In July 2012, the Government will make changes to the Immigration Rules for family migration as part of its programme of reform of the migration routes.
Changes to UK Family Migration Route
The changes that will be made are principally to UK Spouse Visas, UK Marriage Visas, UK Dependent Visas and in respect of those of non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationality applying for leave to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family relationship with a British citizen or a person settled in the UK.
Changes to UK Spouse Visas, UK Marriage Visas, UK Dependent Visas
The changes to UK Spouse Visas, UK Marriage Visas, UK Dependent Visas include:
- Introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child;
- The relevant minimum income threshold will apply at every application stage: entry clearance/leave to remain, further leave to remain and indefinite leave to remain (settlement).
- Publishing, in casework guidance, a list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships, to help UK Border Agency caseworkers to focus on these issues;
- Extending the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses and partners from two years to five years, to test the genuineness of the relationship;
- Abolishing immediate settlement for migrant spouses and partners where a couple have been living together overseas for at least four years;
- From October 2013, requiring all applicants for settlement to pass the Life in the UK Test and present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless they are exempt;
- Allowing adult and elderly dependants to settle in the UK only where they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK, and requiring them to apply from overseas rather than switch in the UK from another category, for example as a visitor;
- The 2011 family migration consultation also consulted on whether the full right of appeal should be retained for the refusal of a visa to visit a family member in the UK. In the light of the consultation, the Government has decided that it should not. The Crime and Courts Bill, published on 11 May 2012, contains provision to abolish the full right of appeal. A limited right of appeal will remain on human rights and race discrimination grounds. Subject to Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent, this provision is expected to be implemented by 2014.
The impact of the changes on UK Spouse/Marriage Visas
These changes will have a major effect in restricting the numbers of successful applicants able to enter the UK. As a result of these changes it is imperative that applications are made urgently and professionally, taking account of the changes. This is why it is imperative you seek legal advice and instruct specialist immigration lawyers.
We can assist your with your applications for any form of UK Family Visa application leave to remain (or for entry clearance) at the outset and help you comply with the strict requirements of the UKBA requirements, thereby eliminating the stress caused in submitting such applications.
Why use a UK Specialist Immigration Lawyer?
We are a UK Solicitors law firm and are fully authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and as a professional law firm are completely exempt from requiring authorisation by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Many businesses offering immigration services are only OISC regulated and as such are not professional legal organisations such as Solicitors firms or Barristers’ chambers. OISC businesses are not allowed to do legal work before the Courts such as Judicial Review or statutory challenges of Home Office decisions. Also as a professional organisation our policy is not to employ sales staff to give you “advice” (all our telephone consultations are handled by lawyers). We are often instructed at immigration appeal stages in cases that ‘immigration businesses’ have dealt with and which were clearly hopeless applications at the outset. When you instruct us, qualified immigration solicitors or immigration barristers work on your case from the outset when it matters the most in order to ensure no time and money is wasted and more importantly that no mistakes are made.
As a leading law firm with a track record of success, you can be assured your immigration matter is in safe hands and that the best strategy for your case will be adopted. It is crucial that you seek specialist legal advice at the outset and prior to making any type of immigration application. We can assist your with your applications for any type of Visa or permit and any form of leave to remain (or for entry clearance) under the points based system. We ensure our clients comply with the Immigration Rules and the strict requirements of the UKBA prior to making an application, thereby eliminating much of the stress of the application process.
Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice on applications for UK Spouse Visas, UK Marriage Visas and UK Dependent Visas. To contact one of our Solicitors or Barristers please click here to complete a legal case assessment or telephone 0845 8622 529.