Fewer than half of UK women ‘can afford to sponsor overseas spouse’

03 Feb 2016 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Fewer than half of British women earn enough money to be able to bring a foreign-born spouse into Britain to live with them on a UK visa, according to a new report.

The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford found that fewer than 50 per cent of working British women earned the required £18,600 necessary to secure a spouse visa for their partner.

Overall, four out of 10 Britons – both male and female – did not earn sufficient to meet the earnings minimum that was introduced in 2012. The figure increases to £22,400 for couples with one child and by £2,400 for every child after that.

Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva of the Migration Observatory said: "In some respects, the current family migration rules prioritise couples in which the UK partner is the main breadwinner.

"That is likely to make it easier for men to sponsor their wives rather than vice versa."

He said there was “no magic number” for working out how much someone needed to earn to make a contribution to the economy and economic factors should not be the only issue that was looked at when deciding whether someone was eligible for a spouse visa.

The level of the minimum threshold has been widely criticised for keeping families apart. An overseas partner’s earnings or earning potential in the UK is not taken into consideration. The size of the minimum earning requirement is set to be looked at by the Supreme Court later this month.

The Home Office said that each case was looked at individually with evidence provided by the spouse visa applicant taken into account.

A spokeswoman told the Daily Express: "We welcome those who wish to make a life in the UK with their family, work hard and make a contribution. But family life must not be established here at the taxpayer's expense.”