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This page contains information about the Adult Dependent Relative Rules and JCWI’s policy, campaigning and legal work surrounding this issue.
If you are affected by the issues raised here, scroll down to “Legal Assistance” for details of how JCWI may be able to assist.
A copy of our full report on the Adult Dependent Relative Rules is available to download at the bottom of the page.


The Adult Dependent Relative Rules (‘ADR Rules’) came into force in July 2012 as part of the changes to Family Migration rules. The ADR Rules provide for elderly parents or grandparents of permanent UK residents and British citizens to apply to join their family in the UK. Under the new rules, relatives must demonstrate that they, as a result of,

“...age, illness or disability, require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks e.g. washing, dressing and cooking… [and are] ... unable even with the practical and financial help of a sponsor to obtain a required level of care in the country where they are living...”

It remains almost impossible to succeed in this visa category. Fit and healthy parents and grandparents cannot even apply. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration (APPG) has stated that this visa category has “in effect been closed”.

Thank to funding from the Strategic Legal Fund, JCWI has been able research the legal framework, political context and impact of the ADR rules. This research culminated in the launch of our report, “Harsh, Unjust, Unnecessary: Report on the Impact of the Adult Dependent Relative Rules on Families & Children” In Parliament on 9 July 2014, the second anniversary of the Family Migration rule changes.

This report highlights the unfairness and injustice inherent in the changes to the Family Migration rules pertaining to Adult Dependent Relatives, and the consequent harm inflicted on the children and grandchildren of potential applicants.


Over a period of six months JCWI, in conjunction with BritCits, examined the impact of the ADR Rules on families and specifically on minor children.

During the course of our research:

  • We held six public meetings across the country
  • We analysed data from 111 questionnaires
  • We undertook 18 interviews with affected individuals
  • We liaised with lawyers representing clients seeking to make an application under the ADR Rules
  • We sought and obtained 22 refusal letters and appeal determinations to assess how the best interest of children is being allowed for in Home Office decision making
  • We commissioned an expert report by child psychologists from the Child & Family Refugee Team at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust to analyse the positive influences of grandparents on the developmental trajectories of young people and to assess the psychological impact of the ADR Rule changes on children.


Our research led to the following conclusions regarding the ADR Rules

  • The Rules are unnecessarily harsh, causing families suffering and anxiety, and are rationally disconnected from the stated Government policy on family values.
  • The Government’s justification for these Rules in both fiscal terms and to control net migration is not substantiated.
  • The Rules have effectively closed off this visa category. Only 34 visas under the ADR Rules were issued in 11 months between November 2012 and September 2013.
  • The best interests of the child has been ignored in the drafting and implementation of these Rules.
  • Children are significantly impacted as a direct result of these Rules. There is particular detriment to children from a migrant background.
  • In many cultures around the world grandparents are treated with reverence. Britain should aspire to these values not seek to undermine them.
  • The Rules effectively create a two-tier British citizenship with families from a migrant background being denied grandparental involvement.
  • The Rules increase the financial burden on migrant families.
  • Many families are considering leaving the UK in order to live near their elderly parents and look after them, a large proportion of these are medical professionals and this will have a detrimental impact on the NHS service.


Our report puts forward a number of key recommendations for the government and future governments to take into consideration when reviewing these rules.

• The Government should consider the report from the Child and Refugee Team at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, annexed to this Report and consider the vital role grandparents play in the lives of children. If it is to put children first it needs to recognise the vital contribution of grandparents in their development. It also needs to appreciate the particular significance of grandparents to children from a migrant background.

• The Government should undertake its own assessment to evaluate the impact of all the Family Migration rules on children. They are silent victims of these policies.

• The Government needs to urgently re-evaluate its ADR Rules in light of this research and repeal them. They are harsh, unjust and unnecessary


  • JCWI is now running an evening consultation surgery once a month, in order to advise on ADR applications and appeals (see below for more details). Over the past months our Casework team have advised several individuals.

  • Leading on from the report, JCWI’s research and resulting expertise has resulted in our Casework team undertaking a successful ADR entry clearance application for a client’s elderly mother.

  • Our casework team have also fought a successful appeal at the First Tier Tribunal against the refusal of an ADR visa, which was allowed both under the ADR rules and Article 8.

  • JCWI’s Training Department has organised in-depth training on the ADR rules for legal practitioners and campaigners. For more information about JCWI’s training see (link).

  • JCWI is currently working with the BMA to prepare a further report looking specifically on the impact of the ADR rules on medical practitioners in the UK. 

  • We remain on the look-out for a Judicial Review case to take forward in order to challenge the ADR Rules. We are not raising money in this regard and any fundraising activity should be seen as independent of JCWI.


JCWI now runs an evening consultation surgery for legal advice regarding ADR visa applications and appeals against refusals. The session runs on the first Thursday of every month.  Each consultation lasts up to one hour and costs a fixed fee of £125.

If you decide after a consultation that you would like JCWI to represent you to make an ADR application the consultation fee will be deducted from our fixed fee of £1,250 per applicant.

To book a consultation or for more information please call 0207 251 8708 or email with the subject heading 'ADR consultation'