UK Tribunal Overturns Home Office Decision to Refuse Spouse Visa

This month, a couple were left overjoyed following a years campaign and a tribunal hearing in Birmingham where a judge overturned the Home Office’s decision to refuse their visa application. Robert Cooper, a British national is married to Brazil born Adna, whose initial resident visa application was refused, based on insufficient evidence of finance. The Home Office has introduced a stringent criteria which you will need to meet in order to make a successful visa application. There is an extensive amount of documentary evidence you will need to provide in order to support the fact that you are in a genuine relationship and that you meet the financial requirements as set by the government. Most applications are refused because applicants have not been able to fully substantiate this.

Home Office Refuse Spouse Visa Application

Robert and Adna met in Sao Paulo, Brazil while Robert was working on a missionary. The couple returned to the UK and got married at Kingswinford Christian Centre, before going back to Brazil to continue working. When Adna wanted to return to the UK, she could only get a tourist visa, therefore cutting her trip shorter then she would of liked.

The Coopers decided to apply for permanent residency in the UK, but the application was refused by the Home Office partly because Robert could not prove that he met the threshold of £18,600. Although Robert does earn the required amount from the Brazilian based church that he works in, he could not provide payslips as his employer, a non-profit organisation, did not supply them, but instead submitted accountant receipts.

The couple lodged an appeal to the Tribunal, where the judge overturned the Home Office’s decision. Mr Cooper stated:

“We were both totally overjoyed – we knew they (Home Office) were wrong, but we were still anxious the case could all be lost and we’d never be able to live together in the UK. It’s been an exhausting year, as a couple we feel like we have overcome an awful lot, but we’re here at last and I can’t wait to get out there and see her again. I hope she can come back with me and we can start life all over again.”

Although the couple are happy with the result, they are still baffled by the initial refusal but believe that the judge overturned the Home Office’s decision because he must have looked at the evidence provided and agreed it was an “unreasonable demand by the Home Office.”

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 [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. 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.

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