Section EX

Section EX. Exceptions to certain eligibility requirements for leave to remain as a partner or parent.

For those applicants already in the UK who wish to make a family-based further leave to remain application but do not meet the requirements, they may still apply and have their application considered under Paragraph EX.1. Being granted leave in this way does entail a ‘cost’ albeit one that must be considered in relation to the alternative prospect of living outside of the rules and within a hostile environment.
Parents or partners under this paragraph are still asked to meet the suitability, relationship and part of immigration requirements i.e. it is possible to apply and have your application considered favourably, if you are an over-stayer or an illegal entrant; they will however, not have to meet the financial or language requirements. Those granted leave under EX.1. instead of being granted a further 30 months of leave en route to settlement after 5 years, will be given 30 months on a 10 year route. Any applicant granted leave in this way may be able to switch back in to the five year route later, but given that no leave granted under EX.1. can be used to meet the five year requirement it is important to consider carefully if doing this has any significant benefit.
EX.1. applies if the applicant is able to prove that they have a ‘genuine and subsisting parental relationship’, one that would be capable of engaging Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, with a child who is a either a British citizen or who has lived for at least 7 years immediately preceding the application. Additionally, taking into account the child’s best interests as a primary consideration, it would not be ‘reasonable’ to expect the child to leave the UK.
The term ‘parent’ incorporates those who may have parental responsibility for the child but are not in possession of any legally recognised documentation or birth certificate. Therefore, it is recognised that someone who cares for and makes the important decisions with regard to a child’s upbringing may be that child’s ‘parent’, even if they do not have the corroborative backing of biological facts or legal pronouncements.
The phrase ‘reasonable for child to leave UK’ incorporates the belief that normally, the best interests involve the child remaining with whole family. So, if the child is not expected to leave it may be unlikely that the parent(s) would be and vice versa. Conversely, where the parents were to both be expected to leave the UK, it would not be unreasonable to expect the child to leave as well, unless proven otherwise.
With regard to partners – it is stated that the applicant must be in a ‘genuine and subsisting relationship’, in the UK, with a British Citizen, a settled person or a person with refugee leave or humanitarian protection. Furthermore, there needs to be ‘insurmountable obstacles’ to family life with that partner continuing outside the UK, or would entail ‘very serious hardship’ for the applicant or their partner.
‘Insurmountable obstacles’ could be where neither party were able to enter the third country in question; ‘very serious hardship’ would cover, non-exhaustively, cultural or religious persecution based upon personal beliefs and lifestyle or serious threat of endangerment due to a general lack of security and/or governance within that country; the onus, as is usually the case, is placed upon the applicant.
It may be noted from the above that through the use of language i.e. ‘insurmountable’ as opposed to ‘reasonable’, that the margin of appreciation afforded by courts is significantly narrower for partners than it is for children.

Fiancé Visit or a Marriage Settlement Visa?

However, although that essentially surmises a fiancé visit visa and its limitations, a marriage settlement is two-part visa. As soon as the applicant and sponsor are married, rather than the applicant having to return to the country of their origin to make a subsequent entry clearance application as a spouse, they are instead permitted to make an in-country application. If, granted the applicant is then permitted to work straightway should they wish and although they would continue to have no recourse to public funds i.e. state benefits, they would have access to the National Health Service due to the fact that they would have been required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) when they applied, currently £400 p.a. This leave then allows those who are successful to remain in the UK for a further 30 months after which they may apply again for further leave of another 30 months; once 60 months of lawfully permitted leave within a settlement category has been accumulated, this enables the applicant to apply of Indefinite Leave to Remain or what is also referred to as ‘settlement’.

These family-based visa routes are at once similar and very different. They are both issued by The Home Office for the purpose of becoming lawfully married to a person present and settled here in the UK. By making one of these applications, and if granted, both result in a vignette within your passport, permitting entry clearance for not more than six months, in order that you may be married within that time. In both cases these, as they are for less than six months, are essentially visit visas and therefore carry with them the restrictions imposed upon most visitors – you will not be entitled to undertake paid or unpaid work; you will only be entitled to study for a period not exceeding 30 days as long as it is not the main reason for your visit (the study entails either a recreational course or a short-course, which includes English Language training, at an accredited institution).

Of course, in return for a settlement visa there is a price that has to be paid, both in terms of the initial outlay of Home Office fees as well as the meeting of much more extensive and exacting suitability and eligibility requirements for Entry Clearance. As the nature of immigration applications entails that the Home Office places the burden of proof firmly upon the applicant and their sponsor, it is their responsibility alone, unless shared with an approved and engaged legal representative, to convince the ECO (Entry Clearance Officer) that as well as meeting the financial requirement, they are in a genuine and subsisting relationship and are not trying to circumvent the rules by way of a ‘sham’ marriage or a marriage of convenience. These requirements need to be met by way of relevant and extensive corroboratory documentary evidence, as specified within The Immigration Rules.

Despite the fact that the initial outlay is much greater, the marriage settlement route may nevertheless appeal to those who find the logistics, as well as the emotional upheaval, of travelling here once, living with their partner for up to six months, getting married and then leaving, less attractive. Conversely, for those whose personal circumstances differ, resulting in alternative priorities, the fact that a fiancé visa costs around £100 and under normal circumstances takes around three weeks (as opposed to three months) to be granted from the submission of their bio-metrics, the fiancé visit visa may well be the preferred route for yourself and your partner.

EEA Settlement Scheme Update: The Facts and Figures So Far…

EEA Settlement Scheme Update: The Facts and Figures So Far…

Now that we are coming towards the end of ‘public beta phase’, the third instalment of the public service juggernaut, that is the piloting of the EU Settlement Scheme application process, it occurred to me that it was about time we had a roundup of the figures published thus far. We will also focus upon the most recent additions to ‘Appendix EU’, which itself is now firmly entrenched within the UK system – UK HC395: The Immigration Rules, and furthermore reflect on our own experiences, here at The Visa Office, of the system.
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EEA Settlement Scheme – First Steps

EEA Settlement Scheme – First Steps

Back in May I wrote a blog bemoaning the lack of a definitive process that would enable EEA nationals to cement their rights as individuals here in the UK. It would now appear to be the case that there is something further to report regarding this topic. Discernible, if somewhat tentative, efforts have been made towards implementing a system which would facilitate the switching of those Europeans here from The (EEA) Regulations to The (UK) Immigration Rules; thus regularising their UK immigration status in advance of ‘Brexit’ and subsequently affording them a formal, legalised security to their futures as well as a sense of belonging within a society, a basic human right that surely everybody should be entitled to.

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Visit Visas – Negotiating the ‘Labyrinth’

Visit Visas

As we are just emerging from the holiday season it occurred to me that it may be an appropriate moment to write about visit visas, both the nature of the beast and ways to go about taming it. This urge was borne to me by way of the recent reported difficulties within the media that internationally renowned musicians have had varying degrees of difficulty when trying to negotiate the UK immigration system, so that they may play at a variety of festivals and concerts.

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EU Settlement Scheme

In response to the proposed EU Settlement Scheme, I am penning this blog both  to recent enquiries which in essence incorporate the repeated concern: “I have just read that after March 2019 that our permanent residence certificates will not be valid any longer!!??” as well as a continuation of my previous blog – the lack of clarity as to exactly how European citizens will regularise their immigration status post-March 2019 remains.

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UK Spouse Visa Financial Requirement – UK Spouse Visa help?

UK spouse visa financial requirement

Spouse Visa UK, Fiancé  and un-married partner visa applications made under Appendix-FM of the Immigration Rules are made more complex by the Financial Requirement. The spousal route can be either ‘switched’ into from within the UK from another long-term route i.e. under Tier 2 sponsorship, or more commonly from our experience, from the applicant’s country of residence.

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Tier 2 Rule Changes April 2018 – General

Tier 2 General Visa Changes

Tier 2 Rule Changes April 2018 – The Tier 2 (General) is a category for migrant workers who hold an offer of a skilled job from a Tier 2 licensed employer. Up until now, students on a Tier 4 visa, a sizeable source of potential employment possibilities for UK businesses, would have had to wait until they have received their final results before attempting to switch to Tier 2. Some grace has now been granted by the Home Office insofar as students may now apply to switch from their studies as soon as they have completed their courses; this is more in line with those undertaking PhDs.

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Chronic Skills Shortage within the tech sector

Chronic Skills Shortage Within The Tech Sector

Within the ‘tech’ sector in the UK there continues to be what could be termed as a ‘chronic skills shortage’ of supply from the local labour market. This may come initially as a surprise to many, given that this sector has contributed more than £90 billion to the UK economy coffers and boasts an average salary that many can only dream of. Conversely digital skills shortage has been attributed to the existence of one in five job vacancies in the UK and places a stranglehold on many companies who are unable to realise their competitive potential subsequently becoming less attractive as a possible destination for those abroad searching for ambitious, innovative and dynamic destinations in which to invest.

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