Archive for May 5th, 2011

May 5, 2011

Changes to the Domestic Violence Immigration Rules – need to act quickly

Please see below a letter from Rights of Women – action needed by 9th May.  While this may only affect a relatively small number of women, the spirit of the change seems to go against everything that current VAWG policy is advocating, and the impact on women’s lives could be wholly disproportionate to any ‘unspent conviction’.  Please consider whether your organisation can support this.

Letter for endorsement re DV rule
On 6 April 2011 changes to the Immigration Rules took effect which introduced a requirement that applicants for settlement under paragraph 289A (the domestic violence rule) of the Immigration Rules be free of unspent convictions. The Immigration Rules already include a discretionary ground of refusal, which can be applied to any application, whereby a person can be refused settlement on the grounds of their unspent convictions. However, the new requirement is mandatory, and means that anyone who has an unspent conviction (however minor) is no longer eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the domestic violence rule.

We are concerned that the new requirement:

  1. Fails to reflect or address the realities that women who are eligible to apply under the domestic violence rule face;
  2. Undermines the Government’s commitments to eliminate violence against women; and,
  3. Will result in women remaining in abusive relationships.

On 20 April 2011, a delegation comprising of representatives from Eaves, the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, Rights of Women and Southall Black Sisters met with UKBA officials to discuss the changes (the notes from that meeting are attached). Following that meeting, we sent a letter to the Home Secretary to express our concerns and call on the Government to remove the new requirement. However, we will have more impact if we act together. We have therefore also drafted the attached letter for your consideration and urge you to encourage your organisation to either endorse it, or use it to draft your own letter.

Encourage your organisation to endorse the attached letter

It is essential that we act quickly to urge the Home Secretary to uphold her and the Government’s commitment to end violence against women and girls and to remove the mandatory requirement that applicants under the domestic violence rule are free from unspent criminal convictions.

To endorse the attached letter: please send a reply email confirming your organisation’s endorsement, including the name and job title of the person endorsing on behalf of the organisation (e.g. Emma Scott, Director, Rights of Women), by the end of Monday 9 May 2011.

Please send your endorsements to: <> . Alternatively, if you would rather send an individual letter, please feel free to cut and paste from this letter to construct your own.