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UK Immigration: Points-Based Scheme: Dependants

24 January 2010

This article is written to highlight some of the issues relating to the dependants of migrants applying under the Points Based Scheme (PBS). Applicants who have been granted leave to enter or remain under the PBS are entitled to be accompanied and sponsor their close family members.

The UK Border Agency considers as "close" family members the applicant's spouse, civil or unmarried partner as well their children under the age of 18 who are not married or leading an independent family life. Therefore, a PBS applicant will not be able to sponsor their elderly parents or siblings as the main applicant would need to be granted settlement first and meet the very strict requirements of paragraph 317 of the Immigration Rules. In this respect, the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 embrace a wider definition as they include family members in the ascending line of both the EEA national and their spouse/civil partner as well as their children under the age of 21.

The main criteria introduced by the PBS is the new maintenance requirement under Appendix C of the Immigration Rules. Whist other immigration categories have a more general requirement, namely "the ability to accommodate and support dependants without recourse to public funds" (third party's support is allowed), under the PBS there is a specific level of funds to be shown on daily basis for a set period of time.

For instance, the Tier 1 General holder, the Tier 1  as well as the Tier 1  will need to rely on their own finances showing funds in their own account or in a joint account. The evidence is very stringent and the application is likely to be refused unless provided in the format specified by the UK Border Agency. The Tier 1 Investor category does not have a maintenance requirement, while  will be able to rely on the employer's verification letter. The Tier 4 General Student and the  Migrant can also be accompanied by their dependants, whilst the Tier 5 Migrants applying under the Youth Mobility will need to qualify in their own rights.

Initially, dependants will be granted leave to enter or remain in line with the main applicant. However, they will also be able to apply for settlement. In this case, the dependant and the main PBS Migrant will need to show inter alia that they have been living together in the UK in marriage or civil partnership, or in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership, for a period of at least 2 years. They must take and pass the Life in the UK Test.

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