The Court of Appeal in BRITCITS v Secretary of State for the Home Department has ruled that the Immigration Rules on bringing adult dependent relatives to reside in the UK are lawful, and has refused to quash them.

A challenge to the lawfulness of the Rules was brought by BRITCITS, a pressure group formed to challenge the changes to the Immigration Rules of July 2012 These changes included the introduction of the minimum income threshold for partners, and the dramatic narrowing of the adult dependent relative category. They made it far more difficult to bring elderly relatives to reside in the UK.

The court was shown witness statements from solicitors who explained the hardships that the new rules had caused. They were invited to review the Rules from the perspective of a UK citizen with an elderly dependent parent resident outside the UK, where both the parent and the UK citizen wished for the parent's last years to be spent being cared for by their child in the UK. It was argued that the Immigration Rules in their present guise made it almost impossible for such a relative to be able to reside in the UK.

The court were unconvinced by arguments from the appellants about the failure of the Rules to comply with public law principles and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and found for the Home Office. The Court noted that 234 applications for entry clearance as adult dependent relatives under the new Rules succeeded before Entry Clearance Officers or on review by the Entry Clearance Manager, and a further 307 were granted on appeal. They failed to note how many had been refused, and of course the number of those deterred from applying altogether is unquantifiable.

The court’s reluctance to quash the Immigration Rules on adult dependent relatives will bring little comfort to those concerned about elderly parents with foreign citizenship, resident abroad. Gherson advises and assists with strategies for adult dependent relatives, and has been successful in human rights appeals before the First-tier Tribunal.