UK Families Still in Limbo Pending High Court’s Ruling of UKBA’s Minimum Income Threshold
Nearly five months after the controversial “minimum income threshold” for family migrants was questioned by UK Spouse Visa, UK Fiancée Visa and other UK Settlement Visa applicants all over the world, the issue remains unresolved, which has left thousands of British families separated.
Last July 2013, the UKBA issued a new requirement mandating that all British residents who want to sponsor their families living abroad (including the Philippines) to live with them in the UK should have an annual income of at least £18,600 before they (partners and family abroad) can be allowed to enter the UK.
Thus was born the Minimum Income Threshold. According to the UK government, “…these maintenance rules will ensure that families are able to support themselves and the migrant partner’s integration without being a burden on the general taxpayer.” (House of Commons Library)
ECO-Friendly explains that naturally, this would be an additional burden to UK Spouse Visa, UK Fiancée Visa or other UK Settlement Visa applicants whose British sponsors earn less than the required annual income.
Consider as an example a 45 year-old Security officer of Swansea, Wales (name withheld) who earns £14,000 a year, working at 70-75 hours a week, and whose wife is in the Philippines. Although they have been married a year, and have applied for the wife’s UK Spouse Visa Application in August, she could not possible be reunited with her husband simply because he earns less than the minimum wage required.
As a result of this recently issued requirement, this coming holiday season, families will either spend the Christmas communicating merely through Skype or other forms of internet chat since the much-debated subject matter continue to linger in the august halls of the Court of Appeals, and their applications for a UK Spouse Visa, UK Fiancee Visa or other types of UK Settlement Visa cannot be resolved if the minimum annual income of their British Sponsor is below the minimum economic threshold of £18,600.
ECO-Friendly gathered that the issue will finally be resolved this coming March 2014.
Here is a short excerpt of a report written by the Home Affairs Section of the Library of the House of Commons:
“Various migrants’ rights groups are campaigning against the financial requirement, which they consider to be unfair, disproportionate and counter-productive to the Government’s intentions. In June 2013 a report by members of the APPG on Migration called for an independent review of the requirement and its impact. The Government does not intend to do this. It has made some minor adjustments to the policy, but overall is satisfied that it is operating as intended.
In July 2013 the High Court considered the lawfulness of the financial requirement. It did not strike it down as unlawful in general, but found that certain factors in the way it is applied represent a very significant interference with British citizens’ and refugees’ rights. It suggested some alternative ways in which a financial requirement could be applied.
The Government is appealing against the decision. In the meantime, it has suspended the processing of applications that fall for refusal solely because they do not satisfy the financial requirement rules. Processing continues as normal for applications that fall for refusal for other reasons, and for applications that satisfy the Immigration Rules requirements.”
Due to the pendency of the ruling, the UKBA in their website explained that, the applicant should take into account the fact that if the income threshold is the only requirement which the application do not meet, the Home Office will put said application on hold until the legal challenge is finally determined by the Courts.”