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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

The Domestic Violence Concession

04 April 2019 Grace McGill Blog

Victims of domestic violence, who have been admitted to the UK as the spouse or partner of a British citizen can apply for leave to remain under the domestic violence concession. They must be able to show that the relationship has permanently broken down as a result of the DV.

Those who are unable to support themselves and face destitution are able to apply for short term leave under the destitute domestic violence concession using this application form. Leave will be issued for a period of 3 months giving access to public funds.

The full application for indefinite leave to remain is made on application SET(DV). The applicant must show that they are physically present in the UK and meet all eligibility requirements.

Only those who have had leave to remain as the partner of a British citizen or a settled person, partners of those with refugee leave or those previously granted 30 months leave to remain under the domestic violence rule, are eligible to apply. Partners of members of the armed forces can apply under the similar domestic violence rules in Part Six of Appendix AF (for “armed forces”).

Discrimination within the rule

Section DVILR of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules sets out criteria for the granting of indefinite leave to remain (settlement) to victims of domestic violence. While this allows settlement to be granted to spouses of British citizens or persons settled in the UK, the rules do not apply where the main applicant has still to be granted settlement.

However in A v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] CSIH 38, the Court of Session held that excluding the spouses of refugees was discriminatory and violated Article 14 ECHR. Following this judgement in May 2016, the Home Office changed the immigration rules in December 2018, and partners of those with refugee leave to remain are now eligible to apply.

EEA nationals are not eligible to apply as they are present in the UK under freedom of movement rights. Kirsty Blackman MP Aberdeen North and Depute Leader of the SNP Group at Westminster recently highlighted the issue stating “too many women are being forced to stay in, or return to, abusive homes. The Home Secretary must extend eligibility for the Destitution Domestic Violence Concession and protect migrant women”.

She advanced a Motion before the  Westminster Parliament on the 20th March  to bring in a Bill requiring the Secretary of State to report on extending eligibility for the destitution domestic violence concession to European Economic Area nationals and persons other than those granted immigration entry clearance as a partner.

See the UK Parliament links below for full coverage of the motion and progress of the Bill.



Ms Blackman’s full article in The House  ( Parliament’s Magazine ) is to be found at



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