Dependant family members in work routes update

On 8 November 2021, the Home Office updated the guidance on dependant family members in work routes. There are some significant changes:

2- year unmarried partner requirement

If an individual is applying for a dependant partner of a lead/main applicant, such as a Skilled Worker, and if they are not married or in a civil partnership, they must demonstrate their relationship by showing that they have lived together for a continuous 2 years prior to the date of application, and by demonstrating that their relationship is genuine and subsisting.

Migrants can submit the following supporting documents:

  • Bank/building society statements, council tax, or utility bills;
  • Residential mortgage statements or tenancy agreements;
  • Official correspondence or documents that link the lead applicant and their partner and show they are living at the same address etc.

However, in some circumstances, the 2-year period does not have to have been completed immediately prior to the date of application, for instance:

  • The couple are currently living apart for work reasons;
  • A partner needs to attend training in another territory;
  • A partner demonstrates they have significant caring responsibilities,

Please note that the applicant must demonstrate that:

  • It was not reasonably possible for the other partner to accompany or join them and;
  • Individuals need to provide evidence that the relationship continued throughout that period, for example, by visits, letters, logged phone calls, shared financial accounts.

Dependant child requirements

When applying for a dependant child of a Skilled Worker etc, both parents o must be either applying at the same time as the child have permission to be in the UK (other than as a visitor) unless one of the following applies:

  • The parent with permission is the sole surviving parent;
  • The parent with permission has sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing;
  • The parent who does not have permission is a British citizen or a person who has a right to enter or stay in the UK without restriction – such persons must, however, be (or will be) ordinarily resident in the UK;
  • There are serious and compelling reasons to grant the child entry clearance or permission to stay with the parent with permission;

However, the Home Office will take into consideration some exceptional circumstances – beside the serious and compelling circumstances- for example:

  • Due to employment or study commitments, one parent is delaying their entry to the UK;
  • One parent is travelling to a territory for reasonable purposes which makes it impossible to care for the child(ren) e.g. the father/mother is travelling to a country where it would not be safe for the child(ren) to join them;
  • One parent is travelling to a territory on a short-term basis such that it would be unreasonable to expect care/schooling arrangements to be made for the short length of the trip;
  • One parent is receiving medical treatment abroad and plans to join the family.

Dependent Partners qualifying period for Settlement application

Dependant partners of Global Talent, International Agreement Workers, Innovator, T2 Minister of Religion, International Sportsperson and Skilled Worker must complete a 5-year qualifying period prior to qualifying for settlement. However, the qualifying 5-year period can be combined under different work routes.

For instance, if a main applicant held an Innovator visa for 2 years and then switched to a Skilled Worker visa for 3 years, the dependant partner of the main applicant will be able to apply for Settlement after continuously residing in the UK for 5-years period as a dependant partner of an Innovator and as a dependant partner of a Skilled Worker. He/She does not need to wait another 2 years as a dependant partner of a Skilled Worker in order to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

However, if the main applicant was granted ILR on the basis of Long Residence (LR), including where they have subsequently naturalised as British citizens, his/her partner cannot extend their permission or apply for settlement as a dependant under these routes. For instance, the main applicant was able to apply for LR having spent 6 years as a Student visa and 4 years as Skilled Worker visa (4 years). Their partner is currently residing in the UK as a dependant partner of a Skilled Worker. As a result, he/she will not be able to apply for an extension of a dependant partner or apply for ILR under Appendix Skilled Worker and they will need to switch into the partner of a settled person (ILR holder) and apply for leave to remain under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.

Please note that if the main applicant gained settlement through UK Ancestry or Representative of an Overseas Business permission, the dependant may apply for settlement without completing a qualifying period.

Contact Our Immigration Team

For expert advice regarding any aspect of the UK visa application, please contact our immigration team on 0203 384 3075.


The content of this article is for general use and information only. Since each case should be prepared on its own merit and in light of the constant amendments to the Immigration Rules, it is important to note that the information provided must not be relied upon unless Migra & Co has either given written consent or has been officially engaged in relation to a specific immigration matter. As a result, Migra & Co will take no responsibility for any damage, cost or loss resulting from relying on the information contained in this article, blog and website.