Following a recent review of Appendix FM and the law in relation to Adult Dependent Relatives it was confirmed that the policy objectives of the introduction on new rules relating to Adult Dependent Relatives in July 2012 have been met and therefore there will be no change to the Immigration Rules.
Appendix FM was implemented on 9th July 2012 and imposed what are widely regarded as extremely restrictive requirements for bringing Adult Dependent Relatives to the UK (e.g. elderly foreign national parents, grandparents, siblings and adult children). Shortly after being implemented, it became evident that actually succeeding under the new rules would be next to impossible.
Why were these changes implemented?
Under the old rules, 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 also had 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.
It was argued that this placed an undue burden on the taxpayer and the NHS. In implementing the new rules the main policy objective was to reduce this burden. In order to be successful under the new rules the following criteria must to be met:
The applicant must as a result of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks.
2) 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.
3) The sponsor must provide a 5 year undertaking that they can financially support, maintain, care and accommodate the relative without access to public funds.
How would this work in practice?
For example: a son wishes to bring his mother (the Adult Dependent Relative) to the UK as she is unwell and he believes that he can provide her with the care and support she needs. He has been financially supporting her for a number of years and is also able to provide a 5 year undertaking that he can financially support, maintain, care and accommodate his mother without access to public funds.
At face value it may seem plausible that the mother would be granted immediate settlement. However let’s look at the criteria once again, and in particular, point 2) above:
Only where care is considered unaffordable or absent in the country of origin will this condition be satisfied. Rarely will it be the case that an applicant will be able to demonstrate that healthcare is unaffordable in the country of origin compared to the UK in circumstances where the Sponsor is also required to provide an undertaking that they will be responsible for private healthcare costs in the UK.
Further, Adult Dependent Relative applications grounded on an absence of the required medical care in the country of origin will also, in the vast majority of cases, be difficult to make out.
If affordable, adequate care and support could be provided in the country of residence, then the application will likely be refused on the basis that the son can continue to fund his mother’s care, support and treatment from the UK.
Is this fair?
Published statistics confirm that in 2013 19% of Adult Dependent Relative applications were granted (including upon appeal). In 2014, the success rate fell to 11%.
With the threshold being so high, there has been a huge decline in the number of applications being made since the introduction of the new rules. It is reasonable to assume that many relatives who are in fact dependent emotionally, practically and financially upon relatives settled in the UK, have been deterred from submitting applications until they are in a position to demonstrate – with reference to compelling medical evidence – that their best interests are served by the provision of care of close family in the UK. It is arguable that the new rules have the effect of denying families an opportunity to plan for the care of elderly relatives in their later years and instead create circumstances where an Adult Dependent Relative application will only stand a reasonable chance of success when the Applicant’s health has deteriorated such an extent that their emotional and physical health can only reasonably be cared for by family members who are able to financially support such care. It therefore appears that the new rules prevent families from carefully planning for their love-ones’ later years, and provide scope to bring dependent relatives to the UK only, perhaps, once a medical emergency arises or is likely to arise if the relative is not admitted to the UK.
What are the alternatives to the Adult Dependent Relative route?
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. However, a visit visa will provide no long-term solution to the dependent relative and presupposes that they are well enough to travel quite frequently.
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 centre 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 are 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.
Is the economy really benefiting?
The main objective of the new Adult Dependent Relative rules was to reduce the burden on the tax payer. There is a claimed correlation between NHS savings and the decline in ADR applications, although the statistics relied on in this respect are described as an “illustrative assessment”.
However, any savings to the NHS have to be balanced against the loss to the economy caused by British citizens and settled workers leaving the UK if this is the only way in which they might provide care and support to their parents and grandparents in their final years.
For further information on statistics visit:
If you require further advice on the operation of the Adult Dependent Relative rules, please contact us on 020 7998 3488 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.