When the Immigration Rules for families were changed in July 2012, it was the minimum income threshold that rightly attracted the most attention. It has caused huge misery and has divided many loving families, sometimes separating children from parents. It is particularly harsh because the income threshold is set so far in excess of the national minimum wage that many working families simply cannot afford to live together in the UK: no matter how many hours they work, they will never, ever qualify. It is heartbreaking.
Less attention has been paid to an equally severe change to the rules on ‘adult dependent relatives’: normally, the foreign national elderly parents of a settled person or naturalised British citizen. The rules are now so tough that it is thought only a handful, if that, of cases have succeeded since the new rules were introduced. Applicants face a Catch-22 style barrier, where they have to show adequate maintenance and accommodation in the UK (reasonably enough) but also have to show that they “must as a result of age, illness or disability require long- term personal care to perform everyday tasks” and that they cannot, even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor, obtain the required care in their country of origin because it is not available or it is not affordable. If there is sufficient money to care for the person in the UK, there will almost always be sufficient money to pay for private carers abroad.
Children generally want to care for their parents in their old age. That is simply not possible under these immigration rules. It causes unimaginable distress, something we immigration lawyers witness first hand.
If your firm has been involved in any adult dependent relative applications under the new rules in force since July 2012, JCWI is very keen to hear from you and would be grateful if you could complete this short survey: