Changes to the UK spouse visa immigration route have come into force today (July 9th).
The alterations will affect nationals applying to come to the country from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as those who have previously applied and are now looking to reapply.
Among the changes is the introduction of a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for those sponsoring the settlement of a spouse or a partner through the UK spouse visa route. When there are children who also require sponsorship the threshold rises to £22,400 for one child, with an additional £2,400 required for each further child.
In addition to this, applicants will see the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses and partners increase from two years to five years in order to test that the relationship is genuine. A list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships will also be published in casework guidance in order to help UK Border Agency caseworkers to reduce the number of people abusing this immigration route.
Immediate settlement for migrant spouses and partners where a couple have been living together overseas for at least four years is also to be abolished, meaning that all applicants will have to complete the five-year probationary period.
Further changes will come into force from October next year, when all applicants for settlement will be required to pass the Life in the UK Test and present and English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.