GuidelinesEssential Measures for Migrants: Safeguarding Yourself and Dependents in the UK

Essential Measures for Migrants: Safeguarding Yourself and Dependents in the UK

The UK has seen significant changes to its immigration system in recent years, with new rules and policies aimed at reducing overall migration numbers. However, these changes have made navigating the system more complex for migrants.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, migration has become a common phenomenon. People move across borders for various reasons: seeking better opportunities, reuniting with family, or escaping conflict. The United Kingdom (UK) is a popular destination for migrants, offering a rich cultural tapestry, economic prospects, and a robust healthcare system. However, navigating the complexities of immigration can be daunting.

Essential Measures for Migrants: Safeguarding Yourself and Dependents in the UK

Here are the up-to-date guide on the key things migrants in the UK need to know to protect themselves and their dependents in 2024.

Understanding Your Immigration Status and Rights

The first step is understanding your specific immigration status, as different categories have different entitlements and restrictions. The main categories include:

  • Skilled worker visa: For those with a job offer in the UK. Allows you to live, work and access public funds in the UK. Valid for up to 5 years.
  • Family visa: For partners/spouses, children and other dependents of someone settled in the UK. Allows you to live, work and access public funds in the UK. Length depends on relationship.
  • Student visa: For those studying in the UK. Allows you to study and work part-time in the UK. Usually valid for program duration.
  • Visitor visa: For short-term visits, e.g. tourism, business. Does not allow work or study. Maximum 6 months stay.
  • EU Settlement Scheme: For EU/EEA/Swiss citizens living in UK before 2021. Gives similar rights to permanent residence.
  • Refugee status/asylum: For those seeking protection. Restrictions apply while claim assessed. Grants leave to remain if approved.

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It’s important to know what rights and services you are entitled to under your specific immigration status. For example, those on family or skilled worker visas can access public funds like the NHS and benefits, while restrictions apply for students and visitors.

Use the UK Government’s entitlement checker to clarify your rights to work, housing, healthcare, benefits and other services based on your immigration status.

Complying With Visa Conditions

Make sure you fully comply with all the conditions of your visa. For example:

  • Work restrictions: Do not work over allotted hours or take jobs outside allowed occupations.
  • Police registration: If required, ensure you register with police per schedule.
  • Reporting requirements: Report address/status changes to Home Office when required.
  • Travel restrictions: Get permission before travelling abroad if applicable.

Breaching your visa conditions can lead to curtailment of leave, removal from the UK, and future immigration bans.

Use the Home Office’s Visa Wizard to double check your personal visa conditions based on your immigration status.

Maintaining Accurate Records

Keep copies of all documentation related to your and your dependents’ immigration status in the UK:

  • Passports
  • Visas/biometric residence permits
  • Visa application forms
  • Approval/refusal letters
  • Pay slips
  • Tenancy agreements
  • NHS registration
  • Utility bills
  • Children’s school records

This will help evidence your continued compliance with visa conditions and eligibility for future applications.

Store digital and hard copies securely. Use online tools like Google Drive or Dropbox for digital backups.

Securing Immigration Advice

With frequent immigration changes, getting quality legal advice can help protect your status and rights.

See guidance from The Law Society on finding an immigration solicitor.


  • Specialization: Do they specialize in immigration law?
  • Regulation: Are they regulated by Solicitors Regulation Authority?
  • Reviews: Check client reviews and recommendations.
  • Fees: Confirm full costs upfront. Many offer fixed fees.

Advice can help with addressing visa issues, appealing decisions, asserting rights and planning longer-term options.

Preparing Strong Extension/Settlement Applications

Those on temporary visas will need to submit strong applications to extend their stay or settle permanently.

Key evidence needed includes:

For Skilled Worker Visa Extensions/Settlement:

  • Continued employment in approved occupation
  • Ongoing compliance with salary threshold
  • Pay slips covering full period
  • Confirmation of employment letter
  • Employer tax/payroll records
  • Tenancy agreements and utility bills proving residence

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For Family Visa Extensions/Settlement:

  • Proof of relationship continuity (e.g. photos, travel records, financial ties)
  • Accommodation evidence demonstrating cohabitation
  • Ongoing compliance with financial threshold
  • Employer letters and wage slips if working
  • NHS registration, school/GP letters

Drawing on legal advice can significantly strengthen extension/settlement applications.

Understanding Healthcare Entitlements

Changes to immigration rules are restricting some migrants’ healthcare rights. Be aware of your entitlements:

  • Most visa holders can access NHS services paying standard rates.
  • Asylum seekers, trafficking victims and children get free NHS healthcare.
  • Undocumented migrants only get free emergency and some infectious disease care.

Registering for NHS care requires proof of address and immigration status. See NHS Who is entitled to free treatment guidance for more details. Charities like Doctors of the World can also help address barriers to healthcare.

Checking Benefit Eligibility

Similarly, immigration status impacts benefits eligibility. Use the entitlement checker to confirm if you qualify for:

  • Universal Credit: For those on low incomes. Must meet immigration status conditions.
  • Child Benefit: For raising children under 16 (under 20 in education/training). Subject to immigration rules.
  • Disability benefits: For ill/disabled people needing financial support. Have immigration restrictions.

Dependents may also qualify for benefits, even if main visa holder does not. But restrictions apply to visitors, students and undocumented migrants.

Asserting Protection From Discrimination

Migrants with regular status have legal protection against discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. This covers:

  • Discrimination based on race, religion, nationality or ethnicity
  • Unfair treatment accessing services like healthcare, housing, education
  • Employment discrimination (pay, promotion, hiring, firing)
  • Harassment and victimization

Report discrimination to Equality Advisory Support Service. See guidance from Citizens Advice on evidence needed to prove and tackle discrimination.

Understanding Rights If Detained

Immigration detention rules are complex. See Bail for Immigration Detainees for guidance on legal rights.

Key points if detained:

  • You have rights to challenge detention. Seek legal advice immediately.
  • Notify family/friends of detention using mobile phone if permitted.
  • Detainees must be treated humanely and provided adequate food, shelter etc. Report issues.
  • You can apply for temporary admission or bail if detention seems unlawful.

Children and vulnerable people have additional protections around detention and removal.

Checking Deportation/Removal Risk

Those without valid visas can be deported/removed from UK. Be aware of your situation:

  • Overstayers have no rights to stay but some protections apply
  • Failed asylum seekers can be removed but risk must be assessed
  • EU/EAA citizens have additional protections against removal
  • Appeals can sometimes pause removal plans

See guidance from Right to Remain on challenging deportation orders.

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Planning For No Deal Brexit

Note: This section assumes no Brexit deal has been reached by current deadline of July 2024. If Brexit talks collapse without a deal on EU citizens’ rights, the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will likely end. Millions could lose legal status overnight.

To prepare:

  • Apply to EUSS before deadline if eligible
  • Ensure passport is updated with EUSS status if granted
  • Monitor Brexit negotiations and plan for possible No Deal outcome
  • Seek legal advice on asserting EU citizenship rights if EUSS ends

Major uncertainty remains around long term status of EU citizens in a No Deal scenario.


Protecting rights and securing status for migrants in UK will remain complex given wider policy changes. Staying informed on immigration rules, diligently maintaining records, securing good legal advice when needed and asserting all protections available will give migrants and their families the best chance to continue building their lives in the UK.

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Things Not to Say at Your U.S. Visa Interview in order to get APPROVED Visa to Come to the U.S.A as Nurse.

How Will You Support Yourself and Your Family in This Country?

Immigration to Australia Next Step Guide

What Are Your Plans After You Arrive in This Country?

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