National News





New immigration rules from 9 July 2012

The government announced its Statement of Intent regarding the future operation of family migration into the United Kingdom, foreshadowing the changes which new immigration rules will make on 9 July 2012.

Highlights are:

  • A minimum income threshold of £18,600 to sponsor the settlement in the UK of a non-EEA partner.
  • The minimum probationary period for settlement for a non-EEA spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner or same sex partner will be five years.
  • Non-EEA adult dependent relatives will only be able to settle in the UK if they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided in the UK by their relative here and without recourse to public funds. The route will be limited to those applying from overseas.
  • From October 2013, all applicants for settlement will be required to pass the Life in the UK test and present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above.
  • An intention by the Executive to define the approach to ECHR Art 8: only in “exceptional circumstances” will the best interests of the child outweigh criminality.
  • Deportation will normally be proportionate where the foreign national criminal received a sentence of 12 months to 4 years and the view of the Secretary of State is that their offending has caused serious harm or they are a persistent offender.
  • Deportation will not be proportionate where there is a genuine and subsisting relationship with a UK settled partner, they have lived here for 15 years and there are insurmountable obstacles to relocating overseas, or where there is a genuine and subsisting relationship with a child who has lived in the UK for seven years and it would not be reasonable to expect the child to leave the UK and no other family member can care for the child, or where they have lived in the UK for 20 years excluding imprisonment or, being under 25, have lived here half their lives, and they have no social, cultural or family ties with their country of origin.
  • More information HERE.


MPs vote to reverse Lords changes to legal aid bill – April 2012

MPs have overturned all the changes the House of Lords made to ministers’ plans to cut legal aid in England and Wales.

Peers had inflicted 11 defeats on ministers over proposals to limit the scope of publicly funded support, which critics say threaten access to justice.

Ministers say the changes will speed up the system and save £350m a year.

However, the government has conceded that victims of domestic violence should be given easier access to legal aid than ministers had been planning.

Read more HERE.


UK Borders Agency to be split into two departments- February 2012

Following an official inquiry, the Home Secretary has decided that the UK Boarders Agency will be split into two.  Read the Home Secretary’s statement to Parliament about the matter HERE.


Changes to appeals against immigration and asylum decisions from 19 December 2011 – December 09 2011

The Ministry of Justice will be introducing appeal fee charges for some asylum and immigration appeals from 19 December 2011.

People who want to appeal against a decision notice dated 19 December 2011 or later will need to pay a fee. The appeal fee will apply to most categories of visas and decisions. Any exemptions to the fees will be outlined by the Ministry of Justice. This will not affect any decision notices that are dated before 19 December.

Also, from 19 December people will need to lodge their appeals at the tribunal in the UK. We will no longer accept appeals at any of our overseas visa application centres.

Full guidance about the changes will be published on the Ministry of Justice website from 19 December 2011.


Legal Aid reforms – December 2011

On 1 December 2011, the Ministry of Justice announced that the legal aid measures contained in the Legal Aid etc Bill presently before Parliament would not be brought into force until April 2013.

To read the ministerial statement, click HERE.