Good news for spouses

Many newly married find it difficult to bring their wife or husband because the current Immigration Rules require of them to earn at least £18,600 before making an application. The minimum earning requirement in addition with the language test requirement can make it close to impossible for many spouses to come to the UK and join their husband or wife.

The good news is that on 05 July 2013 the High Court has handed down judgment in a judicial review challenge to changes to the Immigration Rules introduced by the addition of Appendix FM last year.

Under the Immigration Rules only British citizens, or those with refugee status, who earn at least £18,600 a year can sponsor their non-European spouse's visa. The three appeals before the High Court challenged the rules on the basis that they are discriminatory and interfere with the right to a private and family life.

In the judgment, Justice Blake concluded that the rules were not unlawful, however, he did find that the earnings threshold would amount to a disproportionate interference with family life if combined with one of the four other requirements in the rules - for example, an inability to supplement a shortfall in income with savings, unless the savings were over £16,000. Mr Justice Blake said the court would not strike down the rules, but urged the Home Secretary to adjust them, saying they were onerous and unjustified.

In a statement, the Home Office said:

On 5 July 2013 the High Court delivered its judgment on a legal challenge to the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route.

The Home Office has paused decision-making on some spouse/partner and child settlement visa and leave to remain applications to enable us to consider the implications of the judgment.

The pause applies to applications made under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules where the application would be refused solely because the rules relating to the minimum income threshold are not met, including where relevant the evidence requirements in Appendix FM-SE.

The same approach is being applied to a small number of adoption cases which would be refused on this ground alone.

Applications which meet the Rules or which fall to be refused on other grounds, such as requirements for English language or a genuine and subsisting relationship, will continue to be processed and decided as normal.

A further announcement will be made in due course.

According to BBC News, the Secretary of State has been given permission to appeal.


Source: EIN and BBC News