UK Immigration: Changes to Rules for Third Party Support

Published: 23/08/2007

In a recent ruling, the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, also known as the AIT, have decided that third party support will no longer be enough to meet the financial requirements for immigration approval on settlement applications made under the spouse and dependent children visa categories.

In the past, UK sponsors and those applying for a UK spouse, partner, fiancee or relative visa had to demonstrate that they were capable of meeting their financial needs independently, without relying on public funds. However, if did not meet these requirements, but had a relative or close friend who was willing to help the immigrant, that was often enough to meet the criteria and allow the immigration process to proceed smoothly.

It remains to be seen whether the Court of Appeal will overturn this decision. If this decision is upheld, however, there are serious implications for sponsors and immigrants. For example, if you acting as a sponsor for an immigrant attempting to obtain a UK spouse, partner or dependent child visa, this ruling means that you and your wife, husband or de facto partner must prove you are capable of fully supporting yourselves, without relying on either public funds or someone else’s financial support.

At this point, it is unclear whether the restrictions on third party support will also apply to those attempting to obtain a fiancee visa to gain entry into the UK. Although the AIT’s decision applies specifically to spouse and dependent child visas, the rules for entry into the UK are quite similar for fiancee applicants. Because of this, it is quite likely that the new requirements and restrictions will affect individuals seeking fiancee visas as well.

It could also affect immigrant parents currently residing in the UK who are attempting to bring their children over to join them in the UK. Even if another relative or friend has offered to help you meet the financial requirements for an immigrant visa, this may no longer be enough under UK immigration law.

Finally, there are those who rely on financial support from family members who have settled in the UK. Previously, this reliance on loved ones who had immigrated to the UK was often enough to meet the financial requirements for visa approval. However, under the new rules, the applicant will have to prove that their only possible means of support is that received from their loved ones currently residing in the UK.

UK immigration law, particularly fiancee, spouse, partner and relative visas, just got a whole lot tougher. Stay tuned for more details on these new restrictions for UK sponsors and intending immigrants.

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