A recent report commissioned by the Children’s Commissioner for England from Middlesex University and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), has revealed that at least 15,000 children have been affected by changes to the financial requirements of the Immigration Rules implemented in 2012. The report, ‘Family Friendly?’ found that the income threshold of £18,600 would not be met by almost half the adult population which would mean many families with children may never be able to meet them. Further, it seems that the Home Office’s case workers are failing to consider the best of interests of children and refusal letters are often legally and factually incorrect.
Minimum Income Threshold of £18600
In 2012 there were amendments and new additions to the immigration rules in regards to entry clearance applications and family reunions. These new rules introduced new requirements which exclude non EU spouses and children from being reunited with their families in the UK unless their British sponsor meets specific financial requirements. The sponsor of an applicant for an entry clearance must earn annually no less than £18,600. Moreover, an additional £3,800 applies for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each subsequent child. The scope of these rules was dual: firstly to secure the welfare and to make sure that child would be safeguarded and secondly to put a threshold and impose controls on the massive wave of immigration United Kingdom is facing in the recent years up until these days.
Family Friendly?: The Findings
In summary, the report found:
- Most of the children (79% in the survey) were British citizens and were suffering from distress and anxiety as a result of separation from a parent;
- The income level would not be met by almost half the adult population and many families with children may never be able to meet them;
- The threshold is too high and is discriminatory;
- British citizens who have lived and worked abroad and formed long-term relationships abroad are particularly penalised and find it very difficult to return to the UK;
- The UK’s Immigration Rules and accompanying complex guidance do not comply with the duty to safeguard and protect the best interests of all children in the UK; and
- Decision-making routinely fails to adequately consider the best interests of children and refusal letters are often legally and factually incorrect.
Are you affected by the ‘Financial Requirement’?
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making relationship based visa application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.
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.