Friday, 17 October 2014 07:42

Bereaved partner

The loss of a loved one can be traumatic enough without having to consider what effect it will have on your future in the UK. Fortunately, the UK immigration rules make allowance for dependants in such unfortunate circumstances.

The spouse/civil partner or unmarried partner of a person present and settled in the UK, who has died, will be qualify to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) provided the following criteria are inter alia met:

  • The applicant must be in the UK;
  • The applicant's last grant of limited leave must have been as a partner of a British citizen, or a person settled in the UK.
  • At the time of the partner's death the relationship between the two parties must have been genuine and subsisting and each of the parties must have intended to live together permanently in the UK.

There are thus no requirements for the Life in the UK test or the English Language test. There are also no qualifying periods, and the bereaved partner can apply as soon as the partner has passed away.

Unfortunately, persons with limited leave a fiancé or proposed civil partner, will not qualify to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a bereaved partner, and will have to seek alternative routes to continue their stay in the UK.

If you need any further information, or would like to obtain information in your unique circumstances, please contact our offices.

Published in Immigration News

On Friday 11 July 2014, the Court of Appeal finally released the determination in the case of MM v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWCA Civ 985.
Unfortunately the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous determination, allowed the Secretary of States appeal and held that the Immigration Rules concerning the financial requirements for spouse visas were lawful.

Following advice from the Migrant Advisory Committee, an independent body, the government on 9 July 2012 introduced a minimum income requirement at £18,600 for sponsoring a spouse partner, rising to £22,400 for also sponsoring a child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.

The Court of Appeal held that the requirements had as their legitimate aim the reduction of the expense on the public purse and an enhanced prospect of integration within British society. Therefore, although it was common ground that the financial requirements were an interference with human rights, the Court held that the interference was a proportionate one, given the legitimate aims, and that the figures required were rationally connected to those aims.

The Court further held that the prohibition on inter alia third party support and reliance on the spouse or partner's potential earnings were rational and connected.

There was an obvious reluctance by the Court to interfere with and substitute its own view what it perceived to be well-researched and thought out provisions.

Members of the Migrant Advisory Committee, who were tasked by the Government to determine what income level a family would need to have no recourse to public funds and upon which the figures are based, have stated that their brief was unconnected to the setting of a minimum income threshold.

The Home Office have now stated that from 28July 2014, the 4,000 applications currently on hold pending the determination of this appeal will now receive a decision (be refused).

Permission to appeal to the Supreme Court will be sought but there will be another long wait of many months for all those affected by the decision.

For families desperate to an alternative solution, there is the so-called 'Surinder Singh' route. For more information on this please contact a BIC consultant for more information.

 

Published in Immigration News

Judgment on the long-awaited UK Family Migration appeal has been handed down today

Unfortunately, for thousands of families whose lives have been put on hold with the introduction of the minimum income rules in July 2012, the Court of Appeal has upheld the government's appeal.

A UK Home Office spokesperson said in response to the judgment, that persons whose applications were put on hold will receive a decision from 28 July 2014. He further said that cases where all the requirements were met, apart from the minimum income threshold, will now stand to be refused.

It is understood that an appeal to the Supreme Court will be attempted, but this will of course take months before there will be an outcome.

Published in Immigration News

Since the introduction of the new UK family migration rules in July 2012, thousands of families have been torn and kept apart, as they do not qualify under the new minimum income threshold requirement.

Currently, everyone is holding their breath in anticipation of the judgement on the appeal, lodged by the UK Home Office. The appeal was heard in March 2014, and judgement is being awaited. In the meantime, all family migration applications that do not fulfil the minimum income threshold requirement is being 'put on hold' by the UK Home Office.

Whatever the outcome of judgement, it will unfortunately not stop the UK Home Office from amending the rules again.

However, there is an alternative route for families currently residing in another EU member state. This route is called the Surinder Singh route named after the case law that established this precedent - R v Immigration Appeal Tribunal and Surinder Sing ex parte Secretary of State for the Home Department.

In short, the Surinder Singh route entails that the EU partner must exercise his/her EU treaty rights(by working, being self employed, self sufficient or a student for example) and live anywhere in the European Economic Area with his/her non-EU partner for a period of at least three months. After exercising this EEA citizenship right, the family can gain access to the UK, as they are then covered by European law.

There would thus be no need to apply under the UK family migration rules, and the family will only need to apply for the EEA family permit, which does not require a minimum income threshold.

It is important to note that there are important requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to qualify under this Surinder Singh route. There has also since been new case law on the issue. BIC therefore strongly advise any family thinking of taking the Surinder Singh route, to first seek immigration advice from an expert.

Contact BIC today for a consultation on the Surinder Singh route.

 

 

Published in Immigration News
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 10:08

UK Family Migration Rules

The interest on the outcome of the judgement on the UK family migration rules seems to be ever increasing. This is no small wonder in the light of the fact that it is estimated that in excess of
4,500 families lives' are currently placed on 'hold' by the UK Home Office, not counting the thousands of families who decided not to apply, as they do not meet the minimum income criteria.

Background

In July 2012 the UK Home Office introduced new rules that require a minimum income threshold of £18,600 in order to sponsor the settlement of the spouse, partner, fiancé or proposed civil partner in the UK, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored: £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.

The new rules caused a public outcry and have obviously had a huge impact as the financial requirement is simply out of reach for many applicants.

The issue was taken to court, and in July 2013, the UK High Court found the controversial UK immigration rules requiring the minimum income as 'unjustified and disproportionate' where the sponsor is a refugee or a British citizen. Following this judgement the UK Home Office announced that it will place all decisions that do not meet the minimum income threshold criteria on hold, until further notice. This pause in considerations is still continuing today.

The UK Home Office furthermore filed an appeal against the July 2013 judgement. The appeal was heard in the Court of Appeal in the beginning of March 2014, and judgment on the appeal is currently awaited.

Whatever the outcome of the challenge, things could possibly change again soon, as legislation is expected that will set out the Government's definition of the balance to be struck between the financial requirements for spouse and visa applications and the public interest.

Implication for Family Migration applicants

In order to clarify the current situation regarding family migration applications, BIC would like to point out the following;

  • The new rules only apply to applications made on or after 9 July 2012.
  • It is still possible to apply for a spouse/partner or child application under the UK family migration rules, but if you do not meet the minimum income threshold, the UK Home Office will 'pause'
  • consideration of your application until further notice.
  • If you do meet the minimum income threshold requirement, your application will be considered as usual, and should you fulfil all the other requirements, you should be successful in your application.
  • Applications that will be refused based on the other requirements not being met, such as the English language requirement, and that the relationship must be genuine and subsisting, will be continued to be processed and decided as normal.
  • If your application has been 'paused' and you withdraw your application, you will receive your passport back, but will lose your application fee.

Is there an alternative?

For families desperate to an alternative solution, there is the so-called 'Surinder Singh' route. For more information on this please contact a BIC consultant for more information.

BIC will inform its clients via its social media pages and newsletter of any developments on the issue. For more assistance with your unique case, please contact our offices at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Published in Immigration News

In 2013 many applicants for the spouse/partner visas felt relief after the UK High Court found the controversial UK immigration rules requiring a minimum income of at least £18,600 for spouse/partner visa applications, as 'unjustified and disproportionate' where the sponsor is a refugee or a British citizen.

The UK Home Office has however filed an appeal against the judgement made on the 26th of July. This appeal was heard in the Court of Appeal in the beginning of March 2014.

Judgement on this case is now being awaited and BIC is hoping to have more news on this by May 2014.

Tragically, whilst the case is being fought in the UK courts, 3,014 families' lives have been put on hold. This is the number of settlement applications form non-EEA partners on hold pending the results of the judicial review, from July to December 2013.

It is estimated by some authors that the number has since increased by about another 1,500 families, to a shocking 4,500 families.

For families desperate to an alternative solution, there is the so-called 'Surinder Singh' route. For more information on this please contact a BIC consultant for more information.

Published in Immigration News
Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:41

4,500 Families' lives put on hold

Whilst the case of the spouse minimum income threshold is being fought in the UK courts, 3,014 families' lives have been put on hold.

This is the number of settlement applications form non-EEA partners on hold pending the results of the judicial review, from July to December 2013.

It is estimated by some authors that the number has since increased by about another 1,500 families, to a shocking 4,500 families!

Published in Immigration News

In 2013 many applicants for the spouse/partner visas felt relief after the UK High Court found the controversial UK immigration rules requiring a minimum income of at least £18,600 for spouse/partner visa applications, as 'unjustified and disproportionate' where the sponsor is a refugee or a British citizen.

The UK Home Office has however filed an appeal against the judgement made on the 26th of July. This appeal is now being heard in the Court of Appeal between 3 and 5 March 2014.

We should have more information on this towards the end of March 2014. BIC will keep clients updated on the issue via our Facebook page and website.

Alternatively, please contact a BIC consultant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Immigration News

 

The UK Home Office has published new service standards for applications made in the UK since 1 January 2014.

The UK Home Office said that more complex applications will not necessarily be made within the published time frames, but that they will write to clients to explain what happens next.

Applications received before 1 January 2014 will remain subject to the service standards in force at the time.

Processing times published by the UK Home Office for applications made within the UK

  • Applying to remain in the UK on a temporary basis as spouse, workers, Tier 1 General and entrepreneurs, students and 8 weeks (10 days priority postal and same day premium)
  • Employers applying in the UK to update and maintain 18 weeks
  • Customers applying in the UK to remain permanently (or naturalise as British) and applicants from Turkey and Croatia to live, study or work – 6 months.

Please contact your BIC consultant for more information.

Published in Immigration News

Earlier this year, many applicants for the spouse/partner visas felt relief after the UK High Court found the controversial UK immigration rules requiring a minimum income of at least
£18,600 for spouse/partner visa applications, as 'unjustified and disproportionate' where the sponsor is a refugee or a British citizen.

The UK Home Office has however filed an appeal against the judgement made on the 26th of July. This appeal has now been listed for March 2014 in the Court of Appeal.

Whatever the outcome of the challenge, things could possibly change again soon, as the new Immigration Bill currently going through Parliament will at some point in 2014
set out the Government's definition of the balance to be struck between the financial requirements for spouse and visa applications and the public interest.

BIC will keep clients updated on the issue.

In the meantime, please follow this link for FAQ on the matter - http://www.bic-immigration.com/immigration-news/item/153-faq-on-the-family-migration-judgement

Alternatively, please contact a BIC consultant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Immigration News
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