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  1. #1
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    Default Spouse Visa vs Settlement Visa

    Is there any difference between a SPOUSE and a SETTLEMENT visa?

    I have been informed by someone who used to work at a consulate that applying for a spouse visa via the consulate is easier than a settlement visa via the home office. However I don't seem to find much difference.

    I have been living outside the UK for 26 years, so it seems that I am unable to apply for a settlement visa before I have lived and worked in the UK for 6 months.

    Ideally I would prefer to move to the UK together with my Thai wife and our 2 children at the same time.

    I am able to secure full time work for the both of us in the UK.

    Any advice is really appreciated.

  2. #2
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    There is no difference..

  3. #3
    Premium Member Gary & Nok's Avatar
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    Your SPOUSE would have to apply for a SETTLEMENT visa to join you in the UK, so as TO1 says, no difference really.

    I assume you are aware of the funding (and all other details) required by you to enable a settlement application for your wife.
    Bye Bye EU Day 31st December 2020 (11 p.m.)

  4. #4
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    Hi Gary & Nok,

    Thanks for your reply. I have read the requirements for a settlement visa, (which I currently don't qualify for as I've been out of the UK for 26yrs and am still in Thailand).

    It was just that someone, who used to work in a consulate, mentioned to me that the 'spouse' visa was totally different. However he has not worked in this industry for more than 3 years and I suspect many changes have occurred since then.

  5. #5
    Premium Member Tom & Nok's Avatar
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    As already suggested by other posters, the specific category of visa for settlement as a spouse in the UK is "Family Life as the Partner of a person present and settled in the UK (5 year route)".

    If you do intend to return to the UK in the future and to sponsor your wife for settlement in the UK then you will need to become "settled" in the UK. Under the Home Office Immigration Rules, "settled" means being both ordinarily resident in the UK and without any immigration restriction on the length of your stay in the UK. I am assuming that your two children have UK passports and so are not subject to UK immigration control.

    The concepts of "settled status" and "ordinarily resident in the UK" have been tested in the courts, and there is useful guidance in "Assessing ordinary residence" for Home Office UKVI staff (October 2017).

    The Department of Health has published a useful tool to help NHS treatment providers to establish whether someone is ordinarily resident in the UK. There is a table which gives pointers as to how someone who has been out of the UK for a considerable period can go about gathering evidence to re-establish themselves as ordinarily resident in the UK again. According to this tool,

    "The longer a person has been in the UK, the stronger the indication that they are ordinarily resident. While the current ordinary residence guidance indicates that a person is less likely to be ordinarily resident if they have been here for under 6 months, it is important to note that a person can be ordinarily resident from the first day they arrive in the United Kingdom if they have genuinely come to settle for the time being."

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
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    Do these rules actually apply to a British citizen and passport holder returning with an established family? The alternative is to split the family up. The OP's children may well have British Passports but it may be difficult for him to work with his children here. In that case they would have to stay in Thailand with his wife. I'm just wondering about the legality of forcing an established family to live apart.

    I have long thought the new (now not so new) minimum income requirements and other changes to the sponsorship requirements were unfair but I've always looked at them from the point of view of someone wishing to bring his new wife to the UK. I've never considered them from the point of view of a British citizen who has been living abroad that has an established family.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input everyone.

    One son is not my biological son, 2nd who is only 1 week old is mine. I have a court date in December where I will be applying for legal guardianship on the non biological boy.

    So I can only establish a UK passport for the new baby unfortunately.

    I suppose that this means 2 settlement visas.

    What strikes me as strange is that I have not yet found any contingency for a family in our position. Where the father, me, is British but doesn't qualify as 'Ordinary Residence'.

    The thought of having to move to the UK alone while I work to qualify to bring my family with me, for a minimum of 6 months is horrific.

    I am pretty sure that in the current climate of the immigration powers that be, they have no issue splitting families up.

    I have contacted a UK immigration lawyer and can have a consultation with her over the phone for 375quid!
    So am considering that. If I get any new/useful info I'll add it to this thread.

    My wife has been offered a job in the UK as a head chef in an established Thai restaurant so there could be a way with a skilled labour visa for her, but as yet I don't know if that could be extended to include son #1 (who is not entitled to a UK passport)

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    Unfortunately I'm pretty sure they took chefs off the list.

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    Oh crap!

    I did find it in the listing titled "Immigration Rules Appendix K: shortage occupation list" on the gov.uk website under section 5434 -

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigrat...ccupation-list

    I hope it's not incorrect.....

  10. #10
    Premium Member Tom & Nok's Avatar
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    I've been having a look at some interesting recent cases involving UK expats living and working in the USA who have married US spouses and who now wish to return to settle in the UK with their non-EU spouse and children born in the USA. The principles seem to apply in the OP's case.

    A British citizen could be able to successfully argue that s/he is "ordinarily resident" in the UK upon their return to the UK if they can demonstrate that the reason for their return is settlement in the UK. This reflects the statement on the .GOV web site, "that a person can be ordinarily resident from the first day they arrive in the United Kingdom if they have genuinely come to settle for the time being."

    The main impediment for some expat UK applicants is often the familiar minimum financial requirement and this is well documented in the mainstream media.
    Last edited by Tom & Nok; 4th Nov 2017 at 11:42.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biri View Post
    Oh crap!

    I did find it in the listing titled "Immigration Rules Appendix K: shortage occupation list" on the gov.uk website under section 5434 -

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigrat...ccupation-list

    I hope it's not incorrect.....
    Nope, it appears you are correct but does she meet all the requirments in that section - especially the salary. Its clear they ain't talking about 'any old chef'.

    Always wondered, I don't see 'Professional Footballer' in any category yet a huge proportion of the players in UK clubs are foreign. How does that work then?

  12. #12
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    The employers are aware of the salary requirements and we can show that she has the relevant experience from here that she qualifies as a head chef. However, they would prefer not to go to the bother and will only do it if there is no chance of us getting a visa ourselves.

    I also don't know if son#1 could be included in that visa or not, as i mentioned, he is not biologically mine, although I am applying for guardianship. Still doesn't grant him any UK rights.

    As for the footballers... I dare say, if I had a few million quid in my back pocket, the rules would bend pretty easily. Good point though.

    - - - - - - - u p d a t e d - - - - - - -

    My other worry is whether its even possible to change that visa in the future to a settlement visa, without having to leave the UK and applying from abroad.. So many questions.
    Looks like I'l have to fork out the 375quid for the consultation with an immigration lawyer. She comes recommended through a friend of a friend who is also an immigration lawyer, but specialises in different areas, so hopefully it will be fruitful.

  13. #13
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    Would the Surinder Singh route be a possibility, getting a job etc in Southern Ireland and then getting free and expedited entry and then all through to the UK a few months later without the associated hassle and costs?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by KhunIanB-UK View Post
    Would the Surinder Singh route be a possibility, getting a job etc in Southern Ireland and then getting free and expedited entry and then all through to the UK a few months later without the associated hassle and costs?
    I was thinking the same myself Ian but hasn't SS been successfully challenged?

    - - - - - - - u p d a t e d - - - - - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Biri View Post

    I also don't know if son#1 could be included in that visa or not, as i mentioned, he is not biologically mine, although I am applying for guardianship. Still doesn't grant him any UK rights.
    Biri, I'm a little rusty on visas these days so I won't go into detail because I'm probably out of date but:


    If you go down the normal route and accept the unfairness of temporarily splitting your family up then you don't need a lawyer at all. All you would do is come to the UK, obtain work and meet the income requirements. Then you simply put in a settlement visa application for your wife and non-biological son - your biological son does not need a visa provided you have obtained a passport for him. Apart from the usual hoops you'll have to jump through, there's nothing too difficult or complicated about that - its the same as many of us here have done, except that normally we live in the UK already. Provided your wife meets all the entry requirements (language etc.) and you have provided adequate accommodation for your family, you should not have any problems.

    One thing I would warn against - not that you have mentioned it or even said its on the cards - when you make whatever type of application you do, always include your non-biological son. As many members here have found out, trying to get a child here later, when the parents are already in the UK can be very, very difficult and it gets harder as they get older. Just making you aware of that situation.
    Last edited by Flip; 5th Nov 2017 at 10:17.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for that Flip.

    That is my last resort, as I really don't want to have to spend 6-12 months apart from the family, (I understand its 12 months if self employed), but will have to if that's the only option for us.

    I just spent 2.5 months away and mother-in-law stepped up to help out. Which has now turned the 3yr old into a spoiled brat and much less controllable than under my care. I am currently re-introducing him to the concept that he is not a little king, he can't always have his own way and there is such a thing as "no" 555!

    So I am really not keen on being away for 6-12 months!

    I really want to make it before March next year, for all of us, as if we can do that, there is a job for my wife and accommodation for all of us as part of the deal.

    This is why I am leaning towards the skilled labour route for her, but don't know if this will allow her to take her son with that. This brings us to your last point. I have read about people getting over and then having awful difficulties bringing the wife's child later on and totally agree with you that this should be avoided. Again, that would also mean leaving him with mother-in-law and rolling back all the parenting I am doing once more!

    This is why I am inclined to have a chat with the lawyer and see what route if any is actually possible for us before March 2018.

    Thanks once more for your input

  16. #16
    Premium Member Tom & Nok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip View Post
    I was thinking the same myself Ian but hasn't SS been successfully challenged?
    Yes, under the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016, which came into effect on 25th November 2016, the SS route is no longer available for those who are found by the Home Office to have moved to another EU country for the purpose of circumventing UK immigration rules.

    Here's a quick summary of the government's new stance on the SS route:


    • the British citizen exercised free movement rights as a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or student in an EEA host country immediately before returning to the UK, or had acquired the right of permanent residence in the EEA host country, and
    • the British citizen would satisfy the conditions for being a qualified person if they were an EEA national, and
    • the family member and British citizen resided together in the other EEA member State and that residence was genuine, and
    • the purpose of the residence in the EEA host country was not as a means to circumvent any UK immigration law applying to non-EEA nationals (e.g. the Immigration Rules)

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