Effect of the New Family Migrant Rules

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
26 July 2013

Danielle Cohen Solicitors can see at first hand the pain of not being able to care for a dying relative or being separated from a partner or child is causing individuals. These feelings are familiar and comprehensive and we can empathise and imagine ourselves in the shoes of those affected. This hardship is caused to people by the changes of July 2012 to the Rules of family migration.

In summary the effect of the Rules are:

  1. That adult dependent relatives in effect are not permitted to come to the UK.  Families are being prevented from caring for the elderly, ill or infirm and there is interference with the family and private life.
  2. Minimum income.  Families are being separated in circumstances where the sponsor is required to work in the UK for at least six months before the application can be made and are also separating families with lower incomes.  The Rules are arbitrary, prescriptive requirements, at odds with state policy intentions and are  complex for applicants, Home Office and ourselves to comply with.
  3. The retired person of independent means category in the Rules was closed in 2008 so there is no route for elderly relatives to come to the UK under their own steam, unless they have the £1m required under the investor route.

Under the Rules in force before July 2012, parents or grand parents aged 65 or over could apply to come to the UK as adult dependent relatives if they were wholly or mainly financially dependent on the UK based family members, did not have other close relatives in the country who could support them, and could be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds and housed in accommodation owned or occupied by the UK based sponsor. Other adult relatives, such as parents and grandparents under 65, children, siblings, uncles and aunts could apply but in addition to meeting the criteria applying to parents, they had to demonstrate exceptional and compassionate circumstances. Since July 2012, all relatives including parents must show the need for long-term personal care to perform every day tasks and that even with the sponsor’s practical and financial help they cannot get it where they now live because either it is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it or it is not affordable.  The current application of the Rules requires such a state of dependency that many elderly relatives would be unable to travel by the time they meet them.  There must be no reliance on public funds in providing adequate support for the relatives in the UK for at least five years.

It will be recognised that it is very likely that those who meet the requirements of the rules will be dead within that period.

The rules imply that paying a person who may be a stranger to look after a dying relative far away can be equated with caring for that relative one’s self.  It means that the better able someone is to pay for such care, the less able they are to satisfy the rules.