This week, the Migrants’ Rights Network revealed that almost half of British nationals who want bring their spouses to the UK to do not meet the visas maintenance requirements. Findings revealed that those earning less than £18,600 were much higher for those who live outside of London. A UK Marriage Visa or a Spouse visa allows foreign nationals who are married (or in a civil partnership) to a British citizen, or a person who has settlement status in the UK to enter or remain in the UK. If you are based outside of the UK you will need to apply for Entry Clearance in order to join your spouse/civil partner in 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.
Ruth Grove-White: Immigration Rules not just the problem
The study carried out by the Migrants’ Rights Network, showed that 47% of working British nationals do not earn the required amount to bring a spouse into the UK.
The group’s policy director Ruth Grove-White, questioned the kind of society we are portraying;
“This is not just a problem in the immigration rules, it raises questions about the kind of society we want to be – one that respects the right of British citizens to live with their family or one that deems some too poor to have equal rights?”
A Home Office impact assessment found up to 17,800 family visas would be affected every year due to the financial requirement. As it was found that the financial threshold of £18,600 is notably higher than the national minimum wage, which is currently around £13,200 a year.
What is the current Financial Requirement?
The Immigration Rules were amended on 9 July 2012 to introduce a financial requirement to be met by a person applying for leave to enter, leave to remain and indefinite leave to remain in the UK on the basis of their family life with a person who is:
1. British Citizen; or
2. present and settled in the UK; or
3. in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection.
The rules specify that a sponsor must be earning £18,600 per annum before they can sponsor their spouse, unmarried partner or same sex partner to enter or remain in the UK. Although there are provisions for combining the earnings of the sponsor and the applicant; this has proved to be problematic for many individuals. In R (on the application of MM) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1900 (Admin), Immigration Judge Blake J carefully considered the UK’s immigration rules requiring a minimum income of at least £18,600 for spouse visa applications and stated that they could constitute an unjustified and disproportionate interference with the ability of spouses to live together. He suggested that an appropriate figure may be around £13,400 and highlighted the position of young people and low wage earners caught by the higher figure in the rules. This case is currently being considered by the Court of Appeal, our Immigration Team will provide an update once a judgement has been determined.
Are you affected by the ‘Financial Requirement’?
The Home Office’s rules on financial requirements affect non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK under the family migration route. The rules define the basis on which a person can enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family or private life. If you intend to make an application as the spouse, partner, fiance(e) or proposed civil partner of a British citizen, you and your sponsor will need to meet the financial requirements.
If you would like to discuss how the financial requirement may affect you, please contact us today and our London immigration solicitor’s will be able to assist you by meeting with you and reviewing your case. If you have had a spouse visa refused on the grounds that you did not meet with the financial requirements, contact us so we can review your case.