How to Bring Parents to the UK

Immigration Word Cloud

There are many reasons for people settled in the UK, either with Indefinite Leave to Remain or British Citizenship, to bring their elderly parents to live in their adopted country.  Living away from family is a difficult choice to make.  And for some, it was not a choice at all.  Many have overcome hardship and suffering to claim Asylum in Britain.  These people live daily with feelings of guilt, aware that their loved ones are living with danger and deprivation.

In theory, the question, “can I bring my elderly parents to the UK?” is an easy one to answer.  The Adult Dependent Relative Visa, sometimes known as the Elderly Dependent Visa is designed to allow those settled in the UK to bring family members to live with them.

However, in practice, the Adult Dependent Relative Visa is notoriously difficult to secure and justifies investment in an experienced immigration lawyer to achieve the best result.

The eligibility criteria for an Adult Dependent Relative visa

In 2012, the British Government changed the rules for Adult Dependent visas.  Prior to the change, a person settled in the UK could bring an elderly relative to the UK provided they could show they could be financially supported and accommodated.  The elderly relative could also apply for immediate settlement.

However, from July 2012, the criteria for bringing elderly parents to the UK became much tougher and stringently enforced.

To bring a dependent parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son, or daughter to the UK to live with you, it must be proven that:

  • they need long-term care to do every day personal and household tasks because of illness, disability, or their age
  • the care they need is not available or affordable in the country they currently live in
  • you, as the sponsor, will be able to support, accommodate and care for the applicant without claiming public funds for at least five years

To sponsor an adult dependent relative, you need to be 18 years or over.

Long-term care for every day personal and household tasks

The medical threshold for this is high.  To bring an elderly parent to the UK, you must show that they cannot perform even the simplest of everyday tasks such as cooking, washing, and dressing.  In 2013, an unreported case, Osman v ECO [OA/18244/2012] established guidance on how these rules should be interpreted. 

In Osman, Senior immigration Judge (SIJ) Craig stated that, “everyday tasks” includes mobility and, as a matter of common sense, to include the ability to leave one’s home and interact with the world outside engaging in everyday living activities.”  He concluded that an Adult Dependent Relative visa should be granted to the applicant in this case, as she suffered from severe mental health issues, including schizophrenia and was effectively a prisoner in her own home.

The care is not available or affordable in the applicant’s home country

This element of the criteria is where many UK elderly dependent visas are refused.  It must be read in conjunction with the final part of the criteria, that the sponsor can financially support and accommodate their elderly parent/s.  UK Visas and immigration officials are likely to conclude that if the sponsor can afford to pay for their elderly parent to live in the UK, they are likely to have the financial resources to pay for care in the applicant’s home country.

Apart from countries ravaged by war such as Syria, medical and social care is available in most nations, even if very limited.  Therefore, it is difficult for even the best immigration solicitors to overcome the double-edged sword the Home Office has dealt to sponsors; you are damned if you do have sufficient funds and damned if you don’t.

In Osman, the applicant’s mental health issues were severe enough for SIJ Craig to conclude that any carers coming into her home would be like a ‘stranger,' making it impossible to provide the care in her home country.

Bringing an elderly relative to the UK under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The recent case of Dasgupta (error of law – proportionality – correct approach) [2016] UKUT 28 (IAC) confirmed that the Article 8 of the ECHR is flexible enough to bypass the Adult Dependent Relative rules by reference to ‘exceptional circumstances.'

This provides hope for those who have had an UK elderly dependent visa refused.

It allows for applicants to appeal outside of the immigration rules by relying on Article 8.

Multi-Entry Family Visitor Visa

The other alternative to an Adult Dependent Relative visa is to apply for a Long-term Visit Visa.  If you can prove you need to visit the UK regularly over a long period, you can apply for a visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit.

Although this is not ideal, as elderly parents cannot spend more than six months out of 12 in the UK, it does give you a period to care for their needs and ensure they are healthy enough to return to their home country.

It is imperative that you instruct an experienced immigration lawyer to get the best advice before going down the multi-entry visitor visa route.  If you initially apply for an Adult Dependent Visa and your application is rejected, you may jeopardise any future visitor visa applications.  This is because one of the key criteria for securing a visitor visa is that you can prove you have no plans to remain in the UK permanently.  immigration officials must be confident that you will leave the UK and return to your home country at the end of your six-month stay.

Final words

There is no glossing over the fact that trying to bring parents to the UK is difficult.  Your best chance of success is to instruct an experienced immigration solicitor before you submit a visa application to UK Visas and immigration.  They can advise you on the best route to take, based on your circumstances, giving you a greater chance of gaining a positive result.

OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London.  Our immigration team dealing with ILR applications comprises of Smit Kumar, Hans Sok Appadu, and Maryem Ahmed, all of whom would be happy to talk to you about bringing your parents to the UK.

By making an appointment with one of our immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today. 

If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0203 959 9123.



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