Minimum income threshold for UK visas under threat

26 Jul 2017 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Campaigners have threatened to launch a legal challenge against the UK government, accusing it of failing to act on a Supreme Court ruling that prevents hardship on children as a result of minimum income requirements for citizens wanting to bring foreign spouses to Britain on UK visas.

Currently, British citizens must earn more than £18,600 per year before they can transfer a husband or wife from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to settle in Britain, with this figure rising to £22,400 for couple with a child and increasing by £2,400 for each additional child.

The rule was initially introduced in 2012 in a bid to prevent foreign spouses from transferring to the UK and becoming reliant on UK taxpayer support.

However, a Supreme Court ruling in 2017 concluded that the rules should be amended in relation to the duty of care towards any children who may be suffering as a result of their missing parent not being present.

The UK Home Office has since been accused of failing to adhere to the ruling by not doing enough to amend the rules as part of its July Statement of Changes.

Chai Patel, the Indian-origin legal director of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), said: "Our research, submitted to the Supreme Court, shows the heart-breaking long-term trauma inflicted on children in this position. The new rules issued are not clearly written and the government is still sitting on the guidance that will tell us how they will actually be implemented.”

The changes announced by the UK Home Office will take effect in August, and will allow for the consideration of other sources of income in certain cases.