According to the Law Gazette many Solicitors have rejected the proposed changes to family immigration as “venal” and “unethical” They believe that the proposals would have a disproportionately adverse effect on women whilst others have commented that they see the proposals as impractical and heavy-handed.
Of the 40 proposals included in the consultations, the main area of concern seems to be Marriage based application, the consultations have proposed the introduction of a specific minimum income requirement (for maintenance purposes) for British and settled sponsors to bring family members over; more onerous requirements on what constitutes ‘a genuine and continuing relationship”, this translates to a more cumbersome burden in that the applicant will need to provide extensive documentary evidence to substantiate the basis of their relationship; an extension of the probationary period for spouses to five years; increasing the English Language requirement for settlement purposes from A1 to B1 level; introducing interview arrangements for sponsors; restricting the ability of those sponsored as a spouse to sponsor another spouse or partner from within 5 years of settlement; a requirement to take out medical insurance for certain family members; the introduction of powers to delay marriages which are suspected of being ‘sham’ marriages and legislating to make forced marriage a criminal offence.
In relation to the Dependant relative visa the Home office is looking to introduce a specific income threshold for sponsors of dependants for maintenance and accommodation; ending of indefinite leave to enter for adult dependants and dependants aged 65 or over and the introduction of a 5 year settlement period; bringing in more onerous requirement as to what constitutes dependency for elderly relatives with the possibility of increasing the age threshold and the introduction of an English language requirement for this visa category. With regards to the Points based family members they would like to extend the probationary period from 2-5 years- with only time spent in the UK counting towards this and also increasing the English language competency for dependants to level B1 English language, if they wish to settle in the UK.
Other proposed changes suggested are that Solicitors should countersign applications for marriage. Law society immigration law committee member Stefan Vnuk has commented that “There are ethical issues around co-opting solicitors into immigration control and requiring them to countersign applications. They are not trained or regulated for such a role- they are legal advisers”
Due to the draconian approach of the UKBA and their desire to stem immigration with the often burdensome critrea set in order to make a successful outcome, we would recommend that it is imperative to obtain legal assistance when making such an application.
What you should
We have a team of experts dedicated to bringing you a successful outcome. We have extensive expertise in a number of areas of Immigration law including all aspects of the new Points Based System including Tier 1; Tier 2 General applications; Tier 2 Sponsorship licences and Tier 4 applications. We also have extensive experience in assisting clients with visa extensions; Indefinite leave to remain applications and Naturalization applications. Alongside this we also specialise in Marriage, Civil Partnership, Asylum and Human Rights applications (in particular Article 8; the right to private and family life, and Article 3; protection against inhumane and degrading treatment).
We provide a personalised approach tailored to the individual needs of our clients. We are able to understand your needs and also advise you of the potential setbacks you may face and devise a strategy to obtain a successful outcome.
Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice in this area of law. To contact one of our Solicitors or Barristers please click here or call 0845 8622 529