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Family Rules: effect on Elderly Dependent Relatives

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Posted on August 09th 2012

This is a guest post by Brett, a British citizen from Australia living and working in the UK.

Consider someone in the following scenario: British citizen, higher-rate tax payer, not claimed a penny in benefits, lives in own house, worked for HMG for several years, active member in community. No family in UK. Father - aged 63 - living alone in Australia, dependent on his British child. Yet, this British citizen cannot have his father join him in the UK.

Under the old Rules, a British person could sponsor parents, from the age of 65 who are financially dependent on the relative here subject to meeting certain requirements including a requirement to be  able to maintain and accommodate them. Under the new Rules parents will only be able to come to, or remain in the UK for settlement if they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided in the UK by their relative here and without recourse to public funds.

The Statement of Intent clarifies how this is intended to operate at paras, 118 – 125:

  1. Parent must be unable to wash/dress themselves and
  2. Parent, even with financial and practical help from British child, must be unable to obtain required level of care, because no such care is available and there is no one else in the country who can provide it, or because it is unaffordable and
  3. Sponsor must have sufficient income / savings to be able to look after their parent without recourse to public funds

In real terms, the Immigration Rules make this practically impossible to meet. Of course that’s not what the government has said, but having written to everyone, from Labour politicians to my local (Tory) MP; from Clegg to Cameron, not one has been able to give a single example of when a parent would satisfy the new criteria.

Family Friendly

It makes a mockery of the Conservative’s family manifesto of making “Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe”.

On a) your parent’s health must be so poor that they can’t dress or bathe themselves before you can sponsor them, but they must still be able to get on a plane, fly for hours (in this case, 24 hours) braving tiny toilets, to reach the UK. But that’s still not enough.

On b) If you can send them enough money to allow them to ‘buy’ help, you can’t sponsor them (completely ignoring the value of company and emotional support).

On c) If you don’t have enough money to send to them to buy help, this means you don’t have money to look after them in the UK without recourse to public funds - so you can’t sponsor them.

So you’re damned if you have the money and damned if you don’t.

Would you leave your parents welfare completely and totally to a stranger? When they’re 24 hours by plane away, is that even reasonable, given you can’t check on and meet them regularly?


Are these the values we want instilled in the next generation, given parents are often the ones who have made sacrifices in order for their child to have a better future – just to be abandoned when they need something in return? Is this what you’d want your child to do?

The government stating “...UK sponsor will not be required to meet the new financial requirement of a gross annual income of £18,600 to sponsor an adult dependant...” yet, “have no recourse to public funds” is therefore a farce and clearly contradictory in its application. 

What’s mind-boggling is that a British person cannot have their Australian (non EU but Commonwealth with the Queen still the head of state) parent living with them in Britain yet a German can have their parent, from anywhere in the world, join them in Britain. Does this sound as preposterous to you as it does to me? How have we let this government put us in the position where Brits have less rights in Britain, than Germans, Poles, French have in Britain!

This isn’t to implore the government to hasten our exit from EU, or to close this route to EU citizens as well – but a request to not close the door for hard working, tax-paying British citizens to live with their parents in Britain.

It’s even more frustrating to realise that Brits can join their children living in Australia subject to paying a bond. There are no conditions on health or age. Given more Brits move to Australia than the other way around, how about some reciprocity. Wouldn’t that be fair?


I pay nearly half my income in taxes. I’ve never claimed benefits. I have not brought in any family to live here.  Yet even with an undertaking that my dad will obtain private medical insurance and neither he nor I will claim benefits, the government won’t let him join me, because we cannot satisfy the new criteria (but then my point is, no one will). If anything, my father would volunteer, he would shop – he would be a net contributor to society and economy.

I plead with ALL of you to contact your MP to allow hard working, tax-paying Brits to have the right to live with their parents – especially when the parents have no one else to turn to.


It’s a shame the government is putting us in this position, because the only people who will lose is us, the British. Hard working Brits will leave this country to fulfil their duties to their parents.  This government will be long gone when the ramifications are felt and the next one will just continue with the blame game, as appears to be the norm.

I don’t want to leave my home – my friends, my life, my job.  If left with no choice I will. While I owe Britain a lot, I owe my father a lot more.

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