Under the current immigration rules, non-EEA dependant family members (including partners and children) of a UK based visa holder may be able to apply to join them. However, a dependant is only permitted to remain in the UK as long as the primary visa holder remains here. If they leave, they will also lose their right to stay as a dependant. However, after five years of continuous residence in the UK, the primary visa holder will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), meaning they are then free of immigration control. At this point, the dependant is also then able to acquire ILR. And crucially, once a dependant has ILR, they are no longer tied to the primary visa holder from an immigration standpoint, meaning if the principal visa holder leaves the UK, the dependant with ILR can remain.
Under the Points-Based-System (PBS), dependant family members of visa holders can apply to join the main visa holder in the UK, and after a period of time (typically five years) may be eligible for ILR.
The immigration rules state that dependant partners of PBS or Appendix W migrants must complete a 5-year probationary period before they qualify for ILR. Appendix W refers to those on the start-up and innovator visas. This may mean that the main visa holder gains ILR before their dependant partner completes their probationary period, however, they can apply for further leave; according to the immigration rules If the PBS or Appendix W migrant obtains ILR or British citizenship before their partner has completed their 5-year probationary period, the partner can still apply for further leave to remain as a PBS or Appendix W dependant rather than as the partner of a settled person. If their application meets the requirements, leave to remain can be granted for up to 3 years.
Related article: Read also 'Key questions answered on the PBS dependant migrant route'
In order to be eligible for ILR as a partner of a PBS migrant, an applicant must:
To be eligible for ILR as a dependant child of a PBS migrant, the applicant must be the child of either a parent who:
person who has ILR as a PBS migrant or an Innovator
person who has become a British citizen (when immediately before that they
had ILR as a PBS migrant or an Innovator)
A dependent child applying for ILR will also need to have, or have last been granted, leave as the child of a PBS migrant (or Appendix W Worker or their partner), who is being granted indefinite leave. Furthermore, they must meet the knowledge of English language and life in the UK requirements (unless they are under the age of 18 on the date that they make their application)
The immigration rules around gaining limited and indefinite leave to remain as a dependant family member can be complex. If you are unsure if you meet the requirements for ILR as a child or partner of the main applicant, or whether you may be better advised to apply through a different route, then it is recommended you speak to immigration Solicitors. Doing so may save you time and money, and allow you to secure ILR to remain in the UK as soon as possible.
Related article: Read more on 'How to bring a Dependant to join you in the UK'
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