Why do dependant Filipino partners and spouses suffer years of abuse and domestic violence?

In my experience, one of the main reasons is that they are being held to ransom by their resident partner, who knows they can only legally remain in the UK as a dependant if they are living together.

Yes, if you are on a dependant visa and have separated from your sponsoring partner your visa is no longer valid.

I have helped a number of victims of domestic violence and mental torture who felt like they were serving a life sentence for a crime they didn’t commit.  The good news is that you don’t have to stay trapped in an abusive relationship in order to stay in the UK. Fortunately, we all have Human Rights, even if you are here illegally (TNT), and an independent judiciary in the UK.

An important point to note is that “abuse” in a relationship does not have to be physical in nature to count as domestic violence. You only have to look at the tragic teenage suicides caused by ‘cyber bullying’ on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to realise that mental torture can be equally damaging to the

In one recent case, a Filipina wife of a UK Citizen did not even realise that she was a victim of domestic violence, because the abuse and torture were mental rather than physical.  Her British husband was mentally torturing her and her child (from a previous relationship), and refusing to sign their Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) form. She suspected that he wanted to force her to return to the Philippines where he would leave her stranded with no financial support.
Luckily she sought legal advice, and was helped to submit a special application, along with supporting evidence, for ILR without her Husband’s consent. The Home Office granted her UK residency within four weeks.

She had lived in the UK with her child for 3 years on a spouse visa, and wanted to apply for settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Despite the fact that the young mother’s spouse visa was about to expire, her husband kept delaying her application. After investigating further, it was clear that she had been in an abusive relationship for years.

Although she had been in an emotionally abusive marriage for years, her husband’s threat of cutting her off and taking their children away from her prevented her from leaving him.

Following the approval of her settlement application, she is now free from his hold and can continue to live in the UK with her children.

In another Domestic Violence case, where the woman had not yet  completed 2 years with her British-Filipino husband, which included physical violence and sexual abuse, the Home Office refused the application, disbelieving the evidence. I advised the victim that her options were to go home or to challenge the decision in the First-Tier Tribunal. I am glad to report that she appealed to the Tribunal and she has since been granted Settlement in the UK.

I have also handled domestic violence cases where my advice was required on divorce in the UK, as well as dealing with debts left behind by her ex-partners. It is not only women who suffer from domestic violence by the way. Men are often too embarrassed to come forward and admit being a victim of abuse.

If you have suffered from any form of domestic violence or mental and emotional torture, consult an immigration adviser, even if you have overstayed your visa or breached the Immigration Rules.

Finally, if you consult an immigration adviser, please make sure they are qualified and legally registered with the OISC, the government-backed agency which regulates immigration advice in the UK. There are many “scammers” and fraudsters out there preying on vulnerable migrants, and you should follow the old adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”. Or if they are charging very high prices, they may not necessarily have a licence to practice.

If you need any immigration advice, have overstayed your visa or been arrested or detained, are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with a Spouse Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa, or you need to appeal against a refusal, please email  alcantara.consultancy@gmail.com, visit www.alcantaraconsultancy.net or call Gene on 0207 625 7272.  

UK: Domestic violence victims can apply for UK residency without partner’s consent
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