Changes to Family Migration Route to Take Effect in July

On Monday the 11th of June 2012, the Government announced changes to the Immigration Rules for non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to either enter or remain in the UK on the family migration route.

These changes are part of the Government’s programme of reform and many will apply to new applicants as soon as the 9th of July.

The changes that will be introduced include:

  • a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 when sponsoring a spouse or partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality who wants to settle in the UK;
  • a new minimum threshold for any children sponsored – £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each additional child;
  • the abolishment of immediate settlement for migrant spouses and partners, where a couple have been living together overseas for at least four years;
  • a restriction on family visit visa appeals, first by narrowing the definitions of family and sponsor for appeal purposes, and then, subject to the Crime and Courts Bill being passed, the removal of the right of appeal against refusal of a family visit visa;
  • the extension of the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses and partners from two to five years, to “test the genuineness of the relationship”;
  • a focus on genuine vs. non-genuine relationships by for instance publishing a list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships, which will help UK Border Agency caseworkers identify bogus relationships;
  • making it a requirement, from October 2013, that all applicants for settlement in the UK pass the ‘Life in the UK’ Test;
  • making it a requirement that all applicants for settlement in the UK present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (unless exempt);
  • allowing adult and elderly dependants to settle in the UK only where they can demonstrate that they need the type of care (due to age, disability or frailty) that can only be provided by a relative in the UK;
  • making it a requirement that adult or elderly dependants apply for settlement from overseas rather than switch in the UK from another category.

These are just some of the latest measures introduced by the Government to curb immigration figures. For more information or for advice regarding UK visas, visit www.1stcontactvisas.com or call 0808 141 1664 to speak to a qualified and friendly visa consultant.