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Summary of key changes to family migration Immigration Rules on 9 July 2012

The UK Border Agency has recently announced a series of changes to the Immigration Rules concerning UK immigration applications made by family members. Most of these changes will come into force on 9 July 2012.

If you make your application before 9 July, then it will be decided according to the more generous Rules that are currently in force. If you apply on or after 9 July then you will have to meet the new requirements, which are more demanding. We therefore advise you to make your application now if you are able to do so.

Here is a summary of the main changes that are being introduced:

Spouses and partners

• Spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners and same sex partners of people who are British or settled in the UK will now have to complete 5 years of limited leave to remain in this category before they are eligible for indefinite leave to remain. The 5 years will be made up of 2 periods of 2 and a half years each. (If you are already in one of these categories, are here as a fiance(e) or proposed civil partner or have made an application, before 9 July 2012, you will only have to spend 2 years as a spouse or partner before getting indefinite leave to remain);
• From October 2013, spouses and partners applying for indefinite leave to remain will need to pass both the Life in the UK Test and an English test at level B1;
• Spouses or partners who have been married to or living with the British or settled person outside the UK for 4 years will no longer be able to get indefinite leave to enter or remain immediately. They will need to wait for 5 years;
• There must be at least £18,600 per year available to the couple. This can be made up of savings, pension or gross income from employment/self-employment;
• If the spouse or partner is not already in the UK with an entitlement to work at the date of the application, they will not be able to rely on their own predicted income from employment in the UK;
• If the couple are relying on income from employment, then they need to have had the job for at least six months before the date of application;
• The couple can only rely on savings if they have at least £16,000 and have held this for at least six months;
• It will not be possible to rely on offers of financial support from family and/or friends;
• If the Sponsor receives Disability Living Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Attendance Allowance or Carers Allowance, the financial requirement does not have to be met;
• There is a new list of factors that the UKBA will take into account when assessing whether a  relationship is genuine.


• Children who are eligible for indefinite leave to enter will continue to have to meet the current requirements of the Immigration Rules;
• Children who are being granted limited leave only (because only one parent is settled in the UK and they are applying with the other parent) will have to  show that there is an extra £3,800 per year for the first child and £2,400 per year for each additional child.

Adult dependant relatives

• The only dependant relatives over 18 who can apply will be parents, grandparents, children and siblings;
• The dependant relative will have to show that because of age, illness or disability they require long term personal care;
• The required care must be unavailable in the relative's home country even with the UK sponsor's financial assistance, because it is not affordable or there is no one to provide it;
• It will not be possible to apply under this category from inside the UK.

Spouses and partners of PBS Migrants

• The spouse or partner will have to have been living in the UK with the PBS Migrant for at least 5 years before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Human Rights and Discretionary Leave to Remain

• People granted leave to remain on human rights grounds will not have recourse to public funds;
• Limited leave to remain on human rights grounds will be granted for 2 and a half years at once;
• A person will have to complete 10 years of human rights based leave before they are eligible for indefinite leave to remain;
• Leave to remain based on private life in the UK will usually only be granted after a person has lived in the UK for 20 years' residence (for adults), 7 years (for children), more than half their life (if they are aged 18 to 25). It may be granted earlier if the person has no ties with their home country;
• The Immigration Rules will set out what the UKBA believes to be the 'public interest' in Article 8 claims based on private and/or family life in the UK. Please note that this may well contradict human rights law and the courts may not enforce the UKBA's interpretation of Article 8 it on appeal or judicial review.
• The '14 year rule', whereby people can get indefinite leave to remain after living in the UK for 14 years, will be abolished.

For more advice and assistance on how these changes to the law will affect your case, please contact Richmond Canter Immigration Barristers.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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