Precarious Immigration Status Supreme Court Case: Rhuppiah v Secretary of State of the Home Department [2018] UKSC 58

Last month, the Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal in the case of Rhuppiah v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] UKSC 58 (“Rhuppiah v SSHD”). The case focused on the interpretation of Precarious Immigration Status in the context of the right to private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). If you need advice on your precarious immigration status and how it may affect your immigration application, then you should schedule a consultation with our specialist immigration solicitors who can help you overcome any issues which may arise.  

Precarious Immigration Status Supreme Court Case: Background and Facts to Rhuppiah v SSHD

The Appellant is a Tanzanian national who initially entered in the UK in 1997 with leave as a student. She was subsequently granted multiple extensions of leave until November 2009 when she applied for indefinite leave to remain (also referred to as settlement) on the basis of her continuous long residence in the UK. Unfortunately, the Appellant’s application for indefinite leave to remain was refused on the basis that she did not always have lawful status in the UK as some of her extension applications were made out of time; thus breaking her lawful leave. The Appellant’s appeal rights became exhausted on 11 October 2010.

The Appellant befriended Ms Charles, a fellow student who suffers from ulcerative colitis, a debilitating condition. They began living together in 2001 as Ms Charles agreed to provide the Appellant with free accommodation in exchange for her care and support. Ms Charles is heavily dependent on the Appellant both physically and emotionally; she cooks such food as Ms Charles can eat and accompanies her to Bristol, to the hospital and in effect everywhere. Without the Appellant, Ms Charles would face formidable difficulties and would need to seek state care.

The Appellant made a further application for indefinite leave to remain on 1 July 2012 on the basis of her continuous residence in the UK (whether unlawful or not) for a period of at least 14 years, pursuant to what was then paragraph 276B(i)(b) of the Immigration Rules, but this was invalid due to the incorrect form and fee being used. She applied again on 24 July 2012, however unfortunately for the Appellant; the Immigration Rules were amended on 9 July 2012 and as such, that 14 year-long residence route no longer existed and her application was refused. The Respondent also considered the Appellant’s case outside the Immigration Rules on the basis of her Article 8 – right to private life, however, failed to grant the indefinite leave to remain on this basis as well.

Precarious Immigration Status Supreme Court Case: Appeal and Supreme Court Judgement

The Appellant appealed this decision on the basis of her relationship with Ms Charles and that she had therefore established a private life under Article 8. First Tier Tribunal Judge Blundell dismissed the appeal on two bases:

1. The Appellant’s private life in the UK had been established at a time when her immigration status had been precarious under section 117B(5) of the Immigration Act 2014; and

2. The Appellant was not financially independent under section 115B(3) of the Immigration Act 2014, as she depended on support from her father and from Ms Charles.

Further appeals to the Upper Tribunal and the Court of Appeal were also unsuccessful. The Appellant then took her appeal to the Supreme Court, who allowed the appeal. Ultimately, because the Appellant had by this time had qualified for long residence under the 20-year route, the case was not remitted for reconsideration, yet the case was still heard because of the public importance of interpreting the word ‘precarious’ under section 117B(5) of the Immigration Act 2014.

The Supreme Court Judges also unanimously held that being “financially independent” under section 117B(3) of the Immigration Act 2014 means not being financially dependent on the state.

Precarious Immigration Status Supreme Court Case: Significance of Rhuppiah v SSHD

The importance of this judgement first and foremost is the clarification on the concept of precarious immigration status; specifically in the context of the right to private life under Article 8 ECHR.

Everyone who is present and settled in the UK (other than British citizens) and who has leave to reside in the UK other than to do so indefinitely, has a precarious immigration status for the purpose of section 117B(5) of the Immigration Act 2014. Giving the sole judgement, Lord Wilson favoured held that a person’s immigration status in the UK can be precarious even when he or she is lawfully present here.

Using Legal Representation to understand Precarious Immigration Status

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a successful UK Visas and Immigration application.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully applications with Precarious Immigration Status

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Our offices are located in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to avoid submitting invalid visa applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02030110276 or complete our contact form.

Call Now Button search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close