post, when I return to Canada, I will not initially be covered, and it will take up to 6 months or more to be covered, perhaps a year or two before I could finish my cancer treatment. Reconstruction is an integral part of treatment for a woman who has lost a breast cancer.

I don't appreciate the sarcasm. It is not helpful.


canada is not Congo or Haiti you can still get top notch medical care there. Joppa is write you have no strong augment.
 
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