What is Domestic Violence?
‘Domestic Violence is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality’.
We recently made a few successful applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the category of Domestic Violence. This article explores the requirements of ILR and procedural requirements for a successful application as a victim of domestic violence.
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What is included?
- What is Domestic Violence?
- Types of domestic violence
- General Rule
- Breakdown of relationship
- Fee Remission
- What would you do next?
Types of Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence includes psychological, physical sexual and financial abuses and coercive behaviour. Domestic violence includes the pressure from family and extended family members into forced marriages, threats concerning “Family Honour”, verbal and physical abuse, belittling, withholding money, freedom to speak, disconnection of the phone, threat to take children or taking the car away, disrespect, humiliation, breakdown in trust, isolation, harassment, sexual and physical violence etc.
The rules on domestic violence are specific to married or civil partners of a person present and settled in the UK. The victim must be the spouse or civil partner of a British national or ILR holder and was granted leave to enter or remain as a spouse of such a person. In 2019, the Home Office introduced the third category and included partners or spouses of the Refugees to apply for ILR, provided they are a victim of Domestic Violence.
Breakdown of Relationship
The starting point in Domestic Violence applications is the provision of the evidence from the applicant that the relationship between the partners has been completely broken down during the probation time period. The probation period could be 2, 5 or 10 years depending upon the route under which the last leave as a spouse was granted.
In many cases, it is likely that the victim of domestic violence may not have any legal status or leave. Evidence suggests that the abusive partners tend not to renew the existing leaves of their partners in order to further exert pressure and exercise undue influence. However, the Home Office recognises this situation and as a result, allows the victim to apply as soon as possible even where the spouse’s or civil partner’s existing leave is either curtailed or simply expired without renewal.
The lack of existing leave to remain has no bearing on further immigration application as a victim of domestic violence.
Home Office Fee Remission
As a victim of domestic violence, the applicant is likely to be destitute and will be entitled to the legal aid. In the worst-case scenario where no legal aid is available, the victim can still apply for the fee remission and there is a good chance that the home office may waive the fee where the applicant does not have means to pay the fee.
The Home Office has listed the acceptable form of documents as evidence of domestic violence and abuse. This includes a medical report or letter from the GP clearly stating that the existing condition of the applicant is directly the result of domestic violence, Medical records, social services record, police incident logs, subject access reports and most importantly a non-molestation order or an Undertaking from the perpetrator is also required.
There is no time limit specified by the Home Office. The process could easily take over a year. Also, the Home Office would like to see the outcome of the Non-Molestation case in the Family Court.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or just need further advice. You can now speak to our experienced family and immigration team instantly through mobile, tablets and PCs.
What would you do next?
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This Article is Written by Syed Aamir
Solicitor | LLB|