Family migration changes announced

The government has today announced sweeping changes to family immigration rules which will come into force on 9th July, 2012:-

  1. There will be a minimum earnings requirement of £18,600 in order to sponsor spouses, fiancées, partners and civil partners for settlement in the UK.  If a child is also sponsored the minimum earnings requirement will be £22,400 and £2,400 for each further child.
  2. The probationary period for spouses and partners will be extended from two years to five years.
  3. A five-year probationary period for settlement for partners of Points based System Migrants (as opposed to the current two-year period)
  4. Immediate settlement for spouses who have lived with the UK national overseas for four years will be abolished.
  5. All applicants for settlement will be required to pass the Life in the UK Test and an approved English language test to level B1 CEFR standard (unless exempt)
  6. Adult and elderly dependent relatives will be additionally required to show they require long-term personal care from the relative in the UK and they must apply from overseas
  7. The definition of family visitor will be restricted to close family members and the right of appeal against refusal of family visit applications will be removed entirely in 2013
  8. New, detailed guidance to UKBA caseworkers will be published to help them determine genuine from non-genuine relationships
  9. The 14-year Unlawful Residence Rule will be withdrawn and replaced by a new Rule generally requiring 20 years’ continuous residence before a claim to a right to stay in the UK on an Article 8 human rights basis can be established (the 10-year Lawful Residence Rule will remain).  Leave to remain would be granted for 30 months only with indefinite leave available only after ten years of this limited leave, i.e. an applicant would need to apply 4 times for an extension of stay before receiving ILR.  This new rule will apply to those already in the UK who have not applied before 9th July, 2012.  New provisions will also be introduced to enable a grant of leave to remain on an Article 8 basis in respect of: minors who have seven year’s continuous residence in the UK; those aged 18-24 who have spent more than half their life in the UK; those who have less than 20 years’ residence but have no remaining ties with their country of origin.
  10. New Immigration Rules providing routes to settlement on the basis of Article 8 rights (5 and 10-year qualifying periods, depending on the circumstances)
  11. New criteria within the Immigration Rules on how criminality will affect applications for leave to remain on an Article 8 basis
  12. New criteria within the Immigration Rules in respect of the effect of family and private life circumstances on decisions taken to deport criminals
  13. Applications for further leave to remain from family members will be refused if they have overstayed by more than 28 days (discretion can be exercised in exceptional cases).  Currently there is no basis for refusing an application for leave to remain simply for being out of time.  As from 1st October 2012 this blanket refusal of applications made out of time by more than 28 days will apply to all immigration categories
  14. A relaxed re-entry ban will apply where an applicant has previously overstayed by more than 90 days, as opposed to the current 28 days (from 1st October 2012)
  15. Where an application is made in time and is rejected as invalid the 28 days will start from when the application was rejected as opposed to when leave expired (from 1st October 2012)
  16. South Korea will be added to the Youth Mobility Scheme

Posted on Jun 10, 2012.

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