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The partner route and getting Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

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The partner route and getting Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

In an earlier post we considered the financial requirements of the partner visa and the various ways in which you can meet the financial test at the initial entry clearance stage.

The partner route is often known as a “spousal visa”, but it is not available only to those married to British citizens and settled people: it is open to married spouses, registered civil partners, and long-term unmarried partners. Isle of Man law recognises both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships for both marriage and civil partnership.

This post will focus on how you get to indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

To be eligible for ILR, the general requirement is that you should have spent at least 60 months in the Isle of Man as the partner of a settled person. Settled people includes British and Irish citizens, holders of indefinite leave to remain, and qualifying EU citizens and ECAA workers/businesspeople.

Your continuous residence in the Isle of Man is only one part of the story however, and you still have to meet a host of other requirements, including an onerous financial test and English language requirements.

The financial requirement

The good news is that, when it comes to extension and ILR applications, you don’t have to rely solely on your partner income. Your own income from specified employment or self-employment can be used to meet the requirement as long as it is lawfully derived and meets the minimum threshold.

If you are relying on cash savings, the minimum required is significantly reduced for ILR applications from the usual amount.

Pension income and other non-employment income can also be used, as can specified maternity allowance or bereavement benefit received by you or your partner in the Isle of Man.

You can use a combination of sources in some cases, but there are strict rules about what can and cannot be combined. Each source of funds requires detailed and specific documentary evidence.

Changes in circumstances

You should always consider your immigration position before making life-changing decisions.

These can include marriage or civil partnership, divorce, dissolution or separation, planning a family, changing your job or anything which may impact your earnings. For example, if you are relying on your salary in order to meet the financial requirement and decide to leave your current job which pays an annual income sufficient to meet minimum threshold, you may discover that you cannot extend your leave or obtain ILR because your new financial position doesn’t meet the financial requirement. Another example is going on maternity or paternity leave – if you are receiving statutory or contractual maternity, paternity, adoption leave pay or sick leave pay, you have greater flexibility over the time period you can use to evidence your income, but you still have to meet an annual income threshold.

Going freelance and becoming self-employed may sound like attractive options but again, this may have an effect on your earnings and your ability to meet the financial requirement and ultimately receive your ILR.

If you have had a change of circumstances and you are not sure how this will impact your immigration status, get in touch with our experienced immigration lawyers to discuss this. It is never a good idea to discuss matters directly with the Immigration Officer without first taking legal advice. The Immigration Officer is the decision maker and does not give legal advice. Based upon what you say to an Immigration Officer, they may feel obliged to cancel or curtail your visa, such that you have to leave the Isle of Man. A consultation with a lawyer will allow you to understand what alternative options may be open to you under immigration law.

Exceptions to the financial requirement

There are very limited circumstances in which you can avoid having to prove that you meet the financial test.

For example, if your partner receives certain benefits or entitlements, you do not have to meet the financial test but your partner must demonstrate that there is adequate maintenance and accommodation for you and any other family members.

English language

Unless you are exempt from the English language requirement, for instance by being a national of a recognised majority English speaking country or by having a recognised academic qualification which was taught and researched in English, you will need to demonstrate your competence in English to a prescribed minimum level.

For ILR, the minimum level is higher than it will have been for your entry clearance, and you must also demonstrate sufficient knowledge of life in the United Kingdom and Islands through passing a test.

The partner route to settlement is complex, with strict requirements and requires voluminous evidence. Each case is different and different rules apply depending on the circumstances.

Preparing an immigration application is not simply about form-filling: it is a complicated process involving lots of preparation, knowledge of the Immigration Rules, analysis and relevant experience. The application form does not spell out how to make a successful application under the Immigration Rules: it simply asks open questions, and it is very possible to give a wrong answer.

It is the Rules rather than the application form that set out precisely the supporting documents required for success. Partner visa applications are most often refused because the applicant has failed to include sufficient documentary evidence in support of their application, or supplies it in the wrong format or the evidence does not cover all aspects.

Kinley Legal is a fully qualified and insured law firm, specialising in Isle of Man immigration and British nationality work. All our lawyers are based in the Isle of Man and hold qualifications to practise not only in the Isle of Man, but also jurisdictions such as England and Wales, Ireland and South Africa. We have significant experience working with families to advise on the Partner and other family related immigration routes.

If you would like to make an appointment for a call, in-person meeting or online meeting to discuss your situation please get in touch by e-mail at immigration@kinleylegal.com or complete our simple contact form, and we would be pleased to help.