- introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child;
- publishing, in casework guidance, a list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships, to help UK Border Agency caseworkers to focus on these issues;
- extending the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses andpartners from two years to five years, to test the genuineness of the relationship;
- abolishing immediate settlement for the migrant spouses and partner where a couple have been living together overseas for at least 4 years, and requiring them to complete a 5 year probationary period;
- from October 2013, requiring all applicants for settlement to pass the Life in the UK Test and present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless they are exempt;
- allowing adult and elderly dependants to settle in the UK only where they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK, and requiring them to apply from overseas rather than switch in the UK from another category, for example as a visitor; and
- restricting family visit visa appeals, initially by narrowing the current definitions of family and sponsor for appeal purposes, and then, subject to the passage of the Crime and Courts Bill, which was published on 11 May 2012, removing the full right of appeal against refusal of a family visit visa.
So how will this effect my wife and I?
The only real change to affect us will be the new higher level of English requirement, which comes into effect from October '13. As Janny's current visa expires after that date, she will have to apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) under the new English requirement. In addition to the B1 test she will also have to pass the LITUK test. Before the announcement we had been leaning towards applying for an FLR extention when Janny's current visa expires. This would have given her more time to study for the LITUK test but unfortunately that will no longer be an option for us. We are a little unfortunate. Had Janny arrived in the UK only a month or two earlier she would be able to apply for ILR under the current rules by passing the LITUK test OR completing an ESOL course. The either or option will now be made obsolete.
It just goes to show that you really can not afford to relax and should constantly keep an eye on the changing immigration rules and how they may affect you, even when already here. I guess the plus side (if we have to find any) is that Janny will still be able to apply for ILR when her visa expires and not have to wait for 5 years like under the new rules.
I have to say I really feel for anyone applying under the new rules......more so for those who will unfortunately not meet the minimum salary requirement for sponsors. In effect, those people have been banned from living with their spouse here in the UK
The UKBA announcement and link to the full statement of changes can be found on the following link:-
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