All foreign nationals moving to the UK from outside the EU/EEA on a settlement fiancee, unmarried partner or spousal visa are required to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials that their UK sponsor (i.e. partner, fiance, husband or wife) has suitable accommodation which will not be overcrowded within the definition of the Housing Act 1985 or that it will not contravene public health regulations. Therefore, as part of a UK settlement visa application the UK Border Agency, a department of the Home Office, requires an immigration accommodation assessment to evidence this.
A group of independent Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) our consultancy is affiliated with helps visa applicants gain entry into the UK by providing those assessments and since it started work on the assessments in 2004 boasts a glowing 100% success rate on meeting the UKBA criteria for approval. The property inspection reports demonstrate to the UK Border Agency that our clients’ accommodation in the UK is safe, free from health hazards and has plenty of room for the applicant and their sponsor as well as any dependent children included in a UK marriage, partner or fiancee visa application. All property inspection reports are professionally produced, fully compliant and certified to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.
Why do foreign nationals need immigration accommodation assessments?
Because not having one can lead to the settlement visa application being refused on accommodation grounds. In July 2012 ancillary visa documentation became far more stringent. It is tempting for couples to ‘skip’ this step in order to save money, but extra costs involved in obtaining a detailed property inspection report would ultimately be much less than a painful refusal. We firmly recommend that our clients contact an environmental officer such as the one we work with to obtain the accommodation inspection document that will help the examining Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) properly assess sponsor’s accommodation in the UK against the UKBA requirements.
What does an immigration accommodation assessment entail?
EHOs assess the property to ensure that it is:
- Free from Category 1 Hazards under the Housing Act 2004, Housing Health and Safety Rating System, hazard 11: crowding and space;
- Not statutorily overcrowded under the Housing Act 1985, Part X and has space for both current occupier(s) and the applicant;
- In a reasonable state of repair.
The final property inspection report is comprehensive with details on the sponsor, applicant, current occupants, property, complete with photographs.
What qualifications does the assessor have?
An independent EHO we work with has a Masters Degree in Environment Health (accredited by the Charted Institute of Environmental Health), is certified in the Housing Health & Safety Rating System and is a member of the CIEH. He more than fulfils the credentials demanded by the UK immigration authorities for someone undertaking this sort of work.
How did this company/EHO arrive on our preferred supplier list?
In November 2011 we had a client Rebecca who lived on a remote farm in rural England. Her Ghanaian husband had been refused a settlement visa to join her. Unfortunately, they did not hire a professional UK immigration consultant to assist them with their initial marriage visa application. Rebecca did not properly read what was required of her and subsequently failed to produce sufficient evidence on a few of points, including the accommodation inspection report. The rejection notice thoroughly dashed their plans and hopes. They decided to make a fresh application instead of making a formal appeal which could take many months, and chose our consultancy to represent them. Rebecca came across an independent Environmental Health Officer who produced her property inspection report which was the most professional and precise report that we had seen so far. After consistently providing professional accommodation reports, assisting our clients and delivering a thorough vetting process the company joined our preferred supplier list on a permanent basis. Aside from preparing his own independent reports, the EHO we are affiliated with is often called upon to come in and clear up the problem particularly if an unqualified person, such as estate agent or energy performance surveyor, has provided a poor report.
If you would like more information about the property inspection services we offer, please complete our online contact form on the right hand side. We will forward your enquiry to a qualified environmental health officer within 24 hours.