On 1 April 2012 the UK Border Agency (UKBA) introduced the Destitution Domestic Violence (DDV) concession to replace The Sojourner Project. A person who successfully qualifies for this concession will receive temporary leave for three months, which allows them to apply for access to public funds (including jobseeker’s allowance, income support and housing benefit). During this three month period the person should make a separate application for indefinite leave to remain under the Domestic Violence Rule.
Who is eligible for the DDV concession?
There are strict eligibility criteria for the concession, which applies to single adults and adults with children. To meet the UKBA’s criteria a person must: Have entered the UK or been given leave to remain as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner of a British citizen or someone present and settled in the UK; and Have had that relationship break down due to domestic violence; and Be destitute and in need of financial help; and Intend to make a claim to stay permanently in the UK under the Domestic Violence Rule.
Spouses of EEA nationals do not fall within the scope of the concession and, at the present time, it does not cover the spouses of Commonwealth soldiers resident in the UK.
If a person is granted three months leave under the DDV concession this will replace the leave given to enter or remain as a spouse or partner. If a migrant does not submit an application for indefinite leave to remain to the UK Border Agency within the three month period, their leave will come to an end and they will be expected to either apply to regularise their leave in the UK in another category or leave the UK. The UK Border Agency encourages applicants to submit applications for indefinite leave within six weeks of being granted leave under the concession, which is similar to the time periods that were used in the Sojourner project, to allow them time to make a decision whilst an applicant has access to public funds. If there is a serious reason why an application is unable to be submitted within the three month temporary leave period, the applicant or their representative must contact the UK Border Agency and discuss the reason of the possible delay. As long as a person submits an application before their temporary leave expires, their leave will continue until they are either granted further leave, their application is rejected or, if they choose to appeal a rejection, until their appeal rights are exhausted.
Change of conditions forms - where destitute people need to gain access to public funds.
• A request for a change of conditions of leave granted on the basis of family or private life where the applicant has become destitute, for example the condition related to 'No Recourse to Public Funds'.
• An application for access to public funds under the Victims of Domestic Violence Concession.
The OISC has concluded that the provision of advice and services related to both of these applications is a “relevant matter” within the Act requiring regulation. This is because a relevant matter includes “an application for, or variation of... leave to remain in the UK”. Section 3(3) of the Immigration Act 1971 establishes that leave to remain can be varied by adding, varying or removing conditions.