Sponsored immigrant from Somalia

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    We have received a claim from a single parent who entered the country in Dec 05 on a family reunion VISA – sponsored. Her sponsor is her husband. She states that her husband has now left her and her child and that he is no longer financially assisting her.

    Based on this information am I correct in thinking that she still does not have recourse to public funds? She has been awarded Income Support. Is this correct?


    In cases like this you need to study the claimant’s immigration status very carefully.

    She is a person subject to immigration control if:

    – she has a “no recourse to public funds” endorsement stamped in her passport, or
    – she has been subject to a sponsorship undertaking for less than five years, and remains subject to it.

    When spouses are admitted (usually for two years initially, followed by ILR if they keep their nose clean) the Home Office has to be satisfied that they can be maintained without recourse to public funds. But they might not insist on a formal undertaking to that effect: the Home Office might be satisfied by the evidence that an undertaking is not necessary. I understand that it is less common for spouses to be subject to a formal undertaking than other relatives – in fact quite rare. Any exchange of correspondence with the Home Office (especially letters from the RON series) will show her true status.

    If she is subject to a formal undertaking, she can apply for early ILR in this situation but I don’t know what her chances are. Unless and until her immigration conditions are varied by the HO, she will still be subject to any undertaking (assuming she was in the first place).


    I am very confused now.

    When she entered, her visa was initially only for 12 months from 04 to 05 stating – sponsor and giving her husbands name and address. HB has previously been awarded from Dec 05 based on a joint claim from her and her husband in receipt of Income Support. Would this entitlement to IS be correct? Would a letter from the home office confirm if her husband should maintain her financially and for what period? From Dec 05 does she then become an overstayer when her Visa expires? She states that she does not have any other letters from the home office.


    OK, that complicates it.

    If she was sponsored her husband should have completed form RON 112 – if he didn’t, then as I understand it there was not a formal sponsorship undertaking and so there was no reason why she could not be a claimant herself during the first 12 months.

    However, if her 12-month visa has run out then she would probably be a person requiring leave but not having it, in which case she is subject to immigration control and not entitled to benefit in her own right.

    Even if DWP has awarded her Income Support, this does not have an automatic passporting effect in HB and CTB for immigration control purposes – it is still up to the Council to make its own decision about that. While it would be interesting to know why DWP thought she could claim IS, and it would be useful to see any evidence they have relied on, this is still your call and from what you have said I would say she is an overstayer who requires leave but doesn’t have it.

    There is one possibility – if she applied for variation of her leave before it ran out, her leave continues until she gets a decision. But it doesn’t sound as if she did that … it does rather sound of she is the kind of apparition that haunts the nightmares of certain newspapers: someone who was admitted to the country for a short period with strict conditions and then just dropped off the radar.


    Would her original home office letter confirm if her husband had completed such a form?


    Someone who has been granted refugee status may apply for their family to come to the UK. The family enters the UK with the refugee acting as their sponsor. The visa issued to a family member of a refugee who arrives in the UK for settlement includes the term “VISA FAMILY REUNION (Sponsor)”.

    [u:5ee87a764c][b:5ee87a764c]This should not be interpreted as a reference to a sponsored immigrant who is not entitled to benefit [/b:5ee87a764c][/u:5ee87a764c](DWP Memo DMG JSA/IS 101 para 2).

    This is because a refugee is entitled to family reunion (see Immigration Rules HC 395, paras 352A-352F) and the usual rules regarding maintenance and accommodation do not apply.

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