The Government has announced new rules to ensure that families of Armed Forces personnel are not disadvantaged by immigration rules and their family members can integrate into society. The changes which were announced in Parliament this July aim to make sure that families of members of the Armed Forces are not disadvantaged when they apply for settlement or leave to remain in the UK.
UK Government on Families of HM Forces and their Families
The Government’s Statement of Intent published on 4 July 2013 states that they recognise the contribution the Armed Forces make to the UK and in developing their proposals they have been conscious of their obligation enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant to ensure that members of the Armed Forces and their families do not suffer disadvantage as a result of their service. The Government has taken this view and this is reflected in the measures set out in their Statement of Intent.
December 2013: Flexibility of Changes to the Immigration Rules
There will be more flexibility and the rules will take into account the realities of life in the Armed Forces, so that time spent overseas will count as time in the UK for them. It is also means that for the first time, non EEA (European Economic Area) partners and children of Foreign and Commonwealth citizens and of British citizens serving in HM Forces will be subject to a single set of rules.
The rules are intended to align the treatment of non-EEA family members of service personnel with the general approach to family migration. At the same time they aim to treat all non-EEA dependents of service personnel in the same way irrespective of the immigration status of the sponsor.
Outline of Changes to Immigration Rules in force December 2013
The following are the changes to be made which will apply to families of Armed Forces:
- Service personnel who wish to sponsor their non-EEA dependents to enter or stay in the UK must meet income threshold of £18,600 for a partner, £22,400 for a partner and child and £2400 for each additional child;
- Basic English language requirement will also apply to all non-EEA partners seeking to enter or stay in the UK;
- Non-EEA partners of British and of Foreign and Commonwealth citizens serving in HM Forces will serve 5 year probationary period before being eligible to apply for settlement; and
- To qualify for settlement, non-EEA partners and children between the ages of 18-65 will have to demonstrate knowledge of language and life in the UK.
Immigration Lawyers for UK Armed Forces Visas
If you are a member of the Armed Forces or your family member is in the Armed Forces and you wish to know more about applying for settlement or leave to remain, you should seek legal advice from expert UK Immigration Solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to ensure that you know your options and how you can proceed to the next steps. Feel free to contact us to discuss your immigration situation and we will assess your case and provide you with options.