What is Sole responsibility in the UK?
Sole responsibility under the immigration rules requires a British or permanent resident parent, or adoptive parent or guardian (referred to here as parent/ guardian), living in the UK to prove to the UK Home Office that they want to bring their non-British minor child/ children under 18 into this country. For instance, a parent/guardian with permanent residence or one who is a British citizen and who has moved to the UK may wish to bring their child into the country. Such a parent may probably have no other responsible partner to take care of the child in their mother country. In such a case, the parent is required by the Home Office to prove that they have sole responsibility for the child.
The sole responsibility law is usually out of sync with the family law stipulations. Nonetheless, it is still applicable in the UK, making bringing a child into the country such a huge ordeal. Read on to find out why this is so.
What is the Test for Sole Responsibility?
The Home Office immigration rules and regulations under part 8 of appendix FM indicate that a parent can bring their child to the UK. Nonetheless, such a parent who is settled in the UK or is a British citizen has to meet a particularly rigorous test to be granted this opportunity. This burden of proof is to convince the Home Office that the parent has the sole responsibility of the child. So, the question is, what does the Home Office consider as sole responsibility?
There are three main measures that a parent must prove to the immigration department.
- Proof of having the child’s legal responsibility
- Proof of having the sole financial responsibility to the child
- Evidence of being the primary guardian of the child
Which Criteria does the Home Office Use?
There are several vital leading questions that the home office department uses as the basis of determining sole responsibility eligibility. After asking these questions, the department then decides on whether a parent qualifies for sole responsibility or not.
Here’s a few of them:
1.Which parent is responsible for overseeing the daily undertakings of the child?
The applicant must prove that they have the dominant role of taking on decisions for the child, even though they may be physically apart. Payment of school fees, telephone calls to the child or the person looking after the child and giving that person directions concerning matters relating to the child, such as medication, homework etc. are important factors, as are telephone calls by the child to the parent or guardian with whom the child may discuss personnel matters relating to their day-to-day life seeking guidance and advice. If there is a lack of these issues, then the application will be unsuccessful.
2. Which parent is more often in direct contact with the child?
The parent or guardian applying for the child to come to the UK must prove they play a dominant role with respect to the child’s day to day welfare and the absence of such contact with their child is likely to hamper the child’s welfare.
3. Which parents oversee the child’s financial needs
The parent or guardians applying for their child to come to the UK show they are financially responsible for the child. If both parents, one applying for the child to come to the UK, and the other parent living abroad, are equally financially involved in upbringing the child, then the parent/ guardian in her UK may not be able to succeed in the application, and they may find difficulty in showing sole responsibility.
4. Which parent determines how the child will be brought up
The applying parent/guardian must also be the one making the key decisions about the upbringing of the child. He/she must be the one with the overarching responsibility of determining where the child will study, the religious denomination, and where the child will live.
5. Is there a lack of contact with the child?
The applying parent/ guardian should prove that their physical absence from the child is not in the child’s best interests, and it is insufficient to maintain contact via phone, email, or social media and that the person looking after the child currently can no longer do so for whatever reasons.
Is Legal Responsibility Sufficient Proof?
Unfortunately, legal responsibility is insufficient proof of sole responsibility according to the Home Office stipulations. Therefore, it would be inadequate for a parent just to provide proof of child custody by a family court. Nonetheless, legal responsibility counts as one of the critical considerations when the ECO (entry clearance officer) determines the visa application.
Sole responsibility is quite a complex thing that even most people cannot predict the success of their applications. Several UK courts have made key landmark rulings as they seek to explain what it all entails. Nonetheless, it remains such a complex issue that you need to have the best solicitors to stand a chance of your child being granted a visa to enter the UK.
Our family lawyers UK are nonetheless highly experienced in family law and will be handy in increasing your chances of being granted sole responsibility. Don’t hesitate to engage us, and a team of highly accomplished lawyers will be assigned to your case immediately.
Are there alternative options?
You must primarily prove that you meet the sole responsibility criteria to facilitate bringing a child to the UK. Nonetheless, many people find it challenging to meet the above conditions. There are two main alternatives, but they do not offer the full assuredness of bringing a child.
- The parent may argue that several compelling and profound reasons support their decision to bring a child to the UK.
- The parent may also contend that the European Convention of Human Rights 1950, as incorporated in the Human Rights Act 1998 (article 8 the right to private and family life), supports the right to family life for the child to come to the UK.
Is the UK Family Law and Home Office in Synch?
There is a clear contrast in how the UK law versus the immigration department handles parental responsibility. For the family law, it is now widely accepted that both parents play a cardinal role in a child’s welfare. For Home Office, this is not the case, and sole responsibility by a parents/ guardian is seen as the main path enabling a child abroad to be granted indefinite leave to enter the UK to join their parent.
This lack of synch means that there is a huge gap in facilitating the wellbeing of the child of a British or settled parent. It also implies that you need to engage the services of the best solicitors in the country to stand a chance of winning your application.
At Gulbenkian Andonian, we understand how difficult it is to succeed in a sole responsibility claim. Nonetheless, we have won several key cases for clients and can confidently say that we will solve yours. Our family law lawyers are experienced in such matters and will give your case the best chances of succeeding. Contact us, and we will immediately assign you a solicitor to guide you.
Armen Andonian is the CEO of Solicitors Marketing, a London-based legal marketing agency. He is a legal content marketing expert who writes on UK individual immigration, business immigration, family law, finance, employment law and intellectual property. He has a passion for researching and communicating complex legal concepts and ideas in a clear and engaging manner and has developed a reputation as a highly skilled and versatile author on UK law-related issues. He has written for numerous publications, both online and offline, and his work has been featured in a variety of high-profile media outlets.