Minimum salary threshold causes UK spouse visa woes for young couple

15 Jan 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The changes to the minimum salary thresholds for sponsoring a non-European Economic Area spouse or partner through a UK spouse visa are causing trouble for a young couple.

Last summer, US national Daniel Whiteley graduated from his studies at St Andrews University in Scotland. His student visa ran out in October 2012, but in the same month, he went travelling with his Scottish partner Jenny and the pair ended up marrying in Wolseley, South Africa, the St Andrews Courier reported.

Before the current government toughened up the restrictions on UK immigration regulations, Mr Whiteley would have qualified for a UK spouse visa and would have been able to return to Scotland to live with his new wife, where they both have career ambitions.

However, the changes mean that there is now a minimum income threshold of £18,600 for a British citizen or settled person wishing to bring their partner in to the country through this immigration route and at the moment it remains unclear if it will be possible at all.

The paper reported that the couple have both got career ambitions in the St Andrews area, but they might be forced to consider US immigration if they want to be together anytime soon.

Speaking to the paper from Namibia, Mr Whiteley said that they pair have delayed their intended return to the UK this week in order to have more time to discuss immigration arrangements.

He explained the dilemma: “We have encountered the problem that if we start the immigration process to get Jenny into the US and start the process to get me into the UK, we could lose the right to ever apply again - ie if we decide to use the UK option and Jenny is then issued with a green card and we don’t use it, she may never apply again. It’s vice-versa with the UK option for me if we chose the US.”