You can sponsor your parents or adult relatives to come and live with you in the UK permanently.
In 2012 the family immigration rules had a bit of a shake-up and, in the process, they became a lot stricter and a lot more onerous.
This was very strongly the case with the Adult Dependant Relative visa: this is a visa which potentially enables relatives of qualifying people who are not partners or minor children to apply to come to the UK. The new rules were so draconian that it seems fair to say that the Home Office had decided that it was not right that such relatives could be sponsored other than in exceptional circumstances.
It is important to understand that these are rules under the UK immigration rules: the EEA immigration rules are separate and different.
Applicants under the UK immigration rules can only apply from outside the UK and the following criteria must be met:
- The applicant must be a parent or grandparent (both parents or both grandparents may be able to apply), a sibling or an adult child. In all cases the applicant must be at least 18 years old.
- The sponsor must be a British citizen, settled in the UK, or hold Refugee or Humanitarian Protection status and they must be in a position to provide accommodation and sufficient financial support for the applicant
So far so good, but now comes the difficult part. To quote the rule precisely, the applicant “must as a result of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks” and, furthermore, “must be unable, even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor, to obtain the required level of care in the country where they are living, because – (a) it is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it; or (b) it is not affordable.”
So there we are. And not only are the rules obviously difficult to meet. The visa application fee is very expensive, currently £3,250 – unless the sponsor is a Refugee/holder of Humanitarian Protection, in which case it is a rather more reasonable £388.
If the application is successful the leave granted will be either indefinite leave to enter (ie settlement) or, in the case of a sponsor who holds Refugee or Humanitarian Protection status, limited leave. And if the application is unsuccessful there is the right of appeal to the First-Tier Immigration Tribunal, in which situation the refusal decision is scrutinised by an immigration judge.
In many cases the applicant may be an elderly person with age-related health issues but this is not necessarily so: a younger person with a serious medical condition or disability might potentially qualify. But in all cases the applicant needs a good standard of documentary evidence to support their application.
Good-quality medical evidence from an appropriate medical practitioner is essential to prove the medical issues. But evidence may need to come from other sources to prove some of the other aspects: for example to prove that a certain medical treatment is not available or is prohibitively expensive. Such evidence might come from an authoritative source in the applicant’s country of residence or from wider sources.
If you want to sponsor an adult relative under these rules you need to collate the evidence together carefully. The difficulty with this application is not, as in some cases, the intricacy of the rules: it is getting the right evidence of sufficient quality.
It is worth bearing in mind that the rate of refusal for this visa is high, and you might therefore want to consider instructing a good lawyer to assist you.
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