Changes to the financial requirements

By | financial requirements, Immigration Rules | No Comments

20 July 2017

A ‘Statement of Changes’ has been published today – early notice that a change to the Immigration Rules is coming.  Usually that means further tightening of the system and more hoops to jump through, and we greet each new Statement of Changes with a sinking heart, but not this time. This time we’re cautiously pleased.

The changes will apply to all decisions made on or after 10 August 2017  on applications as the partner of a settled person, and they give caseworkers more discretion as to what sources of income can be used to show that the financial requirements are met.  Sources of income unacceptable under the current rules, such as support from parents, remortgaging a property and prospective employment of both the applicant and their partner can now be considered.

So why are we just “cautiously pleased”, and not jumping for joy at this seeming easing of the financial requirements?  Because it only applies if it is clear from the application that there are “exception circumstances” which could cause “unjustifiably harsh consequences” if the application is refused.  As there is, of course, no explanation of what would be regarded as an exceptional circumstance, or what qualifies as an unjustifiably harsh consequence, it remains to be seen how much difference it will make to how applications are assessed.  One thing is very clear, though – it is more important than ever before to put forward as full and comprehensive an application as possible, so that the caseworker has as much information as possible about your circumstances.






Government unveils plans for EEA nationals after Brexit

By | EEA | No Comments

26 June 2017

Brexit may mean Brexit, but permanent doesn’t seem to mean permanent.

In proposals about the status of EEA nationals after Brexit that were published today, the government has said that everyone – even those who already have documentation confirming that they have acquired the right of permanent residence in the UK – will have to apply for a new status – either a ‘settled status’ or a ‘temporary status’.

Whether this will remain the government position, or will change during the course of the negotiations, remains to be seen, but it is unlikely that the EEA leaders will agree to the proposals in their current form.


No change in the rules for adult dependants

By | Adult dependent relatives, Immigration Rules | No Comments

05 June 2017

The Court of Appeal last month dismissed a challenge to the rules for adult dependent relatives to join their family in the UK.

The current rules are extremely restrictive – the applicant has to be unable to care for themselves on a day to day basis, and care must be unavailable or unaffordable in the home country before a successful application can be made.

This judgment is very bad news for everyone who was hoping to see a relaxation in the rules, so that they could sponsor their parents.  It is not known at this stage if Britcits, the campaigning group who brought the case, will seek to take the matter to the Supreme Court, but it is to be hoped that they do.


EEA appeals restricted to EEA law

By | Appeals, EEA | No Comments

22 May 2017

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that when an EEA application is refused the appeal can only be about whether or not the decision was correct under EEA law.

Human rights issues cannot be raised at the appeal, unless a separate human rights application has been made under UK law, or if the Home Office issue a ‘section 120 statement’, requiring the applicant to state any other reasons they might have for wanting to stay in the UK.


Huge hike in fees

By | Fees | No Comments

04 April 2017

Home Office fees for visa applications go up every year, generally on 06 April, to coincide with the new tax year.  The fee increase is generally announced some three or four weeks in advance, but this year we have just two days notice of the increase.

In a statement today the Home Office have announced that from 06 April 2017 settlement visa application fees from overseas will go up by £269 (from £1195 to £1464) and applications for leave to remain in the UK will go up by £182, from £811 to £993.  Indefinite leave to remain will fo from £1,875 to £2,295.

All other fees have also increased, but the Immigration Health Surcharge remains unchanged,


Changes to the Immigration Rules

By | Immigration Rules | No Comments

17 March 2017

Changes to the Immigration Rules have just been published – all 269 pages of them!  They come into effect on 06 April 2017.

We haven’t had time to go through them all yet, but most of the changes appear to be to do with Tier 2 and Tier 4.  One important thing to note, however, is that the length of time for which you can stay in the UK after your visa expires is coming down from 90 days to 30 days – after that you will face a mandatory ban on returning (unless your application is based on your relationship with a settled person).


Financial requirements legal, says Supreme Court

By | Immigration Rules | No Comments

22 February 2017

In a disappointing, but unsurprising, determination published this morning the Supreme Court has held that the minimum income requirement to be able to sponsor a partner is legal.

The Supreme Court acknowledged that the requirement to have a minimum annual income of £18,600 before being able to sponsor a partner from overseas (which increases if there are non-British children involved) causes great hardship, particularly to women and ethnic minorities, but held that the government were none the less within their rights to impose this.

The Court did, however, take the view that the way in which the requirement is applied is unlawful, insofar as it fails to protect children who are affected by it, and also because it fails to take account of all the resources a person may have, but limits consideration of funds to the (rather arbitrary) ones set out in the Immigration Rules.

It remains to be seen what the Home Office response will be.

Certification of human rights appeals

By | Appeals, legislation | No Comments

02 December 2016

The Immigration Act 2016 has started to bite.  From yesterday the Home Office have had the power to ‘certify’ a case if the applicant did not have leave to be in the UK, and if the application was not based on a relationship with a British partner, parent or child.

The effect of a case being certified is that there is no right of appeal from within the UK – you can only appeal once you have left the UK.

Appeal fees dropped

By | Appeals, Fees | No Comments

28 November 2016

Finally we have some good news to share!  The 500% increase in appeal fees that came into effect on 10 October 2016 have been dropped with immediate effect, and appeals are once again £80 for a decision on the papers and £140 for an oral hearing.  Fees lodged at the higher rate will be refunded.

Changes to the Immigration Rules and new EEA Regulations

By | EEA, Immigration Rules | No Comments

07 November 2016

This week has seen the announcement of changes to both the Immigration Rules and the EEA Regulations.

Immigration Rules

The most important changes are:

  • The removal of the 28 day ‘grace period’ – at the moment, an application that is submitted up to 28 days after a person’s leave expires isn’t rejected solely because it is late, but from 24 November 2016 this grace period will be removed.  After that date any out of time application will be rejected on that basis alone, unless it is submitted within 14 days of the person’s leave expiring, and is for ‘reasons outside their control’.
  • This has been on the cards for a long time – a second English test, at a slightly higher level (A2 CEFR), will be required for anyone applying for an extension of their leave as a partner or parent of a settled person if their current leave expires on or after 01 May 2017.
  • The minimum salary requirement under Tier 2 is to increase.

EEA Regulations

EEA law in the UK is set out in the Immigration (EEA) Regulations, which have been in force since 2006, and which have been changed a number of times.  These will be replaced, on 01 February 2017, by new regulations – the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016.

While the new regulations are, for the most part, very similar to the old regulations, and merely consolidate them, there are some important changes:

  • EEA applications must be made in a ‘prescribed manner’ – presumably this means that the application forms will now be mandatory
  • The ‘Surinder Singh’ route for the families of British citizens will be more difficult, as the Home Office can refuse applications if the main purpose of the move overseas was to circumvent UK immigration law
  • Only blood relatives of an EEA national will be able to apply as an ‘extended family member’ – until now, it has been the blood relatives of an EEA national or of his or her spouse