Immigration - Consequences upon Divorce
If an individual is granted permission (leave) to remain in the UK as the spouse of a settled person and their marriage ends in divorce, unless they come within specific categories such as a bereaved spouse or someone who has been subjected to domestic violence, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will expect them to leave the UK. The exception to this is if the individual can apply to remain in the UK based upon another category of the immigration rules. In this scenario, the question is whether following divorce, it is possible for the applicant to “switch” their status to another category from within the UK. If it is, then an investigation needs to be done of which category they can switch into and whether they meet the appropriate rules.
If the applicant cannot switch into another category from within the UK, then they will need to leave the UK. An investigation can still be undertaken as to what options, if any, are available to them in order to seek to return back to the UK. For example, it may be the case that they have set up in business and qualify for an entrepreneur visa (Tier 1) or have been employed doing a suitable job with a UK Border Agency licensed employer. In this case, they may qualify to return back to the UK as a Tier 2 (Skilled) worker.
We are consulted by many clients who, unfortunately, have encountered difficulties in their relationship which has led to the marriage ending in divorce. Those clients may have either been granted permission to remain in the UK on account of their spouse / partner being settled here or upon the basis that their spouse / partner was holding a points based system (PBS) visa / permit.
If an individual has been granted a residence document confirming their right to reside in the UK following their marriage to an EEA National and their marriage ends in divorce, there are specific provisions which may enable the applicant to retain their right of residence in the UK provided specific criteria are met.
It is important to obtain specialist advice at the earliest opportunity in order to consider all options available.
Please contact Sohan Sidhu, Immigration Partner, who would be delighted to provide immigration advice to those worried about their immigration status following separation or divorce.
We regularly act for clients who live abroad but whose divorce proceedings are conducted in England and Wales.
Initial assessment via Webcam
Elizabeth Hodder and Julie McDonald can conduct initial assessment meetings via webcam on Skype, if your PC is compatible [typically 9:00 to 17:30 UK time].
To download a PDF brochure summarising our Immigration Services, please click here.