Help for migrants forced to flee their relationships as a result of domestic violence has been made available permanently.
The scheme assists foreign national spouses and partners who are victims of domestic violence.
It provides victims, who would otherwise be destitute or have no access to public funds, with an avenue to escape abuse and access vital support services. It follows a successful pilot scheme, the Sojourner Project, which helped 1,522 individuals.
The government estimates that each year this scheme will help 500 people to escape from abusive relationships across the UK.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘Domestic violence is a terrible crime affecting people of all ages and backgrounds and this government is determined to tackle it.
‘No one should be forced to stay in an abusive relationship and this scheme helps victims in genuine need escape violence and harm and seek the support they deserve.’
Eligible spouses will be granted a limited period of exceptional leave by the UK Border Agency which will permit access to public funds and support services, such as a refuge, allowing victims to leave an abusive relationship and apply for residence in the UK.