UK Immigration News

Bringing your elderly parents or relatives to the UK

Many of us who are either a British Citizen or are settled in the UK must have tried to bring our elderly parents or grandparents to the UK; hoping that we could spend the rest of our lives with them, take care of them, but have been disheartened to find out how difficult this is to achieve. We were hoping that the new immigration rules will be relaxed for our elders who need our care and support in their later years.

Post 9th July 2012, parents and grandparents over 65 could apply for immediate settled status in the UK upon application for entry clearance, or even when visiting the UK, provided that they could demonstrate a financial dependency on their sponsor. In addition to financial dependency, the sponsor will have to provide an undertaking that they could financially support, maintain and accommodate the applicant for a period of 5 years without access to public funds. But the Home Ministry deemed that the old rule placed an undue burden on the taxpayer and the NHS.  

In July 2012, a new rule was introduced for elderly dependent relatives. New criteria were established for restricting the entry of the dependent relatives. In order to be successful under the new rules the following criteria were to be met:
  • The applicant must as a result of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks.
  • The applicant 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. 
  • The sponsor must provide a 5-year undertaking that they can financially support, maintain, care and accommodate the relative without access to public funds. 

Between 2015 to 2017, there were few petitions initiated to allow elderly parents to come as adult dependents however these were not successful. Following a review of Appendix FM and the law in relation to Adult Dependent Relatives, it was confirmed that the policy objectives were met and hence no change to the Immigration rules have been recommended. It is a big disappointment for everyone who was hoping to get permanent visas for their elders so that they could stay with their families infinitely in the UK.Is there a way around?

The following are the 5 possible ways in which you can apply visa for your elderly relatives:

1. Multiple Entry Family Visitor Visa:

2, 5 and 10-year multiple entry visitor visas may be granted. However, the applicant will not be able to stay in the UK for longer than 6 months in any 12 months period.

When an application is submitted, the Home Office checks the applicant’s travel history, including how much time they are spending in the UK and how frequently they are returning. They assess if they are, in effect, making UK their main home. There is no specified maximum period, which an individual can spend in the UK in any period such as ‘6 months to 12 months’. However, if it is clear from an individual’s travel history that they are making the UK their home, then the application can be refused. 

However, a visit visa will not provide long-term solution to the dependent relative and presupposes that they are well enough to travel quite frequently.

 2.  Surinder Singh Route:

As the law currently stands, when a British Citizen works in another EU Member State for a minimum of 3 months and can demonstrate that the Member State in which they reside has become their center of life, it is possible to return to the UK with members of the household established in that Member State. Parents and grandparents are considered to be dependents when they are relying on their sponsor to provide them with the essentials for their day to day living. However, the Home Office is aware that the Surinder Singh route has been used as a means to circumvent the Immigration Rules. As a result, Regulation 9 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 now provides a number of conditions that must be satisfied if residence in the UK is to be granted to an elderly relative of a British citizen who has moved to live and work in another Member State. The British citizen must demonstrate that they intended to move to the other Member State indefinitely rather than temporarily.

(If you don’t want to apply via these options then you can apply for visa through other options listed below. But these options are applicable only if the elder relatives are employable.)

3. Sole Representatives Visas 

An overseas company intending to establish a commercial presence for the company in the UK can send a senior employee of their company as a Sole Representative. This commercial presence may be a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary concerned with the same type of business activity as the parent company. The parent company must have no branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK.   

Applicant must be recruited and employed outside the UK by the overseas company they intend to represent the UK. Applicant should have full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business for the purpose of representing it in the UK. The applicant should also be able to meet the English Language Requirement. This route leads to settlement or permanent residency. 

4. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa

This category of visa is for non-European migrants who want to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of, a business or businesses in the UK. In order to qualify under this category, applicants should normally have £200,000 funds available to invest in the UK. This route leads to settlement or permanent residency. 

5. Tier 2 (General) Visas UK

The Tier 2 (General) category is for foreign nationals who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a UK or EEA national. The Tier 2 (General) visa allows UK companies to fill existing labour shortages. A skilled worker in any Tier 2 category must not displace a suitable settled worker. Applicant must have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship from an organisation that is a licensed sponsor in the UK. This route leads to settlement or permanent residency.

Is the economy really benefiting? 
The Home Office maintains that the current rules represent a fairer deal for the taxpayer, given the significant NHS and social care costs which can arise when adult dependent relatives settle in the UK, notwithstanding the required sponsor’s 5-year undertaking to maintain, accommodate and care for the relative without recourse to welfare benefits or social housing. The NHS may have some savings due to the implementation of ADR rules, however it will also impact the economy negatively draining out high earning special skilled workers who might leave the UK to care for their dependent elders.

With the current government intending to clamp down further on immigration controls, it is unlikely that the “unnecessarily harsh” adult dependent relative (ADR) rules will change.  Making an application has become very difficult and professional legal advice from the outset is crucial to obtaining the best possible outcome for your circumstances. 

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