Does UK Visa Financial Requirement Discriminate Against Families?

In 2012, the UK government introduced a new minimum income threshold requirement (financial requirement) for family migration from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). British nationals who wish to sponsor a non-EEA spouse must demonstrate a minimum annual income of £18,600; should the British national wish to bring a child to the UK in addition to the spouse, the minimum income requirement increases.

Recently, The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford considered the new financial requirement and highlighted migrants rights groups concerns that the immigration policy discriminates against lower income individuals.

What is the current Home Office 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:

  • British Citizen; or
  • present and settled in the UK; or
  • 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.

Statistics: British Citizens who do not meet the Financial Requirement

According to a Labour Force Survey this year, 28% of British males are not eligible to sponsor a partner, 38% are not eligible to sponsor a partner plus one child and 44% are not eligible to sponsor a partner plus two children.

It seems that 57% of British females are not eligible to sponsor a partner, 67% are not eligible to sponsor a partner plus one child and 72% are not eligible to sponsor a partner plus two children.

Interestingly, 43% of White British nationals are not eligible to sponsor a partner compared to 51% of Non-White British nationals. Sadly, 60% of British citizens aged between 20-29 years old are not eligible to sponsor a partner as their gross annual income is lower than £18,600.

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.

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