Three Appeal Court judges have ruled that the Government’s tougher financial measures imposed on UK citizens who want their overseas partners to live with them in Britain are legal.
The Home Office has been successful in its appeal against a High Court ruling which judged that the measures, imposed two years ago, were a ''disproportionate interference with a genuine spousal relationship''. A UK citizen must now earn at least £18,600 annually if their non-EU born partner is to be allowed to join them on a UK spouse visa.
The initial High Court case was as a result of three applications for judicial reviews into the financial demands brought by two people in Birmingham and a ‘recognised refugee’.
The three Appeal Court judges ruled the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) is lawful and was not a ‘disproportionate interference’ into people’s right to a private life under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Ruth Grove-White, policy director at the Migrants Rights Network, told The Belfast Telegraph: "This judgment will be devastating for the families who continue to be needlessly separated across borders.
"These rules are a shocking infringement of the right to family life, as almost half of the UK working population earns below the required amount. Being able to start a family in your own country should not be subject to the amount of money you make."
In a statement, the Home Office welcomed the Appeal Court’s decision. It said that the MIR was set to make sure that migrant families did not become a burden on the UK taxpayer.