1st Contact is awaiting the outcome of an appeal concerning the income threshold of British citizens with non-EU spouses.
The Home Office is defending the current income threshold of £18,600 per year. In July 2012, a controversial minimum income limit was imposed on British citizens in an attempt to cap the number of non-EU spouses entering the UK. On the ground, what this means is that only British citizens who earn a salary of £18,600 or more can now sponsor their spouses’ visas.
The threshold rises to £22,400 for families with one child, and £2,400 for each additional child.
The ruling has caused an outcry from couples around the world. For spouses living in countries like South Africa, Thailand, India and even the US, the ruling is not only financially unfeasible, but keeps them from their spouses who are based in the UK.
A Home Office spokesperson defended the ruling after claims that the threshold interfered with the right to a private family life. “This is why we revised the family rules, taking advice from the Migration Advisory Committee about income requirements, to make sure those coming to the UK to join their spouse or partner will not become a burden on the taxpayer,” the spokesperson said.
According to Philip Gamble, a leading British nationality and immigration expert, income requirements are there to prevent spouses from depending on public funds once they enter the UK. But he also admits that the limit set by the Home Office is far too high.
“£18,600 is still a lot more than we expect people to live on if they are on benefits. It is more than you would expect to receive if you were doing a normal working week for the national minimum wage.”
Even the Migration Observatory estimates that 32% of employed men and 61% of employed women living in the UK wouldn’t be able to get a visa for a spouse if the same rules applied to them.
This week, the Home Office will defend the income threshold amount, arguing in front of the Court of Appeal as to why it should remain the same (and not be lowered, as many claimants want). The Court of Appeal will also argue for both spouses’ incomes to be taken into consideration together.
1st Contact will be the first to let you know once the outcome of the appeal is known.
*Please follow this link for an update about the minimum income threshold appeal.