Successful pre-settled status application under the EU settlement scheme for a victim of domestic violence
With Covid-19 and the ultimate requirement to stay home, we have been coming across an increased number of domestic violence and abuse incidents. Many of our calls are now from clients who need assistance in solving their Immigration status in the UK, with a view of divorce and separation.
People who live in the UK as dependant family members of their partner or spouse, under Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules, can divorce from their abusive partner and remain in the UK. Of course, like every other UK visa and leave to remain application, there are requirements which must be met and supporting evidence which must be provided. Our family department and Immigration department are here to guide you through the whole process, from the divorce/dissolution matter to your Immigration application.
The current Rules only apply to spouses/partners of EEA nationals who were a victim of domestic violence. From 24 August 2020, any family member who falls within the scope of the Scheme (including durable partners, children, dependent parents and dependent relatives), and whose family relationship with their EEA national sponsor has ended as a result of domestic violence against them, will be able to retain rights of residence.
You do not have to stay in an abusive relationship or household just because of your Immigration visa requirements. Contact our specialist Immigration team on 020 3372 5125 or complete our online enquiry form to discuss your circumstances and options available.
If you are in immediate danger call National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
Our client arrived in the UK as the partner of his EEA national sponsor. He obtained a family permit to enter the UK and formed a new life in London. He also made an application for residence in the UK as the family member of his EEA national sponsor and obtained five years leave to remain. Soon after, he sadly became a victim of domestic violence and then forgave his partner, after he apologised and promised that it will never happen again. Shortly, our client’s partner repeated his violent acts and did not acknowledge his abusive behaviour, our client therefore left the family home and contacted our specialist Family Lawyers. Our Family solicitors immediately commenced on the dissolution of marriage process and our Immigration Solicitors worked closely with him in preparing for his Immigration matter.
Once our Family Lawyers finalised the matter and the decree absolute was issued, we submitted a pre-settled status application under the European Settlement scheme. Our client’s application for pre-settled status was granted within a week.
Requirements of retained rights of residence and pre-settled status
To be able to qualify for retained rights of residence, under the settlement scheme or the EEA family member application, because of separation from the EEA national sponsor, you must meet the following requirements.
- That the applicant was a family member of a relevant EEA citizen before the termination of the marriage or civil partnership
- That the applicant was residing in the UK on the date of termination of marriage/civil partnership
You must also meet one of the following requirements.
- The applicant must have been married/civil partners with an EEA national for at least 3 years immediately before initiation of proceeding for termination (divorce or dissolution) and
The applicant lived in the UK with the EEA national for at least one year during your marriage/civil partnership
- The applicant must have custody of the child of the EEA national former partner
- The applicant must have the right of access to the child of the EEA national former spouse or civil partner, the child must be under the age of 18 and a court must have ordered that such access takes place in the UK.
- The applicant has difficult circumstances, this can include, but is not limited to, when the applicant or another family member has been a victim of domestic violence whilst the marriage/civil partnership or family relationship was subsisting.
Our client, had been in a civil partnership for less than three years and had not lived together with his EEA national partner for at least one year in the UK, therefore, we solely relied on the fact that there were difficult circumstances, that of our client being a victim of domestic violence. In complex situations as such, it is primarily important the strong evidence is provided to support the claim. Our client was able to work with us provided us with the documents we required.
Some difficulties our client faced were to do with providing evidence relating to his partners EEA national status. As he was a victim of domestic violence and not in contact with the partner, our client was unable to provide updated evidence confirming the status. Our specialist Immigration lawyers drafted strong representations to support our client’s application and why he should still be granted with retained rights of residence.
After obtaining detailed instructions from our client, our immigration lawyers guided the client in collating the relevant evidence of domestic violence. This was the most difficult and crucial part of the work. Once the documents were ready, we prepared our client’s application under EU settlement scheme and assisted the client in submitting it. We then advised the client on follow-up steps and the likely timeline. In this case, our expectations were exceeded as the client received his pre-settled status within a week and was understandably relieved and happy.
Our hard work demonstrated that even in complex matters, when not all evidence is possible to be procured, the Home Office can apply their discretion, provided they are correctly directed in respect of how to exercise their power of discretion. The success in our client’s application, earlier than anticipated, saved him from spending thousands of pounds on appealing the EEA matter or submitting further applications. He is now leading a fulfilling life in the UK, leaving his bad experiences behind and building a new life in the UK.
If you require help with your immigration status after your relationship has ended, or if you are contemplating a divorce or a separation and are not sure how that will affect your immigration status, get in touch with our specialist immigration lawyers.