The Immigration Rules contain very strict rules for the entry of Adult Dependant Relatives. An adult dependant relative covers the following relationships:

  • Adult Children
  • Aunts and Uncles
  • Grandparents and Parents
  • Siblings

The rules are so difficult to meet that the number of global applicants who enter the UK under this route every year is tiny.

The Adult Dependant Rules form part of Appendix FM, they are significantly more difficult to meet than the previous rules which governed the admission of adult dependant relatives.

The rules for dependants in this category were introduced in July 2012 via Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. The requirements are onerous.

Applicants under this route have to demonstrate that they won’t be reliant on additional public funds and their relatives may be required to sign an undertaking. There is nothing new here, the difficulties are in satisfying the new tests.

Applicants can only be admitted if they can demonstrate, that ‘as a result of age, illness or disability’, they require ‘long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks’ and that they are 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:

  1. It is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it.
  2. It is not affordable.

In some countries, families face heart-breaking problems sourcing suitable care. Clients often tell us that there is no suitable nursing care in their country of origin and that private care arrangements can only work where a family member is available to supervise that care.

The operation of the rules in practice have resulted in very few grants of entry clearance, although some applicants have had success at appeal. For many adult children, not being able to care for elderly parents is a very serious source of concern and is deeply upsetting.

In 2017, JCWI (Joint Council of Welfare of Immigrants) a campaigning organisation, brought a test case, challenging the very legality of the Immigration Rules themselves against human rights legislation. The Court, whilst it did not order that the rules be abolished, did express sympathy with the families involved and ordered that in future case-workers should look at the whether the standard of care needed can “reasonably be provided” to the “required level” in the home country.

The court ruled that the anticipated care overseas must be ‘reasonable’ from the point of view of both the Adult Dependant Relative and the provider and that the standard of care must be what is required for that particular applicant. The Court also ruled that emotional and psychological aspects of care must be looked at. 

Whilst the Court of Appeal judgment does offer a glimmer of hope to these cases, they remain very difficult applications to make and legal assistance should be sought.

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