Area of Law:
One of the most controversial subjects in current immigration law, the process of bringing a partner into the UK contains many hurdles. Partners of a British citizen or settled person can cover everything from spouses to civil partners and unmarried partners, with shared eligibility criteria including language skills, proof of accommodation, and evidence of there being enough maintenance funds and income to support living without benefits. The Home Office revised its rules for bringing a partner into the UK in 2012, making it important to check with companies, before making an application.
To qualify as a partner to a UK citizen or settled person that has indefinite leave to remain, partners must be aged over 18, not related to their spouse, and able to demonstrate a decent proficiency in the English language. If engaged, couples are generally expected to get married within 6 months of a partner arriving in the UK. However, unmarried couples are not obligated to do so unless they apply as a fiance or fiancee.
The most contentious part of the Home Office’s 2012 reforms of the immigration system related to the maintenance funds you need for a partner to enter the UK. The income threshold for bringing a partner to the UK is currently £18,600, which rises by £2,400 for every child that’s brought into the country. Savings of £16,000 and above can mitigate income, as can pension schemes and property ownership. Exemptions from the income threshold are available through disability related allowances.
Leave to Remain
In general, a partner applying to enter the country has an initial 33 month probationary period, after which they have to re-apply for another 30 months. After five years, indefinite leave to remain can be applied for, which can involve meeting certain criteria like passing a Life in the UK test, and showing evidence of having lived with a partner without leaving the country for an extended period of time.
To show proof of a partnership, couples will typically require legal documents like a marriage certificate, as well as evidence of income and employment through P60 wage slips, contracts, and written letters from employers. Self employed partners will require tax documents and accounts. For bringing over children, anyone aged below 18 will be counted as a dependent as part of an application process, while children aged over 18 will be treated as individual migrants, with rare exceptions.
Refusals and Appeals
The hurdles to bringing a partner over to the UK can be significant, and refusals can be made if the UK Border Agency thinks that a partner represents a threat to public interest; this might be the case if they have unspent convictions, debt owed to the NHS, or evidence of violent and anti-social behaviour. In all these cases, it’s best to get specialist advice from an immigration solicitor to work out what the best actions are to take for getting problems resolved.
Rosette has experience with immigration law in the UK. She recommends using RLegal, Specialist Immigration Solicitors for your case.She also blogs about taxes and inheritance law.