Category Archives: Law

A Place of Safety

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If you or your children are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police. You can also call the 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

It is hard to imagine the terror of being in a foreign country with no friends or family and suffering domestic violence from your partner and/or their family. However, help is available (see details at the bottom of this page). Furthermore, victims of domestic abuse who are in the UK on a Spouse Visa, Unmarried Partner Visa or Civil Partnership Visa can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This ensures they can stay in the UK free from visa restrictions if their relationship breaks down due to domestic violence.

Domestic violence/abuse includes an occurrence or series of occurrences of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading, and/or violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in most cases by a partner, ex-partner, family member or carer. Both men and women can be victims.

It can include, but is not limited to:

  • Physical violence
  • Emotional and mental abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Economic abuse (withholding money or refusing to allow you to work)
  • Coercive control
  • Online or digital abuse
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Forced marriage and female genital mutilation
How can I apply for ILR if my relationship has broken down because of domestic violence?

Many migrant victims of domestic violence flee the family home utterly destitute. If you manage to escape to a refuge or a friend’s house, you can apply for a Destitute Domestic Violence Concession. This will not only ensure you have limited leave to remain in the UK regardless of your visa situation but that you can access public funds so you can pay for food, housing etc.

Eligibility for the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession depends on you proving:

  • you entered the UK on a Spouse, Civil Partnership or Unmarried Partner Visa,
  • your relationship has broken down because of domestic violence,
  • you need access to public funds to get away from your abuser, and
  • you intend to apply for ILR as a victim of domestic violence.

If your relationship has broken down because of domestic violence, you can apply for ILR immediately. You do not have to wait five years. To qualify, you need to meet the following eligibility criteria. You must:

  • have been given permission to remain in the UK as the spouse, civil partner or unmarried
  • partner of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK
  • have evidence to show that during your time in the UK on one of the above visas, your relationship broke down because of domestic violence.

  • meet the suitability criteria, for example, you have not committed any criminal offences whilst in the UK or submitted any false information in any visa applications
Providing evidence of domestic violence

Evidence that can show a caseworker at UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) that you have suffered from domestic violence include:

  • an application for or the granting of a Non-Molestation Order and/or Occupation Order
  • a police report showing that they have visited your address because of a domestic violence incident
  • your spouse/partner has spent time in prison for abusing you
  • medical reports detailing that your injuries are consistent with those caused by domestic violence
  • a letter from a refuge stating that they believe you have been subjected to domestic violence
Getting legal support

If your relationship has broken down because of domestic violence and you want to apply for ILR so you can remain in the UK, legal help is available. Victims of domestic abuse can apply for legal aid, and you may be exempted from paying the ILR fee. An experienced immigration lawyer who is registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can provide you with the advice you need and represent you in making your application. You must contact an immigration Solicitor as soon as possible.

Further help and support are available from the below organisations.

National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) – 0800 970 20 70
Refuge – 0808 2000 247 (24 hours)
Women’s Aid 0808 200 0247 (24 hours)
ManKind – 01823 334 244
Galop LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428

Based in Birmingham and London, UK Migration Lawyers is one of Britain’s premier immigration law firms. Please phone our office on 0121 777 7715 to make an appointment with one of our immigration Solicitors.

Investor Visa Route to End December 2017
Investors Encouraged to Apply Now

In December 2017, the Tier 1 Investor Visa will be withdrawn as a means to enter and reside in the UK. This will be a blow, not only to foreign investors who want to extend their portfolio to the UK market, but for UK businesses who rely on foreign capital to grow.

The Investor Visa, as it is now, provides a wealth of advantages to applicants who have £2 million to invest in Britain’s stable and robust markets. Unique benefits include:

  • there is no need to meet English language requirements, provide business plans, be a certain age or have a certain level of education
  • dependents (a spouse or children under 18 years) can enter and reside in the UK
  • travel in and out of the country is unrestricted
  • an applicant’s spouse is able to seek employment
  • property can be purchased immediately
  • applicants can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years (or less depending on the amount invested)
  • applicants can apply for British Citizenship one year after being granted ILR

For high-net-worth individuals, the Tier 1 Investor Visa is the most flexible, expedient way to conduct business in the UK.

If the Investor Visa is working so well, why withdraw it?

Fear of allowing in those whose wealth was obtained by dubious means seems to be the driving factor for ending the Investor route, along with the visa developing a reputation as being a way for the super-rich to ‘buy a European passport’.

In 2014, the Investor Visa was subjected to significant reform; the most important being the requirement of £1 million in investment funds being raised to £2 million.

Other changes included:

  • a requirement that all £2 million had to be invested (previously 25 percent of the funds could be put into UK property in which the applicant could reside)
  • applicants can no longer borrow any of the funds
  • applicants can now be refused if immigration officers have reasonable grounds to believe the funds were obtained unlawfully or if they have concerns about the character and conduct of the party “providing the funds”

These reforms saw a substantial drop in the number of high-net-worth individuals applying for an Investor Visa, and we believe that there are enough safeguards in place to prevent ‘dirty money’ coming into the UK via the Investor route.

A vast majority of enquiries we receive regarding the Investor Visa are from people who see opportunities, not just to expand their investment portfolio, but to take advantage of the first-class education, cultural opportunities and stable political and economic environment that the UK is renowned for.

The need for fast action

Wealth managers, advisors and other high-net-worth intermediaries need to act now and advise their clients on the withdrawal of the Investor Visa in a mere 19 months’ time.

The required £2 million may take some time to accrue as all funds must be owned and not borrowed. Clients also need to be advised that at the time of application these funds must have been in the applicant’s account for 90 days which brings the deadline much closer. Any investigations by the UK Border Agency may also prolong the process.

Expert legal advice

The withdrawal of the Tier 1 Investor Visa has raised a sense of urgency among investors. The downturn in emerging markets has forced high-net-worth individuals to return to the more stable UK and US markets. Britain is predicted to become the world’s fourth largest economy over the next two decades, and the European Union generates a GDP of around €14.3 trillion (2014). This figures, taken together with the advantages a Tier 1 Investor Visa has to offer applicants, means advisors should be informing their clients of the changes as soon as possible. This will allow time for successful applications to be made.

The amount of capital involved and the complexities of the UK immigration system make it imperative that experienced legal advice is sought before applying for an Investor Visa. At UK Migration Lawyers, we have years of experience guiding high-net-worth individuals through the application process. We also work with wealth managers, real-estate advisors and other professionals who can assist with school placements and finding domestic help, both in and outside London.

To make an appointment or enquire further phone our office on 0121 777 7715.

UK Migration Lawyers is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number 497640). Accredited immigration Law Solicitors. UK Migration Lawyers Ltd. / All rights reserved. Company Registration No 06702262 / Registered in England and Wales.