PFA and their ex-partner

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    We have been paying a claim for a couple with five children from Zimbabwe. The claimant (Male) is a Refugee and came to the UK alone. Indefinite Leave to Remain was granted in Dec 04. We are unsure if he received any NASS payments. The partner joined him with the children in May 2005. However, the partner has now left due to Domestic Violence and made her own claim for benefit. Two of the children have remained with the father and three have left along with the mother.

    The partner’s VISA states ‘VISA FAMILY REUNION – Sponsor …husband…’ and also states ‘Indefinite Leave to enter the UK’. She has now made her own application for benefit.

    We are debating whether she would need to satisfy HRT2, or if she is exempt due to the Husband (but now ex-partners) Refugee Status. Also as her VISA is as a reunion and she is sponsored, would we need to inform the Home Office that they are no longer a couple.

    It has also now been discovered that they own a property in Zimbabwe which they rent out. After interviewing the female it appears that she remained in Zimbabwe with the children and the Husband came to the UK and sent money back for her to purchase the property in cash. She claims the Deeds to this property are in his name only, and the rental income that is received gets paid directly into his Zimbabwean bank account.

    Sorry this is a bit of a long one, but if any one has any views on the following questions they will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Does she need to satisfy HRT2?
    2. Do we need to inform the HO that they have split up?
    3. Would a Refugee be able to keep a bank account in Zimbabwe?
    4. Are you allowed to purchase property in a country you have fled from whilst claiming asylum in the UK?
    5. Would a Refugee be able to be the sole name on deeds in Zimbabwe as the property was purchased after he had fled?

    Thanks for your time.



    I think she is subject to immigration control as she is sponsored. If I am correct the matter ends there.

    As far as notifying the Home Office is concerned – I do not have the foggiest! – I think you would need a statutory authority to provide this info but am not aware of one existing.

    The property in Zimbabwe is rather more problematic. I do not think you need to worry about the legality of the bank account or the property ownership.

    I think there are restrictions on the transfer of monies out of Zimbabwe but not so sure if there are any in the opposite direction.

    The rental income derives from capital (I think). If so your concern is mainly the value of the property (and how someone on benefit can fund it!).

    My first thought was deprivation of capital but (a) he still possesses it. and (b) what was his purpose of buying the property in Zimbabwe?

    I don’t like it but suspect that you need to value the property in Zimabwe according to the price it would fetch in the UK and treat it as capital.

    You may be able to argue that the reduction in value due to the restrictions on funds transfers (if they exist) is deprivation – he could not have afforded to buy the gaff if it were not for the income from benefit and a significant operative purpose did, therefore, exist.

    Also, if he paid £X for it surely that is the minimum value in the UK. I suspect you will have trouble on that point – he bought it when he had a wife and children over there and I am not sure you can be looking to such a specific definition of a purchasor to make your valuation.

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