UK Immigration Case Study: Spouse (Leave to Remain) Visa Success

Our Immigration Team were recently instructed to represent a client, who wanted to extend his stay in the UK as the spouse of a person present and settled in the United Kingdom. The Applicant had initially obtained entry clearance as a Tier 4 Student and entered the UK on 1 October 2004. The Applicant began studying a professional four year course and after the completion of the course, the Applicant applied for and was granted leave to remain as the unmarried partner of a British citizen on 19 June 2012. The couple subsequently got married on 8 December 2012.

Our Immigration Team duly prepared and submitted the application in June 2014 with the requisite supporting documents and received news recently that he had been granted leave to remain as a Spouse for 2 years. In particular, our team were pleased with the Home Office’s quick response in this matter; he was granted leave to remain despite having had an unspent conviction and ambiguity in finances.

Qualifying criteria for UK Marriage or Spouse Visas

In order to obtain a Marriage or Spouse Visa you must:

  • Apply for entry clearance for your spouse/civil partner before travelling to the UK;
  • Have met each other, be legally married to each other and plan to live together;
  • Meet with the  minimum income threshold requirement of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child;
  • Any of the above stated income can be from the applicant and sponsor’s total income;
  • Be able to accommodate yourself and your dependants entirely without recourse to public funds; and
  • Be able to communicate in English and present an English language speaking and listening qualification at a minimum A1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless you are exempt.

47% of UK Workers do not meet the Financial Requirements

There have been a number of stories in the news regarding spouses of UK citizens failing to meet the above mentioned requirements by the Home Office. In particular, the financial requirement has been the main cause of concern amongst spouses. 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.

In R (on the application of MM) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] 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.

Unfortunately, as we reported earlier this month the verdict was released on 11 July 2014, which the Court of Appeal stated that the Home Office are justified in refusing applications in which the Applicants’ do not meet the financial maintenance requirement as specified under Appendix FM required.

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.

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