Human rights and family immigration are governed by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the UK Immigration Rules. This is the most complex area of UK immigration law because successive governments have changed the Immigration Rules so often that it is very difficult for an applicant to understand what the law is. The law in this area can however be broadly divided into five categories.
The first category is private life. This relates to an immigration applicant’s own social and cultural connections to the UK. Obtaining leave to remain under the private life route is not straightforward unless the applicant has been in the UK for a significant period of time.
The second category is family life with a spouse. To qualify for a Spouse Visa under this route, an immigration applicant generally needs to be married or in a relationship similar to marriage, with a partner who is a British Citizen or has Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”). There are also other requirements such as a Minimum Income Requirement and English Language requirement. The documentary requirements can often be complex, and the Home Office often refuses applicants because specified documents are missing.
The third category is family life with a minor child who is a British citizen or has ILR. The general principles of law in this category are clear in that the Home Office must consider the best interests of any child when making a decision on an immigration application and an immigration judge must do the same when deciding any Immigration Appeal or Judicial Review. However, whilst the general principles are clear, the application of the law in particular cases can be incredibly complex and has been the subject of numerous Immigration Appeals decided by the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.
The fourth category is family life with adult relatives, e.g. a relationship between adult siblings, or an adult child and dependent elderly relative. This category encompasses a wide range of scenarios. It is not straightforward to succeed in, however it is possible to succeed, particularly where there is a relationship of dependency between the immigration applicant and sponsoring relative based on medical vulnerability.
The fifth category is medical reasons. Historically, this was a category in which it was practically impossible to succeed unless the immigration applicant was on the verge of death. In 2020 the Supreme Court, in the case of AM (Zimbabwe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 1, lowered the threshold for making a successful application in this category. It is not yet clear how the Immigration courts and Tribunals will apply the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Our Immigration Barristers regularly advise clients in human rights and family applications. We furthermore represent clients in the immigration courts and tribunals if necessary. Examples of the work we do are as follows:
- Private life applications
- Family-based applications to stay in the UK
- UK Spouse Visas
- Visas for foreign children of UK resident parents
- Visas for foreign elderly dependent parents of UK resident adult children
- Immigration Appeals
- Immigration Judicial Review applications
For more help contact one of our specialist Immigration Barristers. We are UK Immigration Lawyers with expertise in every areas of immigration law.