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Supreme Court has determined that 3rd party support is permissible when joining relatives in the UK

27 December 2009

In the five appeals mentioned above, three of the appellants wished to join their spouses under rules 281, and two wished to join their children under rules 317. All had been offered, or had been in receipt of, financial support from other relatives or friends living in the UK.

The majority of the Court of Appeal in AM (Ethiopia) v Entry Clearance Officer (2008) found that the rules disallowed reliance on third party support, although a sponsor's receipt of disability living allowance could be taken into account. The court also found that it was possible to rely upon joint sponsors provided they were named in the application form.

However, the Supreme Court in the recent determination known as Ahmed Mahad (Appellant) v Entry Clearance Officer (Respondent) held that the rules had to be interpreted in terms of their overall purpose which was to ensure that there was no resort to public funds by family members entering the UK to join other settled family members. An important part of the context for the interpretation of the rules was the way in which the parallel accommodation requirements had been construed. Those rules allowed the parties to live together in accommodation owned or provided, quite possibly free, by a third party. There was no logical reason for such a distinction and it would be remarkable if, in the same rule, third party support was permitted for accommodation but not for maintenance.

However, it remains fundamental that these kind of applications are properly prepared as the onus of proof is on the applicant. Thus, it is always for the applicant to satisfy the entry clearance officer that any third party support is indeed assured.We would strongly recommend to seek legal advice in these immigration matters.

 

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