“When people from overseas choose to make a life in the UK they are not entitled to expect that they will later be able to bring their parents to join them. The Government has decided as a matter of considered policy that that right should generally be restricted to cases satisfying the strict criteria set out in the sections denoted EC-DR and ILR-DR under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules; and in Britcits this Court has found that policy to be legitimate. The Appellant did not apply under those rules, no doubt because she could not on the evidence have satisfied their requirements. That is not in itself conclusive that the refusal of leave to remain would be proportionate; but, as Carr LJ explains, it is highly material, and like her I can see no error of law in the Judge’s evaluation.
I should say that the Appellant has not assisted her cause by overstaying for almost two years between the expiry of her visitor’s visa in July 2015 and her making of the present application….”, as per Lord Justice Underhill Mobeen v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 886 (14 June 2021)
On the basis of Mobeen v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 886 (14 June 2021), parents or other dependant adult relatives viewed as having sought to circumvent the demanding entry clearance Adult Dependent Relative route by coming as visitors to the UK, overstaying and then applying for leave to remain outside the Immigration Rules, are unlikely to succeed in their Article 8 family life claims.
The appellant, a 66-year-old widow of Pakistan nationality, had been a frequent visitor to the UK from September 2007 and last entered the UK in June 2014 on a visitor’s visa.
She had a son and two daughters, in the UK all of whom are residents in the UK and are British citizen. The appellant visited her children in the UK, spending only 12 months in Pakistan after 2011 and the rest of her time in the UK.
On 14 July 2017 the appellant made an application for leave to remain on the basis of her family and private life in the UK on the basis that it was unreasonable to expect her to leave the UK on account of her circumstances. She was living with her son and financially dependent on her children, in particular her son. The children were all financially independent and supported her with private healthcare insurance and accommodation in the UK. She would not be relying on public funds or NHS services. Her daughter, was also very dependent on the appellant for childcare for her young son, the appellant’s grandson. The appellant suffered from arthritis and high blood pressure. Her application was refused by decision dated 11 January 2018.
Both the First Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal dismissed her appeal against the refusal decision.
COURT OF APPEAL’S SUMMARY OF PRINCIPLES RELATING TO FAMILY LIFE IN THE CASE OF ADULTS
As regards the Court of Appeal’s summary of the relevant principles relating to family life in the case of adults, the following flows from their judgement:
“43.As set out above, the appellant’s application for leave so far as relevant to this appeal was not made under either of the above routes, but rather outside the Immigration Rules on the basis of Article 8 which provides:
“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
- There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
44.The relevant principles relating to family life in the case of adults have been explored in a line of well-known authorities including Kugathas; Singh v ECO New Delhi  EWCA Civ 1075 (“Singh 1”); ZB (Pakistan) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 834 (“ZB”); Singh v SSHD  EWCA Civ 630 (“Singh 2”); Britcits; AU v SSHD  EWCA Civ 338 (“AU”). The position can be summarised as follows.
45.Whether or not family life exists is a fact-sensitive enquiry which requires a careful assessment of all the relevant facts in the round. Thus it is important not to be overly prescriptive as to what is required and comparison with the outcomes on the facts in different cases is unlikely to be of any material assistance.
46.However, the case law establishes clearly that love and affection between family members are not of themselves sufficient. There has to be something more. Normal emotional ties will not usually be enough; further elements of emotional and/or financial dependency are necessary, albeit that there is no requirement to prove exceptional dependency. The formal relationship(s) between the relevant parties will be relevant, although ultimately it is the substance and not the form of the relationship(s) that matters. The existence of effective, real or committed support is an indicator of family life. Co-habitation is generally a strong pointer towards the existence of family life. The extent and nature of any support from other family members will be relevant, as will the existence of any relevant cultural or social traditions. Indeed, in a case where the focus is on the parent, the issue is the extent of the dependency of the older relative on the younger ones in the UK and whether or not that dependency creates something more than the normal emotional ties.
47.The ultimate question has been described as being whether or not this is a case of “effective, real or committed support” (see AU at ) or whether there is “the real existence in practice of close personal ties” (see Singh 1 at ).
48.Assuming that family life is established and Article 8 thus engaged, the relevant question (when dealing with the application of Article 8 to the removal of non-settled migrants who have developed a family life with someone while residing unlawfully in the host state) can be put in one of two ways, one positive and one negative:
- i) Whether or not the applicant’s right to respect for his/her family life under Article 8 imposes on the host country an obligation to permit him/her to continue to reside there (a positive obligation); or
- ii) Whether or not removal would be a disproportionate interference (a negative obligation).
As was remarked in Ali v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 60;  1 WLR 4799 (by Lord Reed at ), however, the mode of analysis is unlikely in practice to make any difference to the outcome. One is essentially asking the same question and considerations of onus of proof are unlikely to be important where the relevant facts have been established. Ultimately, whether the case is considered to concern a positive or negative obligation, the question is whether a fair balance between the relevant competing interests has been struck.
49.A central consideration when assessing the proportionality of the removal of non-settled migrants from a contracting state in which they have family life is whether the family life was created at a time when the persons involved were aware that the immigration status of one of them was such that the persistence of that family life within the host state would from the outset be “precarious”. In such cases, it is likely only to be in exceptional circumstances the removal of the non-national family member will constitute a violation of Article 8 (see Agyarko at  approving Jeunesse (at ))
50.What was meant by “exceptional circumstances” was made clear at  to  in Agyarko, namely circumstances in which a refusal would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the individual such that the refusal of the application would not be proportionate. This is to be assessed in the context of a proportionality exercise which gives appropriate weight to the policy in the Immigration Rules, considers all factors relevant to the specific case in question, and ultimately assesses whether, giving due weight to the strength of the public interest in the removal of the person in the case before it, the Article 8 claim is sufficiently strong to outweigh it. In general, in cases concerned with precarious family life, a very strong or compelling claim is required to outweigh the public interest in immigration control.
52.Thus, in considering the question of proportionality, the courts must, albeit at a general level, take the SSHD’s policy (as reflected in the Immigration Rules) into account and give it considerable weight, alongside a consideration of the relevant facts of the case in question”.
Court of Appeal’s conclusion on whether a family life existed between the Appellant and her adult children
In finding that a family life existed between the Appellant and her adult children in the UK, the Court reasoned as follows:
- The First Tier Tribunal Judge (FTT Judge)’s conclusion that family life did not exist was unsustainable as a matter of principle.
- That family life existed was apparent on the basis of the FTT Judge’s own findings of fact, with which there was no need to interfere for this purpose.
- In reaching his conclusion that the appellant had not established family life for the purpose of Article 8, the FTT Judge appeared to have been influenced by his view that, were the appellant to be in Pakistan, her children could still provide for her, house her, pay for carers, check that she had taken her medication and “in effect either directly or indirectly do all of the things they currently do”. The Court of Appeal however concluded that put the cart before the horse: the question of whether or not arrangements would be the same or similar in Pakistan, whilst potentially relevant to the question of proportionality, was immaterial to the question of whether or not family life in the UK existed in the first place.
- Further, whilst the FTT Judge recognised the practical support provided by her children, he appeared to have failed to take proper account of additional key features, in particular: the fact that the appellant had co-habited with her son (and younger daughter) in the UK since 2014. This was not necessarily sufficient to establish family life of itself but it was certainly a very powerful factor; the fact that the appellant’s children provided not just practical and financial support but also emotional support in circumstances where the appellant, already widowed, had recently lost her family home in Pakistan to fire; the fact that the appellant provided support to her daughter and care for her grandson.
- These were all matters which, at least cumulatively, went beyond the existence of normal emotional ties; they provided clear grounds for a finding that the appellant’s children provided their mother with real and effective support and that she in turn had a real dependency on them. Thus, the FTT Judge was wrong to hold that family life did not exist, and the Upper Tribunal Judge, who was clearly troubled by that finding, was wrong to uphold the FTT Judge’s decision to this effect.
- The Court of Appeal indicated that to this extent, they would allow the appeal.
APPLICABLITY OF THE ADULT DEPENDANT RULES
The Court of Appeal set out the requirements of the Entry Clearance Adult Dependant Relative Rules (ADR ECR):
“37.The ADR ECR came into force on 9 July 2012 as part of changes to the Family Migration Rules. They provide for the granting of entry clearance as an ADR. To meet the eligibility requirements for entry clearance as an ADR all of the requirements in E-ECDR.2.1 to 3.2 must be met (see E-ECDR.1.1). Those requirements so far as material are as follows:
2.1 The applicant must be the-
(a) parent aged 18 years or over;…
of a person (“the sponsor”) who is in the UK.
2.3 The sponsor must at the date of application be-
(a) aged 18 years or over; and
(b) (i) a British citizen in the UK; or
(ii) present and settled in the UK;…
2.4 The applicant…must as a result of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks.
2.5 The applicant…must be unable, even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor, to obtain the required level of care in the country where they are living, because-
(a) it is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it; or
(b) it is not affordable.
3.1 The applicant must provide evidence that they can be adequately maintained, accommodated and cared for in the UK by the sponsor without recourse to public funds.
3.2 If the applicant’s sponsor is a British citizen or settled in the UK, the applicant must provide an undertaking signed by the sponsor confirming that the applicant will have no recourse to public funds, and that the sponsor will be responsible for their maintenance, accommodation and care, for a period of 5 years from the date the applicant enters the UK if they are granted indefinite leave to enter.”
38.If the applicant meets the requirements for entry clearance as an ADR of a British Citizen or person settled in the UK they will be granted indefinite leave to enter; if not, the application will be refused (see D-ECDR.1.1 and D-ECDR.1.3)”.
Following that the Court summarised relevant principles:
“39.These rules were considered in Britcits upon a judicial review challenge to their lawfulness. The claimant charity contended, amongst other things, that the rules were incompatible with Article 8. The claim failed. As for Article 8, it was held i) that family life engaging Article 8 did not exist in every case where a UK sponsor wanted to bring an elderly parent to the UK in order to look after him/her; ii) that the new rules would not result in a disproportionate outcome in virtually all cases where Article 8 was engaged; and iii) that significant weight was to be given to the prior consultation, parliamentary debate and approval of the policy and objectives of the new rules (see  to , , ,  to  and )
40.At  Sir Terence Etherton MR identified the policy behind the ADR ECR as follows:
“…It is twofold: firstly, to reduce the burden on the taxpayer for the provision of health and social care services to those ADRs whose needs can reasonably and adequately be met in their own country; and, secondly, to ensure that those ADRs whose needs can only reasonably and adequately met in the UK are granted fully settled status and full access to the NHS and social care provided by local authorities. The latter is intended to avoid disparity between ADRs depending on their wealth and to avoid precariousness of status occasioned by changes in the financial circumstances once settled here.”
41.The test now imposed for entry as an ADR has rightly been described as “rigorous and demanding” (see Ribeli (at ).
42.The Immigration Rules also provide a route by which an ADR may apply for indefinite leave to remain as an ADR (see Section E-ILRDR of Appendix FM) under which an applicant must, amongst other things, meet all of the requirements of Section E-ILRDR (see E-ILRDR.1.1). Those requirements include that the applicant must be in the UK with valid leave to remain as an ADR and provide evidence of non-recourse to public funds (see E-ILRDR.1.2 and 1.4)”.
Court of Appeal’s approach to Article 8 proportionality considerations on the Appellant’s claim:
The Court considered as follows:
- The flaw in the appellant’s approach was to ignore the fact that the FTT Judge’s consideration of proportionality proceeded (necessarily) on the express premise that he was wrong in his conclusion on family life and that, contrary to his earlier finding, family life existed.
- His approach or conclusion on proportionality was not flawed.
- The FTT Judge considered and identified the law accurately-he stated correctly that the issue was ultimately one of proportionality in all the circumstances.
- The FTT Judge had read the evidence founding the existence of family life and relating to the appellant’s circumstances in the UK, including as to her health, dependence on her children, relationship with her grandson and pastimes. He also heard and saw the appellant and two of her children give evidence; he set out and assessed the reliability of that evidence carefully. He was also aware of the death of the appellant’s husband, the loss of the family home in a fire, and the appellant’s broader family circumstances in Pakistan. There was no reason to think that these were not all matters that he properly weighed in the balance when considering proportionality.
- At the same time, he was aware that the appellant was an educated person who could even now live independently in Pakistan where she had grown up, married, had children and spent all of her married life (and beyond). She would be financially supported and provided with accommodation by her children were she to return; she could also receive practical and emotional support from them (even if only from a distance). She had no significant health issues.
- Further, as the authorities referred to make clear, the FTT Judge was entitled to place considerable weight on the fact that the appellant’s relevant family life (that is to say, her family life in the UK) was established at a time when her status here was precarious. She never had indefinite leave to remain in the UK (see Rhuppiah v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 58;  1 WLR 5536at ), and from 23 July 2015 onwards had no right whatsoever to remain. The FTT Judge was entitled to conclude that a refusal to allow the appellant to remain would not result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for her and that, accordingly, exceptional circumstances had not been established.
- Whilst the grandson’s interests fell to be considered, it is clear that they were not seen by the parties as being of material significance in the context of the proportionality exercise overall. Without underplaying the potential importance of a grandparental relationship, the facts here were far removed from those in Jeunessefor example, where the three children involved were the children of the applicant who was their “primary and constant carer”. The FTT Judge’s approach reflected the appellant’s apparent position before him as to the weight to be attached to the grandson’s interests in the balancing exercise to be carried out.
Relevance of the Adult Dependent Relatives Rules to the Article 8 proportionality assessment in the Appellant’s claim:
The Court of Appeal concluded that:
- The FTT Judge was self-evidently aware of the relevant context, namely that the appellant had not pursued an application under the ADR ECR and was applying outside the Immigration Rules under Article 8.
- It was common ground that whether or not the appellant would have qualified for entry under the ADR ECR was not determinative of the question of whether or not the refusal decision was compatible with Article 8. However, the fact that the Secretary of State, in the discharge of her statutory duty to regulate immigration, has set out a clear policy, reflected in the ADR ECR, as to the requirements to be met by ADRs seeking to settle in the UK will be a powerful factor in any Article 8 assessment of proportionality. This proposition is clearly established on the authorities (for example in Agyarko (at )
- Whilst those representing the appellant were not in a position formally to concede the position, it could not realistically be suggested that the appellant would have met the requirements in 2.4 and 2.5 of the ADR ECR. Her physical condition came nowhere near the threshold (of requiring long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks) and she could obtain the required level of care in Pakistan. The fact that the appellant may not burden the UK taxpayer’s purse because she could access private healthcare in the UK was no answer to the Secretary of State’s position, in the sense that she would still not meet the relationship requirements of the ADR ECR. In any event, the appellant’s reliance on the fact that her children were wealthy was at odds with the second limb of the Secretary of State’s policy as identified in Britcitsat , which is to avoid disparity between ADRs depending on their wealth.
- The ADR ECR, reflecting the Secretary of State’s policy as approved by Parliament and upheld as lawful in Britcits, provide the conventional pathway for entry to the UK as an ADR. Whether deliberately or otherwise, the appellant circumvented that route by coming as a visitor to the UK, overstaying and then applying for leave to remain outside the Immigration Rules. She presented the Secretary of State with the sort of “fait accompli” referred to by Lord Reed in Agyarko at : “…. the Convention is not intended to undermine [a state’s right to control the entry of non-nationals into its territory and their residence there] by enabling non-nationals to evade immigration control by establishing a family life while present in the host state unlawfully or temporarily, and then presenting it with a fait accompli. On the contrary, “where confronted with a fait accompli the removal of the non-nationals family member by the authorities would be incompatible with article 8 only in exceptional circumstances”: Jeunesse, para. 114.”
- In these circumstances, the FTT Judge’s finding on proportionality was fully justified. Indeed, taking the strength of the family life at its highest on the facts, there was really only ever one realistic answer on the question of proportionality, namely that the refusal decision was not incompatible with the appellant’s right to respect for her family life under Article 8.
- This was a case where the appellant will be cared for in Pakistan by one or more of her children (who will move to live with her), were she to have to return to Pakistan. The appellant acknowledged that one or more of them would return to live with her and each child stated that he/she would do so (albeit reluctantly). Ribeliconfirms that the willingness of a child to return abroad with the parent can be an important factor in favour of refusal of leave to remain. However, unlike the position in Ribeli, there has been no finding here that it would be reasonable for one or more of the appellant’s children to return to join her in Pakistan (even if, as a matter of fact, they would be prepared to do so). In these circumstances, the Court did not lay any material weight on what would in any event be only an additional factor in favour of an already justified refusal.
The Court of Appeal therefore rejected the challenge to the FTT Judge’s conclusion on proportionality and upheld the Upper Tribunal Judge’s dismissal of the appeal against it.