IMMIGRATION NEWS - UNITED KINGDOM
(as published in our newsletters)
KINGDOM – SPOUSES AND PARTNERS “FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS”
June 2013 - It is now nearly 12 months since comprehensive
changes were introduced by the UK government to the criteria
for spouses and partners of UK citizens and of those settled
in the UK.
These changes introduced on 9 July 2012 affect husbands,
wives, unmarried partners, civil partners and fiancés.
As well as extending the probationary period for settlement
from 2 to 5 years, the new rules introduced stringent new
financial maintenance requirements.
12 months on, and many applicants are struggling to meet the
requirements and many families have been separated as a
result. A recent report by the UK All-Party Parliamentary
Group on Migration condemned the “anguish” caused by the new
However, the new rules seem set to remain in one shape or
another. An immediate reduction in family visas of 16% is
the first indication that these rules will help the
government to meets its target of reducing net migration.
So, how does one meet the financial requirement? Currently,
this can be met through income or savings (or a combination
of the two).
In short – an annual income of GBP 18,600 is needed by the
UK sponsor or total savings of GBP 62,500 (held either by
the UK sponsor or applicant). These amounts are increased if
children are to be included.
But the new rules are incredibly complicated and the
documentary evidence to support an application needs to be
almost perfect – case officers are rejecting applications
without asking for clarification.
Income can be met through employment, self-employment,
pension, investment, property rental.
Savings can be met through “cash funds” held in a bank
account or similar.
The following are some of the main issues that arise;
* What sources of income and savings can be combined
together? For instance employment and pension income can be
combined but self-employment and savings cannot be combined.
* The rules have introduced a new formula for using savings
to top up an income shortfall.
* The rules differ greatly depending on whether the
applicant and / or sponsor are in the UK or outside the UK
* Applicants outside the UK can only rely on the employed
income of the UK sponsor but pension income can be from
* Applicants employed outside the UK must have an offer of
employment in the UK. Self-employed applicants must show an
intention to continue self-employment.
* Only savings held in cash funds can be counted – property
equity, shares and stocks are all irrelevant. Savings must
be held for 6 months.
* The specified evidence for self-employment and employment
is very difficult to meet and many applicants (especially
outside the UK) struggle to satisfy the requirements.
We are seeing many applicants coming to us who have been
refused and are trying to submit an appeal. The reality is
that an appeal is difficult unless you can show that the
case officer made a basic error (which does happen of
It really is vital to prepare an application thoroughly and
well in advance. We advise applicants to contact us early in
their plans to move to the UK.
These new rules are complex and applications need to fit in
exactly with one of the permitted categories for financial
maintenance. The new approach is very different from the
previous more flexible system that was in place before July
If you need assistance on any aspect of UK migration, then
please feel free to contact us through our website
KINGDOM – AUTOMATIC SETTLEMENT LINK TO BE SCRAPPED
September 2012 - The UK government have introduced
new EEA Regulations – which govern the rights of EEA
nationals and their families to enter and live in the UK.
Accordingly, new application forms with additional sections
have been introduced as well.
The new Regulations set out some detailed changes following
some important cases in the European Court of Justice.
There are new rights of residence established for certain
categories (such as carers and children).
However, a major restriction seems to be introduced for
those who are dual nationals - an EEA citizen and also a UK
The UK Border Agency are maintaining that EEA rights are not
applicable to an EEA national who has never exercised his
right of free movement, who has always resided in a Member
State of which he is a national and who is also a national
of another Member State. We remain to see exactly how this
will be enforced but it could impact on many applicants.
Do you need assistance with an EEA application ?
If so, please complete this quick registration form on our
Our free Online Assessment Form
This should give us all the information we need to give you
the correct advice. We can then review in full and get back
Focus on UK Citizenship / Naturalisation
We have many years experience in assisting migrants to
obtain UK Citizenship, also known as Naturalisation.
There are several different routes to obtaining citizenship,
however the normal route is through residence in the UK. In
most cases, applicants should already have obtained UK
permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain (ILR). The
normal qualifying period to obtain ILR is 5 years. However
if one is married to a UK citizen, then the qualifying
period has been 2 years (this has now been changed for
For those who have obtained ILR through 5 years residence,
they are then required to live in the UK for a further 1
year before being eligible to apply for UK citizenship.
Those married to UK citizens can apply for citizenship
straightaway after securing ILR, without waiting for a
further 1 year. However such applicants do need to have been
in the UK for 3 years in total before applying.
EEA applicants for UK citizenship
Citizens of EEA Member States and their family members
follow a different path to UK citizenship. Such applicants
do not apply for ILR in the UK.
Instead, they can apply for UK permanent residence through
EEA law. This, however, is not 100 % mandatory but it can
help a citizenship application.
Either way, EEA applicants and their family members need to
be living in the UK for 6 years in total. The first 5 years
are to be granted permanent residence or to be deemed
eligible for permanent residence. Then, the remaining 1 year
is required between permanent residence and UK citizenship.
Many EEA applicants have difficulty in proving their UK
residence. As visas are not required for such applicants, a
large amount of documentation needs to be provided to fully
demonstrate the applicant’s residence in the UK.
For each qualifying year, the applicant needs to demonstrate
residence in the UK while exercising EU Treaty Rights.
Absences from the UK in the qualifying period
The main residence requirement for citizenship is that the
applicant has been living in the UK throughout the
qualifying period. All absences from the UK need to be
declared in the application. The UK Border Agency will of
course disregard short absences for annual leave every year
or for business trips.
However, to be sure of satisfying the residence requirements
for citizenship, you should not have been absent for more
than 90 days in the last 12 months. Additionally the total
number of day’s absence for the whole 5 year period should
not exceed 450.
If you are married to or in a civil partnership with a UK
citizen the total number of day’s absence for the whole 3
year period should not exceed 270.
There is discretion to disregard absences in excess of the
limits however such decisions need to be taken by a senior
The official guidance issued to UK Border Agency case
officers clearly states;
“The main purposes of the residence requirements are to
allow an applicant to demonstrate close links with, and
commitment to, the United Kingdom, and to enable the Home
Secretary to assess the strength of that commitment and the
applicant's suitability on other grounds (e.g. character).”
The guidance also states that on reviewing absences the
discretion should be considered;
“only when we are satisfied that applicants have genuinely
thrown in their lot with the United Kingdom and meet the
Applicants should obtain specialist advice if applying
though such discretion on excess absences. A careful
presentation on absences and mitigating circumstances would
need to be made.
In December 2007, the government announced tougher rules
relating to any criminal convictions when applying for UK
In short, if an applicant has any “unspent convictions” when
applying for citizenship the application will normally be
refused. Most convictions become “spent” after a set period
of time passes. This has proved a major hindrance for many
applicants who may only have been convicted of a minor
Please contact us, in strictest confidence, if you wish to
see if a criminal conviction is seen as “unspent” and when
it can be “spent”.
Also, the UK Border Agency may conduct checks into an
applicant’s financial background to see that they pay tax
and National Insurance.
All civil proceedings resulting in a court order or any
bankruptcy proceedings also need to be declared.
Life in the UK Test
Unless exempt through age or disability, applicants need to
sit the Life in the UK Test before applying for UK
citizenship. This is available at centres throughout the UK
and is designed to test applicants’ knowledge of UK society,
history, politics and government.
The test is not seen as particularly onerous – however
applicants should take some time to prepare and read the
recommended text book on “Life in the UK”.
Recent legislative change on those born abroad to British
New citizenship rules were introduced in January 2010 to
applicants who were born abroad to British born mothers.
These changes, introduced through the Borders, Citizenship
and Immigration Act 2009, mainly affect those born outside
the UK to British mothers before 1961. Such individuals can
now apply for registration as “British citizens by descent”.
This redresses the anomaly in the system which allowed those
born to British born fathers to apply for citizenship but
not those born to British born mothers.
These applications can take some time to be processed.
Although applied for in the UK, applicants in this category
do not have to be resident in the UK or travel to the UK.
The UK government does not require you to give up your
present citizenship or nationality to become a UK citizen.
Under UK law, you are permitted to retain dual nationality
and carry a UK passport and the passport of another country.
However, many countries will not let you have dual
nationality. If you become a UK citizen and you are also a
citizen of a country which does not allow dual nationality,
the government of that country may either regard you as
having lost that nationality or may refuse to recognise your
This is something that many applicants are unaware of and do
not check this beforehand. If you are in any doubt before
you apply for UK citizenship you should check the position
with your country’s Embassy.
There are many different routes for children to apply for
registration as UK citizens. This is separate to the usual
residence requirements for adults.
Children may be eligible to apply for registration in the
· Children born to a parent who has obtained ILR or
· Children born abroad to parents who are British by descent
and who are now living in the United Kingdom
· Children born before 1 July 2006 whose father is a British
citizen but not married to their mother
· Children adopted abroad by parents who are British
· where it is considered to be in the child's best interests
to be granted British citizenship
Please contact us if you have a child who you wish to be
assessed for UK citizenship. The rules relating to children
are complex and have been subject to many changes. Different
criteria often apply depending on the child’s date of birth
and the relevant legislation in force at that time.
Approval of UK Citizenship
Successful applicants for UK citizenship receive a
Certificate of Citizenship which then allows them to apply
for a UK passport. Citizenship can only be removed in
exceptional circumstances where fraud is uncovered in an
Of course one of the main benefits to UK citizenship is that
the holder is able to live and work freely throughout Europe
in accordance with EEA regulations.
Our UK citizenship service
We have many years experience in securing UK citizenship for
our clients. The process can be complicated and is not
granted easily by the UK government – it does, after all,
allow you to “become British” and receive the full
protection rights and privileges of a UK passport.
We can handle the whole application from start to finish.
The service includes everything from pre-application advice,
document review, completing forms, covering letter, drafting
your personal statement, submission to the authorities and
bringing to a successful conclusion. This continues
throughout the whole process until your citizenship is
You will only deal with one dedicated immigration adviser to
provide you with a focused one to one service.
Our success rate is second to none and we can provide
numerous verifiable references from satisfied clients for
you to review and inspect.
If you need assistance on any aspect of UK settlement, then
please feel free to contact us.