Couple forced apart by UK spouse visa rules

14 Nov 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

There have been fresh calls for the Government to look again at its income threshold for UK spouse visas after another couple was forced apart by the rules.

Sarah Mason Smith married Brent Smith in August. She is from Derbyshire and he is a US citizen. Mrs Mason Smith’s earnings do not meet the £18,600 required by Government rules for her husband to live with her in the UK but he is a social media manager earning more than the threshold and would be able to do his job remotely from the UK.

The rules, introduced in 2012, mean he has been forced to return to Kansas. His wife works for a charity as a support worker and said she may have to find a higher-paying role so that she can be with her husband.

She told the BBC: "I feel like my hands are tied. I'm doing a job that benefits society. I feel like I'm doing my bit but my husband can't be here living with me."

Mr Smith added: "Even if she found a new job tomorrow it would be eight or nine months before we could be together, apart from a holiday."

The couple’s lawyer said the regulations were so “rigid” that the spouse from overseas seeking to live in the UK may be earning a very high salary, and would continue to do so, but could still not live in Britain if their UK-born spouse earned below the threshold.

The BBC said that the Home Office did not respond when it asked for a comment on the Masons’ case.