UK spouse visa regulations 'tearing apart families'

04 Mar 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The strict regulations imposed on UK spouse visa access are tearing families apart, according to a recent report from Inside Out East.

Looking at families across Britain, the BBC report found that the system is treating some people unfairly and keeping parents and children away from each other due to the income thresholds imposed by the government.

The government introduced the new thresholds in summer 2012 when it ruled that only British citizens with a salary of £18,600 and above would be able to sponsor the UK spouse visa of someone from outside of the European Economic Area.

For families with children, the threshold is higher at £22,400, with a further £2,400 added for each additional child.

Unfortunately, these figures mean that a sizeable percentage of British workers would not qualify to sponsor an overseas partner. In fact, the Migration Observatory estimates that 61 per cent of women and 32 per cent of men would not qualify.

UK immigration lawyers spoke to the BBC about the issue, noting that the threshold figure is above a working week on minimum wage and advising that it should be lowered to provide fairer access to spouse visas for all income levels.

However, the Court of Appeal is set to hear the opposite argument from the Home Office, which is fighting to keep the minimum income thresholds where they are after a High Court ruling last year stated that it is too high.