minimum £18,600 income for foreign spouse, supreme court rules

By: Cynthia Barker

Immigration Adviser

 

Home Office minimum income rules for non-EEA spouses, which have kept thousands of families apart by preventing British citizens bringing their foreign partners to the UK, are lawful “in principle” the Supreme Court has ruled. The judgement conceded that the UK government’s rules had the “legitimate” aim of ensuring “that the couple do not have recourse to benefits and have sufficient resources to play a full part in British life”.

However, Judges added that children’s welfare must be protected in immigration decisions, and said the Immigration Rules fail to treat “the best interests of children as a primary consideration”. Seven Judges sitting at the UK’s highest court rejected an appeal by families who argued that the rules breached their human right to a family life. But said that the rules failed to take “proper account” of the duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children when making decisions which affect them.

Since 2012, British citizens have been required to earn over £18,600 before a husband or wife from outside the Euro-pean Economic Area (EEA) can settle in the UK. The minimum income increases to £22,400 where couples have a child

who does not have British citizenship and then by an additional £2,400 for each subsequent child. Campaigners, such as the JCWI claim the minimum income requirement has torn families apart. The Immigration Rule on income does not apply to spouses from within the EEA and some British citizens have taken ad-vantage of earlier judgements, such as Surinder Singh to bring in spouses via the EEA without the need to show the mini-mum income.

In one of the cases we handled a father was unable to come to the UK to be with his wife and their baby twin daughters. Since the wife had to stop working when her pregnancy was progressing, she lost her income and her savings were simply not enough to meet the financial requirements in Appendix FM. She has no option but to wait for the twins to be old enough so she could work full time again. It would have helped her if the husband could join her to help look after the kids while she worked, but she instead is forced to rely on public funds for now, which is totally the opposite of what the British government wanted in the first place. If you need further advice or have visa or employment issues, please email me —cynthiabarker@me.com

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