By Crystal Dias
London – There has been an increase in the visibility of Filipino women in British society. Despite this, there are still many issues that Filipino women face in the UK today.
Many come to the UK as a spouse or partner of a British citizen or someone with settled status. Most Filipino women meet their partner via online dating site. Online dating has become a popular way to meet potential romantic partners, but it also comes with its own set of risks and perils. One of the main concerns is the possibility of encountering individuals who are not who they claim to be. It can be a breeding ground for harassment, with many users reporting unwanted messages and unsolicited explicit content. More worrying, there is the risk of meeting individuals who have malicious intentions, such as those who may want to take advantage of vulnerable individuals or engage in criminal activity or perpetrate domestic violence.
VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Domestic violence and abuse can be emotional, psychological, physical, sexual or financial (Domestic Violence Act 2021). Victims who are subjected to threatening or controlling behaviour to try to harm, isolate or frighten them are placed in a vulnerable position. For those whose stay in the UK is limited, the stress and trauma of running away from their partner are even greater.
If you are living in the UK as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner of a British Citizen or person settled in the UK, you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK if the relationship has broken down because of domestic violence or abuse. The Home Office must be informed if you separate from your partner and your visa is based on that relationship.
If you are able to meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules (Immigration Rules part 8: family member Paragraph 289 and Appendix FM Section DVILR: Indefinite leave to remain (settlement) as a victim of domestic abuse) with documentary evidence to prove that the main reason for the breakdown of the relationship was due to domestic violence, you will be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK (otherwise known as ‘settlement’).
If you submit evidence to show that your relationship has broken down
Because you have been subjected to domestic violence from someone other than
Your partner, you can still qualify for settlement under the rule. Evidence must clearly show that the violence has been the reason for the breakdown of the relationship between you and your partner, for example where the person who abuses you is a relative of your partner and your partner offers no protection against that relative.
A settlement status gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like and apply for benefits if eligible. This can also be used to apply for British citizenship.
When to apply
Apply for indefinite leave to remain as soon as possible after the relationship breaks down. Do not wait until your current visa expires.
Fees and how long it takes
The application fee is £2,404 per person, unless you do not have enough money to support yourself. You can include your children on your application if they’re eligible.
You also need to pay £19.20 per person to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.
You’ll usually get a decision about your application within 6 months.
If you do not have enough money to support yourself or if you cannot pay the fee, then you may apply for a fee-waiver. You do not have to pay the fee if you can provide evidence that you:
Evidence can include bank statements, a signed letter from your local authority or a signed letter from an agency that’s been giving you support.
If you need support while waiting for a decision , you can apply for the ‘Victim of Domestic Violence Concession’ to:
Get permission to stay in the UK for 3 months
Be able to claim benefits, for example so you can find somewhere safe to live
If you apply for the concession and then resume your relationship with your partner, you may not be eligible to apply to settle as their partner.
For guidance on how to make an application as a victim of domestic violence or if you have general queries on UK Immigration Law, please visit www.diassolicitors.com. Dias Solicitors/Lawyery.co offer free initial consultation.