19th January 2016
Goeie dag (Afrikaans)

A huge welcome to our new subscribers with 2016 seeing a sharp rise in new joiners.  Several of you have requested sight of earlier mailers. available here.

The new year brings with it Home Office proposing to increase family visa application fees by a further 25%.  A table showing how the fees for spouse and ADR applications have evolved over the last few years is on our website.

From entry to ILR, non-EU spouses will pay around £8,000, though if the HO is able to charge the maximum proposed, it would be over £14,000.  The costs will be higher for those on the 10 year route to ILR, re-applying, appealing a refusal and indeed, if they've already paid to enter the UK earlier. 

Free movement looks increasingly attractive as, for the moment at least, applications made under EEA regulations have been spared the exorbitant fee increase.

Cameron yesterday announced that much of a £20m fund will be directed towards English lessons for Muslim women and that Muslim women who don't pass the test will be deported.  Sigh.  Here we go again.

Cameron is part of the government which drastically cut the funding available for English lessons across the country.  At a time when he cites wanting to promote integration as the reason for divisive immigration rules, preventing learning of English feels much like an own goal.  To now announce that some money (much less than was taken away) will be used to help women of a certain religion is actually causing further divisions and from the comments - even from people who have experienced the underhandedness of this government first hand - stoking resentment towards people of a religion who did not ask for 'special' treatment.

The requirement to pass an English test has been in place for years - it's not new.  However by saying Muslim women who don't pass the test will be deported, what Cameron neglects to mention is that ALL who are required to sit the test but don't pass it, may be deported - whatever their gender or religion.  This includes all spouses from non-EU countries here on family visas.  Again, nothing new, but likely a reinforcing and tightening of the rules following the Supreme Court decision that a pre-entry test was legal. 

The only change appears to be in the level of the English test required to be passed at the 2.5 year period when the spouse visa is extended....what used to be a pass at Level A1 may now be Level A2.  It's all clear as mud right now, but expect some clarity over the next few weeks, following which no doubt the government will change the requirements yet again.

A social media comment on this issue by a British citizen suggested that at this rate the UK government will require foreigners to speak better English than locals.  A joke, but perhaps with some underlying truth to it.

After being granted permission on the paper, we now wait for the Home Office to file their "Detailed Grounds of Defence", which includes any evidence they intend to rely on to counter our grounds.  They are supposed to do this by 25 January but it's unlikely Home Office will comply with this deadline.  Once they eventually do, we then get a chance to respond to the material they produce and then comes the hearing at the High Court.

You can still donate and for those who have made pledges, this is now a good time to come good on the pledges please.  An update on the legal challenge is located here

Do share with friends, family and colleagues who may still not realise the rules are now framed to prevent our being able to look after elderly relatives and indeed, may force British citizens to leave the UK.

From this week, Home Office indicates those who have applied from outside UK must use the online system for any queries relating to the BRP, such as errors or loss of the document.  Email addresses will not be in use from next month.

With no info seen on changes where the application has been made in the UK, assume no change or perhaps to be safe, also refer to the online system.

Advance notice for the booking of cheaper coach and train tickets - the #MMcase is scheduled to be heard at the Supreme Court on 22nd-24th February. 

If you can make it to London for the hearing, please do attend - seeing the public interest may have an impact on judges who otherwise can only really make a judgment based on the arguments and evidence presented. 

After the death of her father and brother, British citizen Dina naturally is concerned about her mother living alone in Russia.  What would you want in her shoes? Have mum move to the UK to be closer to you, or as the HO would have it, either abandon mum or leave the UK yourself?


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