It is often said (and indeed with great force of truth) that UK immigration law is complicated. But sometimes connected or associated legal issues can be complicated as well. A good example is the accommodation overcrowding rules.
If you want to sponsor your partner – and possibly any children – to come and join you in the UK you must according to the immigration rules show that you can provide them with “adequate accommodation”. For accommodation to be “adequate” it must be big enough, and whether it is big enough is measured by the sleeping arrangements.
These rules are contained in rather confusing provisions of the Housing Act 1985 but, as always with GSN Immigration, we will try and simplify them for you as much as we can.
The rules are rules about the number of people who can sleep in the same room, the ages of the people, the size of the room(s) and, in some instances, the genders of the people. An important point that must be understood is that any “main room” – eg a dining room/living room or bedroom – can qualify as a sleeping room for these purposes.
The way this all works is, we think, best illustrated by some common examples.
Let us say you have a couple – either different genders or same gender. They are, you will be pleased to know, allowed to share a sleeping room. But (and here may be the catch) the sleeping room must be at least 110 square feet in area. If it is less than this then the property will be statutorily overcrowded.
If there are children or other family members or other people involved then the rules are more complex.
Let us say that you have a couple with a child aged less than one year old. Here again one main room will be sufficient, as long as it is at least 110 square feet in area.
But supposing the child is aged two. Here the rules change. One room, even if at least 110 square feet, is not enough space, and there needs to be another main room – although it can be a small one as long as it is at least 50 square feet in area.
If the child is aged 10 or over then the rules change again: the second sleeping room must be at least 70 square feet in area.
If there is more than one child then the requirement may be greater. Let us say that there is a couple with three children, a son aged two, a daughter aged 11 and a son aged 13. Such a family might be able to get away with three sleeping rooms, but only if they are of sufficient size.
If there are other adult family members or other adults in the picture then, as you would expect, the required number of rooms increases further.
This gives you at least a vague idea about how it works. You might need to get good advice from your lawyer about these issues, and you also might find it a very good idea – although it is not a requirement of the immigration rules – to get a qualified surveyor to conduct an overcrowding survey of your accommodation, also known as a property inspection report. This should effectively deal with any overcrowding issues in the visa application decision-making process.
We at GSN Immigration have a lot of experience in this area and we will be able to advise and assist you.
OISC Level 3 Immigration Lawyer