News from ILPA is that the recent trend towards rejecting in-country applications to switch to become unmarried partners is a temporary blip. A strict reading of immigration rule 295D(i) shows that, unlike for spouses and civil partners, a person with leave to enter the UK (as opposed to leave to remain) cannot switch to become an unmarried partner.
This seems rather odd – what can possibly be the policy justification for forbidding a student who has not yet extended his or her leave (and therefore still has leave to enter) from becoming an unmarried partner but allowing a student who has extended his or her leave (and therefore has leave to remain) to become one?
Nevertheless, recent internal Home Office guidance said that such applications should be refused. Thanks to some good work by Tim Barnden of Wesley Gryk Solicitors LLP, the Home Office have decided to change that guidance. An internal circular to this effect will shortly be, er, circulated, and the immigration rules will be changed in due course, probably in June 2009.
Interestingly, the rules will now only be changed three times a year, apparently. This is probably a Good Thing. While it makes the rules less responsive, the fortnightly changes we’ve experienced at times are hardly conducive to sound law making. And were a nightmare to keep up with, of course.