Settlement as a Victim of Domestic Abuse

In some situations, if a migrant experiences domestic abuse from their sponsor (which might be but does not have to be physical violence) they might be able to apply for settlement on that basis. “Abuse” in this context is very broadly defined; it can be emotional/psychological abuse, but it much reach a certain threshold to qualify as such. The abuse might not come wholly or even partly from the sponsor; it might come wholly or partly from someone acting in collusion with the sponsor.

For the applicant to satisfy the rule the sponsor must be either a British citizen, settled, hold refugee leave, or hold qualifying Pre-Settled Status.

The applicant must hold or must have held leave as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, or as a partner under the Refugee Reunion rules, and they must show with appropriate evidence that during their grant of leave, or last grant of leave if there is more than one, they experienced domestic abuse that has caused the relationship to permanently break down. Children of the applicant can apply as dependants.

Overstayers may apply, and there are no further English language requirements.

Note the interesting fact that the Home Office’s published guidance and instructions are, at the time of writing (August 2023), out of date and wrong. The correct position is as described in the Immigration Rules (the case of R on the application of SWP v SSHD [2023] EWCA Civ 439 refers).

If the application is successful, the applicant’s partner visa will be of no further effect, and they will no longer be bound by the relevant visa rules.

There is also the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession, whereby applicants who have experienced domestic abuse can apply for three months’ leave before they submit the Victim of Domestic Abuse settlement application, and for this period they can claim certain benefits.

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    Settlement as a victim of domestic abuse

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