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Developments in Immigration Law March 2024

Where are we at with Rwanda?

In recent developments, reports have surfaced regarding the Home Office's offer of voluntary removals to Rwanda. It's crucial to understand the status of the Rwanda Bill amidst these discussions. Although initially passed in the Commons, the bill is currently in a back-and-forth between the Commons and the Lords, awaiting enforcement.

Amid concerns that any mention of Rwanda can induce panic among clients, it's important to clarify that current removals to Rwanda remain voluntary and lack legal enforceability.

Recent amendments, particularly those passed by the Lords on March 20, 2024, offer hope for improved provisions. Notably, all seven amendments voted upon resulted in defeats for the government. These amendments include provisions such as:

  1. Ensuring the Bill aligns with domestic and international law.

  2. Recognizing Rwanda as a safe country only when certain conditions under the Rwanda Treaty are met.

  3. Empowering an independent monitoring committee to assess the full implementation of the Rwanda Treaty.

  4. Allowing for assessments of Rwanda's safety concerning specific individuals or groups.

  5. Mandating age assessments prior to removal.

  6. Granting exemptions from removal for individuals with positive reasonable grounds decisions under the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

  7. Providing exemptions from removal for agents, allies, and employees of the UK overseas, primarily targeting individuals from Afghanistan and Iraq employed by British forces.

Looking ahead, the Bill is scheduled to return to the Commons on April 15, 2024. Stay tuned for further updates on this evolving legislation and its impact on affected individuals.

Significant Increase in Spouse Visa Minimum Income Requirement: What You Need to Know

#Stay informed about the recent increase in the minimum income requirement (MIR) for spouse visas and its implications. Learn about upcoming changes and how they may affect your visa application. Contact us for expert advice.

Effective April 11, 2024, the minimum income requirement (MIR) for spouse visas will soar from £18,600 to £29,000, marking a substantial rise. This marks the first increase in the MIR since the introduction of Appendix FM in July 2012.

Practically, this elevation means more applicants may need to seek alternative routes outside standard rules, potentially leading to settlement via the 10-year path rather than the usual 5-year route if granted. However, it's important to note that even if the MIR isn't met, reliance on exceptional circumstances and the best interests of the child remains feasible, as clarified in the explanatory memorandum to the statement of changes.

For reference, MM & ors v SSHD [2017] UKSC 10 serves as a relevant case challenging the legality of the MIR upon its inception, particularly when the requirement is not met.

Looking ahead, the government has announced this as the initial phase of a staged increase, aiming for a £38,700 MIR by early 2025. Further increases are anticipated, with a planned rise to £34,500 later this year.

Be prepared for these forthcoming changes and their potential impact on your visa application. Contact us today for tailored advice and guidance on navigating these evolving immigration requirements.

New Immigration Rules Benefit Victims of Transatlantic Marriage Abandonment: What You Need to Know

Discover recent immigration rule changes benefiting victims of transatlantic marriage abandonment (TMA), including fee waivers and application options for dependent children. Learn how these updates provide relief for victims of domestic abuse. Contact our immigration solicitors for personalised guidance.

As of 31st January 2024, victims of transatlantic marriage abandonment (TMA) gained the ability to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) from outside the UK, thanks to new regulations. This application also allows for fee waivers and extends eligibility to dependent children.

TMA occurs when a sponsor abandons their spouse holding a visa abroad, depriving them of essential documents and means to return to the UK. Courts have recognized TMA as a form of domestic abuse, often following a pattern of prior domestic violence, as highlighted in the case of AM v SSHD [2022] EWHC 2591 (Admin). Previously, victims faced daunting challenges, especially if located outside the UK, as they were unable to apply for ILR using form SET(DV). Despite reliance on legal precedent such as AM v SSHD, obtaining entry clearance outside the rules was typically arduous and often unsuccessful.

Furthermore, starting 4th April 2024, all individuals with pre-settled EUSS status as partners can apply for SET(DV), a significant expansion from the previous restrictions on partner types.

Amidst various updates, these changes bring a beacon of hope for affected individuals amidst otherwise challenging circumstances.

For expert assistance navigating these immigration changes and securing your rights, contact our experienced immigration solicitors today. Let us provide you with personalised guidance and support through this process.

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