Today, the Guardian has reported on many examples of British students struggling to meet the financial requirement needed to bring their non-EEA partners to the UK. Under the immigration rules introduced by Theresa May in 2012, the British or EU national working in the UK must make at least £18,600 a year, in order to apply for a Spouse visa or family visa. If the couple have a child, the threshold rises to £22,400, plus an extra £2,400 for each child. According to the charity BritCits, an estimated 47% of people working in the UK do not meet the financial requirement.
Nicola McCausland: Angry at the UK Government for Betraying Law-Abiding Citizens
One of the couples that the Guardian has reported on is British student Nicola McCausland and her husband, Gustavo Penagos Rottmann a Guatemalan national. Nicola, is a final year politics and Spanish student studying at Queen’s University Belfast has decided not to go forward with her masters in Hispanic studies, as a result of not wanting to be apart from her husband. Gustavo is a chef who is struggling to get a visa to stay in the UK, despite having several job offers. The couple have been together for 7 years and Nicola knows that it would not be possible to earn £18,600 whilst pursuing her postgraduate degree.
Nicola spoke out about her feelings of having to reject an offer of full funding from her university, in order to move to Guatemala to be with her husband and her disappointment in the UK Government:
“I have been depressed, having panic attacks and moments of complete and utter despair. I have trouble sleeping, and concentrating at work and in university. I feel constantly torn between my family at home and my married life with the man I love. I am angry at the UK Government for betraying law-abiding citizens in this way and, were the new family immigration laws to be scrapped tomorrow, I would not for a moment consider coming back to the UK to settle and pay taxes to its draconian government.”
There have been a number of stories similar to Nicola and Gustavo. Students who have formed relationships with people overseas, but do not have the funds to bring their partners to the UK. As a result, most of them decide to leave the UK and move to their partner’s native countries.
Human Rights organisation Britcits: Young People often Struggle to meet the very strict requirements
Human Rights organisation campaigning on behalf of families with immigration problems BritCits has said that the financial requirement under the Immigration rules is an attack on British citizens and that the rules are a violation of the sanctity of marriage.
Steven Green, the Britcits spokeman said:
“Our work has highlighted the devastating impact of the rules on British citizens and their overseas families. This is particularly marked in the way the rules affect students: young people, making their way in the world, forming relationships and families while embarking on their careers, often struggle to meet the very strict requirements.”
Last year, critics argued that the threshold of £18,600 was too high and a Judge in the High Court agreed that it was ‘unjustified’ and urged Home Secretary Theresa May to consider loosening restrictions. Despite the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) agreeing with the judge, the Home Office stuck with their stringent requirements. This is in order to avoid spouses coming to the UK and relying on the taxpayer for financial support.
Are you affected by the ‘Financial Requirement’?
The Home Office has responded to the judgment by publishing a statement and has stated that they have paused decision-making on some spouse/partner and child settlement visa and leave to remain applications to enable them to consider the implications of the judgment.
If you would like to discuss how the financial requirement may affect you, please call us today and our london immigration solicitor’s will be able to assist you by meeting with you and reviewing your case.