Romantic relationships can no longer be used to keep adult dependent relatives out of the UK.
Tweaks to the ‘Adult Dependent Relative’ provisions are among the latest batch of changes to the Immigration Rules announced by the Home Office on Monday 17 July 2023.
The biggest development means that adult dependent relatives are no longer disqualified from moving to the UK if they are in a relationship with anyone other than the UK sponsor’s parent or grandparent.
The changes, which come into force immediately, also mean that the partners of qualifying adult dependent relatives can now also apply to move to the UK.
In addition, the Home Office has made clear that in cases where the applying couple are the sponsor’s parents and grandparents, then only one of them needs to require long-term personal care.
The Adult Dependent Relative rules set out a very limited set of situations in which certain individuals living in the UK can sponsor adult family members (other than partners) to move to this country.
Introduced in 2012, these provisions are so harsh that their main effect has long been to keep families apart rather than bring them together. In general terms, they require the UK sponsor (who can be British, settled or a refugee) to show that:
- Their adult relative overseas require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks due to age, illness or disability
- That care is not available or not affordable in the country where they are living
Requirement (1) above is, sadly, all too easy to meet. However, requirement (2) sets such a high bar that many are deterred from even applying. Those that do apply are usually refused at the first stage, although there is a higher rate of success on appeal.
The latest change is a positive one to be welcomed but is likely to benefit only a tiny percentage of applicants excluded from relying on the rules for this reason.
Far more sweeping changes to this part of the Immigration Rules are required to make a meaningful difference to the lives of families forced to live apart – and no such changes are likely at a time when the government’s priority is reducing migrant numbers no matter the cost.