In terms of scraping the bottom of the barrel, this is beaten only by the withdrawal of the non-removal policy for over 65s. Why oh why would they bother? Since at least 1993, there has been a policy that where a British citizen marries a foreign national who is here illegally but who is not actively being removed, an application under the normal spouse rules will be permitted once the marriage has been going on for at least two years. Normally, it would be necessary for the foreign national to go home and apply for a visa, which is expensive, a Right Royal Pain In The Arse and risks refusal at the hands of some jobsworth entry clearance officer.
As I described in a very recent post, there was actually an equivalent policy for unmarried partners. Not any more, I imagine.
It was a confusing area and the various bits of Home Office guidance and policy documents were a real mess. The courts have said it would be a Good Idea to clean it all up a bit and rationalise the guidance. Well, you can’t get more streamlined than abolition, which is what happened on 24 April 2008, in a Ministerial Statement by Liam Byrne MP.
This would be bad enough at the best of times, but it is particularly awful gven the new ‘no return’ immigration rule 320(7B). This bans from re-entering the UK anyone who previously broke UK immigration laws. There’s a sort of tariff system of different terms of exclusion, which I’ve covered in previous posts on this.
So, not only have many couples lost the benefit of DP3/96 and the equivalents, meaning that the foreign national partner must go abroad and apply for a visa, they will also find that the foreign national spouse or partner cannot even apply for a visa for at least a year.
It is definitely time to start putting in human rights applications on behalf of British citizens who find themselves separated from partners or forced to emigrate. The rights of ‘third parties’ like spouses or children cannot normally be considered by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (unless the House of Lords decides otherwise in the awaited judgment in a case called Betts) but they can put in their own applications under section 7 of the Human Rights Act 1998.