When a nanny is an integral part of the family unit

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
22 May 2024

We acted for an Appellant who is a national of the Philippines who made an application for leave to remain on the basis of her private and family life. The application was refused and she lodged an appeal.

The application that was refused had been made by another firm of solicitors on the basis of the human rights of the Appellant. The application was refused because she had not lived continuously in the UK for more than 20 years, and it was determined that there would not be very significant obstacles to her integration back to the Philippines. It was also concluded there were no exceptional circumstances in her case that would render refusal a breach of her Article 8 rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.

We represented her in the appeal and we argued that removal will have an impact on the intimate relationship between the Appellant and the family. It was argued that the Appellant was more than an employee or a nanny, and that the length of the relationship was relevant. We asked the Judge to find that there is family life in this case. We also submitted that the Appellant developed a private life, that she did not enter the UK illegally, and that she lodged the current application and the appeal prior to the expiry of her existing leave and there was no public interest in having her removed. Crucially, reliance was placed under the Section 55 consideration involving the child of the family. We argued that a refusal would negatively affect him given the length of time the Appellant was with the family.

It was an extremely unusual case and the Judge in his determination made that point.

It was not disputed that the Appellant was recruited as a carer for the child even prior to his birth, and that she moved in with the family whilst they lived abroad. The fact that she has lived continuously with the family since she joined them in 2019 and was constant in the child’s life for 5 years was an important factor. Whilst she gave her, evidence she described the activities she does with the child on a daily basis and confirmed that she feels like a part of the family having looked after him since he was born. She particularly played a crucial part in the family’s life given how busy the parents were in their employment. The Judge found that she was not just a carer but somebody that the child went to for comfort. The family lived together during the COVID pandemic, and it was accepted that the Appellant took the place that any other family member close by would play in the family’s close-knit unit.

The significance of the Appellant’s role in the family was further highlighted in an independent social worker report that we obtained. The report describes the nature of the work that is undertaken by her and by the family members and how the child views her as a parent figure. In his opinion, removing the Appellant from the family will have a profound impact on the whole family’s life and especially on the child. It would be in the best interests of the child for her to remain as otherwise this will cause him significant emotional distress given that the relationship started before the birth and given that she was a constant in the child’s life since birth and that she acted as an additional parent to the child and is a supportive family member to the parents.

The dependency was found to be real, committed, and effective and therefore the family circumstances were found to go beyond normal emotional ties. Against that background the Judge found that she has developed a private life in the UK and that she also has a family life with the whole family unit. The Judge gave particular consideration to Section 55 of the UK Border Citizenship and Immigration Act as per the guidance in the case of ZH (Tanzania) v SSHD 2011 and stated that in his view it is in the best interests of the child for the Appellant to remain in the UK because of the role she plays in his life on a daily basis and the support she provides the family as a whole.