Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Immigration Corner | I would like to stay

Published:Tuesday | January 3, 2017 | 1:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

A few weeks ago, you advised a reader on the possibilities of staying in the United Kingdom after going there initially for a visit.

I am interested in knowing what the criteria are for being eligible to accomplish this.

- G.T.

Dear G.T.,

If persons wish to remain in the United Kingdom, certain conditions with respect to eligibility have to be met.

In the first instance, a family member or a partner can be a British citizen who has settled in the United Kingdom or be a partner who has asylum or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom. Persons may also be able to apply to remain with their child if they have lived in the United Kingdom for at least seven years.

It is important to note that persons will need to choose a category, known as a 'route', to apply in, and each route has different eligibility requirements.

The route that is chosen will affect how soon persons can apply to settle permanently in the United Kingdom. There is a two-year route, a five-year route and a 10-year route.

Persons can apply to extend or switch to any of these routes if they are eligible, except if they have permission to be in the United Kingdom as a visitor for less than six months - unless they got their visa to get married or become civil partners, or they got their visa to wait for the outcome of a family court or divorce. Please note that there has been no change to the rights and status of European Union (EU) nationals in the United Kingdom, and United Kingdom nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.

If persons are in the United Kingdom on temporary admission or release - that is, they do not have a visa - they can only apply to switch if they both apply for a 10-year route and can prove they have been in the United Kingdom for more than six months before they applied. Persons can also switch between routes if their eligibility changes. Also, persons'; applications might be refused if, for example, they have got a criminal record in the United Kingdom or in another country; provided false or incomplete information to the Home Office; and/or broken United Kingdom immigration law.

 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

 

If persons elect to apply under the 'partner routes', then these persons must meet the following: Partners are two people who are 18 or over and in a genuine relationship - and must be able to prove one of the following: they are married; they are in a civil partnership; and/or they have been living together in a relationship for two years. In addition, both the applicant and partner must intend to continue their relationship after the application has been made.

With respect to the partner (two-year) route, persons can only extend their 'family of a settled person, visa in this route if they applied as a partner before July 9, 2012; are not eligible to settle over there; or have kept to the terms of their visas.

Persons must also meet the eligibility requirements for the partner routes and must also prove that: they and their partner have enough money to adequately support and accommodate themselves and any dependents without relying on public funds; have a good knowledge of English if they are 18 years of age or over.

With respect to the partner (five-year) route, persons must meet the previously stated eligibility requirements for the partner routes. However, in addition, persons must also meet the financial requirement of: £18,600 per year if persons are applying only for themselves; earning £22,400 per year for applicant and one child; and £2,400 per year for each additional child.

Please note that applicants will not need to prove they have this money if their partners get certain disability benefits or a caregiver's allowance, but they will need to adequately accommodate and support themselves and any dependents.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:

lawbassie@yahoo.com