UK government recent changes to immigration policy affecting family applications

Share Article says recent changes to UK immigration rules affecting fiancee, partner and marriage visa applications made under settlement category

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A number of changes to the UK settlement visa application process came into effect on 9th July 2012. The changes to the UK immigration Rules apply to individuals from outside the European Economic Area wishing to join their settled partner in the UK on a marriage, fiancee or de facto partner visa. The new threshold amount for sponsoring a foreign partner with no children is £18,600 (the level at which a couple would not receive income related benefits in the UK). If a foreign fiancee, partner or spouse has one dependent that is being sponsored for a settlement visa at the same time as the main applicant this amounts to a total of £22,400 (£24,800 for two children, £27,200 for three et cetera).

It is the view of many UK immigration professionals that the government has made the visa application process needlessly complex. It has been reported that many couples struggle to meet the new minimum income threshold criteria which results in an increased number of UK settlement visa applications being refused on financial grounds. The UK Border Agency officials have been instructed to refuse an incomplete application without reference to the applicant or their sponsor. The documents provided at the time of submission are the only documents that will be considered. In most cases the UK Border Agency will not accept any additional supporting documentation sent later in the process by post, email or fax unless specifically requested by the examining entry clearance officer (ECO) in order to make a final determination of eligibility.

Other changes are equally harsh and many people will fall foul of the new stringency as anyone applying who is unprepared to meet the new guidelines on revised language, the Life in the UK test or other requirements. The two year marriage or relationship rule has now been extended to five years. In some cases this will mean that the UK family immigration process will become so long and costly. If for some reason an applicant fails to fill in forms correctly or cannot meet the new more stringent qualification requirements, the visa application, whether a partner visa, a UK marriage visa or a fiancee visa made under settlement category, will be automatically refused. The UK Border Agency has instructions to follow the new guidelines to the letter and in many cases this will result in a perfectly genuine case with some relevant supporting documents missing being refused on financial or other grounds.

Most people working in the field of immigration administration agreed before 9th July 2012 that there was a very real need for changes to be made to the regulations overseeing visa applications to the UK. However, few expected that these changes would make things much worse for prospective immigrants who were trying to join a family member already settled in the country. The rules have been tightened to such an extent that even a very devoted family will now find it difficult to live together in Britain.

With these changes in mind, it is certainly fair to say that compiling the required paperwork for a UK settlement fiancee, partner or marriage visa application can be very stressful, especially when a foreign applicant and their UK sponsor have no experience dealing with the immigration authorities. With immigration law becoming ever more complicated, decided to stay dedicated to gaining marriage visas in order to deliver the best possible service in this complex field. Professional visa consultants understand the issues faced by couples and families who wish to reunite in the UK, and the challenges of the British immigration system.

For more information, please contact:

Marriage Visa Help
+44 (0)208-144-2544

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