October 2012 – Important Immigration Changes
For those of you who have been on our ‘Persons from Abroad’ training in the last 18 months or so, there have been some significant changes you need to be aware of.
Firstly, From 9 July 2012 new rules have been introduced to set minimum financial requirements on those sponsoring people from abroad for the purposes of settlement – unless they are exempt from this requirement. The new rules are:
The sponsor must have an income of at least £18,600 if they are sponsoring an adult dependent, fiance or partner
If they are sponsoring a child as well as a partner you will need an income of at least £22,400
For each additional child being sponsored they will need an additional income of £2,400
Applicants will be exempt from the new financial requirement if their sponsor receives a specified disability-related benefit or carer's allowance in the UK. They will still need to show that the sponsor can maintain and accommodate without access to public funds.
Secondly, from 1 April 2012 domestic violence victims who came to the United Kingdom (UK) or were granted leave to stay in the UK as the spouse or partner of a British Citizen or someone settled in the UK will be granted a Destitute Domestic Violence (DDV) concession from the UK Border Agency (UKBA).
The concession will last for three months, while the UKBA considers the person’s claim to stay permanently under the Domestic Violence Immigration Rule. During this time the person will be able to seek access to emergency refuge accommodation and claim financial help through income-related benefits, including HB and CTB.
Individuals who have been granted limited leave under the DDV concession will be exempt from both stages of the Habitual Residency Test (HRT) but will need to confirm their status by providing as evidence the UKBA granting them limited leave to remain
Thirdly, from the 9 July 2012 adult dependent relatives can only apply to join a settled person in the UK if:
They need long-term personal care to perform every day tasks, such as washing and cooking and
The care they need is not available in the country where they are living, either because it is not available and there is no person in the country where they are living who can reasonably provide it or it is not affordable
Their sponsor can show that he or she is able to provide adequate maintenance, accommodation and care for the applicant without having to rely on public funds
The sponsor will need to sign a sponsorship undertaking form to confirm that they will be responsible for the applicant’s care without relying on public funds for a period of at least 5 years.
From 1 April 2003 the immigration rules have made provision for people to be granted indefinite leave to remain under the long residence rules if either:
They have had at least ten years continuous lawful residence in the UK OR
If they cannot meet the above requirement satisfy a new test needing them to have twenty year’s residence (7 for children) or have spent half their lives devoted in the UK or have no ties to the country they would be returned to
Finally from October 2013 all applicants for settlement will be required 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.
Any further important changes will be posted as and when necessary.