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Immigration, asylum and domestic abuse 

To work out what your rights are, either to remain in the UK or to access housing or other support, you must first find out your immigration status. You can find this out by looking in your passport.

You may have come to the UK on a spouse visa, as a student or the dependant of someone who is working in the UK. You may be an asylum-seeker or you may have overstayed your visa. The options available to you will depend on your current immigration status.

If you have come to the UK on a spouse or partner visa and you are experiencing domestic violence you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) straight away under the domestic violence rule. Having Indefinite Leave to Remain should give you access to housing and financial support.

The domestic violence rule is one of the Immigration Rules; these are the rules that set out who is allowed to enter and remain in the UK and under what conditions. The domestic violence rule states that you will be entitled to ILR if:

1. you have been given permission to remain in the UK as the spouse, civil partner or partner of a person present and settled in the UK and,

2. that you lived with your spouse, civil partner or partner when you arrived in the UK or were given your visa); and,

3. you are able to provide evidence that your relationship with your spouse, civil partner or partner was caused to break down before the end of the probationary period because of domestic violence.

If you have leave as a fiancée, student or worker you cannot make an application under the domestic violence rule even if you have married someone who is British or present and settled in the UK (has ILR).

However, there may be other applications that you could make if you want to remain in the UK. These include:

  • Asylum under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Refugee Convention
  • Staying in the UK on the basis of private and a family life
  • Applying under the long residence rule
  • Applying to stay in the UK because you have a British or settled partner
  • Applying to stay with a child in the UK

It is vital that if you are in this situation that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

The following sites provide further information:

http://www.housing-rights.info/scotland-ha-domestic-abuse.php

http://www.lsa.org.uk/lsa.php?id=38&n=2

www.rightsofwomen.org.uk

EMLC – http://emlc.org.uk