Duncan Lewis


Asylum, Detention/ Fast Track

Managed Migration, Public Law

New Immigration regulations on family visits operational from 9 July 2012

Date: (10 July 2012)    |    

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As announced by the government on 18 June 2012, the Immigration Appeals (Family Visitor) Regulations 2012 has come into force since yesterday (9 July 2012). The regulations set out qualifying criteria for people to have a right to appeal to visit their family in the UK if their visa application has been refused by the authorities.
These regulations change the appeal rights of family visit visa applicants. Application to visit a uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, first cousin, or a relative who have not settled yet, refugee or humanitarian protection status in the UK, is refused visa application, then the person cannot have the full right of appeal. A limited right of appeal will remain on human rights and race discrimination grounds though.
No changes were made to the Rules governing who can qualify for entry to the UK but a visitor and genuine visitors are welcome.
The Crime and Courts Bill, announced on 11 May 2012, will, subject to parliamentary approval, remove the full right of appeal against all family visit visa refusals. It is expected to come into force by 2014.
If any one is already having leave to enter or remain in the UK, on the basis of being the spouse or partner of a settled person, they will need to meet the rules which were in force before 9 July 2012 if applying for settlement.
The changes in the bill include introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.
Publishing of guidelines of a list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships, for the UK Border Agency caseworkers to focus on these issues.
Minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses and partners extended from two years to five years, to test the genuineness of the relationship,
Abolishing of immediate settlement for the migrant spouses and partner where a couple has been living together overseas for at least 4 years, they shall complete a 5 year probationary period,
From October 2013, a pass in the Life in the UK Test becomes mandatory for all applicants with an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless they are exempted, and
Adult and elderly dependants can settle in the UK only if they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK, they can apply from overseas rather than switch in the UK from another category, for example as a visitor.