There has been a change to the residence requirements for PBS partners which will affect anyone applying on or after 11 January 2018. From 11 January 2018 PBS dependant partners will need to meet residence requirements. Absences from the UK must not be more than 180 days a year.

This change applies to all Tier 1 and Tier 2 dependant partners. It is likely to affect partners of Tier 1 (Investors) the most. The change will affect new applicants applying for their first PBS partner visa/residence permit or those extending their stay where that extension takes place on or after 11 January 2018.

For example, someone applying on 1 March 2018 for an extension to the Tier 1 (Investor) partner visa would be granted a two year extension if the application is made in the UK. The partner, for the period 1 March 2018- 1 March 2020 would need to meet the residence requirements and show that their absences for each year are not more than 180 days.

Clients applying for their first visas from 11 January 2018 should consider whether their dependant partner can meet residence requirements and if not consider applying before 11 January 2018.

Clients already on their visas and extending on or after 11 January 2018 should consider whether their partner can meet the residence requirements for the period of the extension. If not they should consider extending their visas and their partners’ visas before the 11 January 2018. This might mean that two extensions are required before being eligible for Indefinite Leave to remain as the first extension has been filed too early, but at least the residence requirements will only need to be met at the point the second extension application is made.

Extensions can be made in the UK using the Super Premium appointment service or by post. We understand there are no Super Premium appointments available before 11 January unless there are last minute cancellations. Postal applications on average take between 4-8 weeks but the applicants will not be able to leave the UK during the application process.

Another option is for clients in Tier 1 Investor and Entrepreneur affected by these changes to consider making an entry clearance (visa) extension application for themselves and their partners. Extension applications can be made outside the UK in the country of nationality or residence. Processing times depend on the British post. For example applications filed in Russia take on average 6 weeks from submission but in the USA they can take two weeks using the priority visa service. Extension applications filed in the UK are issued for a 2 year period and extensions issued outside the UK are issued for 3 years 4 months.

Clients should exercise care when considering what steps they should take regarding their applications and take legal advice.

We are in discussion with the Home Office to either amend the change so it does not apply to extensions or delay its introduction. We will update you should the Home office agree to changes.