UK Family Migration Rules

The interest on the outcome of the judgement on the UK family migration rules seems to be ever increasing. This is no small wonder in the light of the fact that it is estimated that in excess of
4,500 families lives’ are currently placed on ‘hold’ by the UK Home Office, not counting the thousands of families who decided not to apply, as they do not meet the minimum income criteria.

Background

In July 2012 the UK Home Office introduced new rules that require a minimum income threshold of £18,600 in order to sponsor the settlement of the spouse, partner, fiancé or proposed civil partner in the UK, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored: £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.

The new rules caused a public outcry and have obviously had a huge impact as the financial requirement is simply out of reach for many applicants.

The issue was taken to court, and in July 2013, the UK High Court found the controversial UK immigration rules requiring the minimum income as ‘unjustified and disproportionate’ where the sponsor is a refugee or a British citizen. Following this judgement the UK Home Office announced that it will place all decisions that do not meet the minimum income threshold criteria on hold, until further notice. This pause in considerations is still continuing today.

The UK Home Office furthermore filed an appeal against the July 2013 judgement. The appeal was heard in the Court of Appeal in the beginning of March 2014, and judgment on the appeal is currently awaited.

Whatever the outcome of the challenge, things could possibly change again soon, as legislation is expected that will set out the Government’s definition of the balance to be struck between the financial requirements for spouse and visa applications and the public interest.

Implication for Family Migration applicants

In order to clarify the current situation regarding family migration applications, BIC would like to point out the following;

  • The new rules only apply to applications made on or after 9 July 2012.
  • It is still possible to apply for a spouse/partner or child application under the UK family migration rules, but if you do not meet the minimum income threshold, the UK Home Office will ‘pause’
  • consideration of your application until further notice.
  • If you do meet the minimum income threshold requirement, your application will be considered as usual, and should you fulfil all the other requirements, you should be successful in your application.
  • Applications that will be refused based on the other requirements not being met, such as the English language requirement, and that the relationship must be genuine and subsisting, will be continued to be processed and decided as normal.
  • If your application has been ‘paused’ and you withdraw your application, you will receive your passport back, but will lose your application fee.

Is there an alternative?

For families desperate to an alternative solution, there is the so-called ‘Surinder Singh’ route. For more information on this please contact a BIC consultant for more information.

BIC will inform its clients via its social media pages and newsletter of any developments on the issue. For more assistance with your unique case, please contact our offices at info@bic-immigration.com