"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Week's roundup and update on MM

Update 16th June 2014 : This summary is now available here :
http://www.scribd.com/doc/231039718/MM-and-Ors-Case-Overview

by Sonel

Allo eager beavers and grab a cuppa - its a bloody long one.

Thank you to all those patiently waiting to hear about the MM case - I haven't responded to individual requests given below is a more efficient way to provide an update. 

The two days in court were very interesting and lots of fun, despite the oh-so-many references to case law which meant not very much to those of us who dont have the legal background to understand their relevance.  Able to follow a lot though and it was certainly evident from the very beginning the difficulties faced by the Home Office side in trying to defend rules which are clearly wrong.

RCJ is a beautiful building - do visit if you're in London.  I was expecting a massive room given we were in courtroom 76 - apparently the largest one - with an atmosphere more akin to those seen in US courtroom dramas.  However as is the British way, things were much more "civilised"

I write below with my views of the 2 days - read with care as it's based only on my hastily scrawled notes and at times rusty memory; for something more definitive, I've been told court transcripts are available for £25 a page :)

Attendance
The first day was fantastically attended with close to 40 ppl despite the last minute change in date: demo outside was peaceful, and individuals were interviewed by a Filipino journo and a reporter from Al Jazeera on how the rules impacted them. The courtroom was packed - only a couple of spare seats indicative of a great turnout (lawyers said makes a huge difference for judges to see ppl affected by the rules as indicates level of public interest as well) and it was clear to the judges which side all of us were on.  Second day saw the hardcorers (I wont name as will end up leaving someone out) return, along with representatives of ppl who couldn't be there...around 10 of us there in total which is very good.  Many many thanks to those who attended the demo and/or hearing. Every single person made a difference.



Thank you

The last month has been pretty intense but BritCits is and always has been about the collective effort of all members.  I got a lot of thank-yous from the barristers which I credit to you as BC has seen an insane amount of work put in over the last 1.5 years from Steven too, but we'd not have had much material to work on without your sharing what often is personal and painful info which is the only thing that led to my being able to make a witness statement in the first place  - cited by the lawyers as the single most important piece of evidence in their demonstrating the real-life impact on actual families.  This statement would NOT have been possible without you - so my sincere and heartfelt thanks.

Some of you are aware that the HO side objected to the statement being allowed as evidence, but whether formally admitted or not, judges will read through it and they did listen to evidence from all the barristers on it, so I don't imagine they can not be influenced by it. Individual cases from the BC portfolio were referred to and the entire doc containing case studies of all those impacted by the financial requirement submitted as evidence as well.

I have tweeted from my notes specifics of the hearing so pls go to twitter @BritCits (which also mentions names of many of the cases cited) or my BC FB page (www.facebook.com/britcits) to see these; I missed part of the afternoon session on the second day as had a meeting with David Hanson (shadow immigration minister - also quite interesting - whether fruitful or not time will tell) and work commitments called.  At some point I will work through Mark's detailed notes from the part of the hearing I was forced to miss which he very kindly agreed to take and share with me (ta again).

Overall All (both sides and the judges) agreed rules are NOT compliant with Article 8. This is a big thing, as Article 8 is the law as the judge stated very clearly during the proceedings. 

I felt both days were very positive, and all indications seem to suggest the panel of three judges could see the rules failing on several fronts - especially as they impact British citizens and refugees; former who have the right to live here 'without let or hinderance' and the second group as not really having the option of going home or even exercising free movement rights.

No guarantees however, so whilst be hopeful and positive, hold off on the celebrations just yet.

What happens now?

Manjit Gill, the lead barrister pointed out to the judge the hold put on cases since 5 July 2013; the judge 'promised' they would take less time than Justice Blake did.  For info, J.Blake took about 5 months, but a member of the legal team indicated we can realisitically expect something within 4-8 weeks.  Not in any of our hands though, so only thing we know for certain is less than 5 months. [I think judges have already made up their mind, but they need time to read through the voluminous amounts of paperwork].  Other barristers on the 'good' side who submitted evidence were Richard Drabble, Ramby de Mello, Tony Muman, Navtej Singh Ahluwalia, Ineza Hussain and Aftab Rashid.

Indications are that HO will appeal any decision that goes against them, with a view to going to Supreme Court. In my view, this would purely be an attempt to delay any negative press till after the 2015 election.  So strategy BC will adopt is to try and raise the profile of how much the Home Office has spent on legal fees, with our trying to dissuade May from taking this any further.  Theresa May is power hungry and this may well be a matter of pride now so it's likely she will charge ahead irrespective of the cost to the taxpayer....but we will try.

What can you do?
Keep raising the impact of the rules with your MP whether still affected or not; share your story with BC if you haven't already, respond to questions on the various FB groups to help others.  Also any examples you can find showing Theresa May having engaged in litigation (Abu Qatada, the recent Botswana example, the 'cat' one, deportation cases etc) - anything to demonstrate that she is litigious to the point of being irrational - please send across to me.

Home Office

I think HO's main arguments fell within the following points:

1) 'Scheme as a whole' is Article 8 compliant, defining scheme as the combination of the rules + guidance + obtaining ministerial authority + tribunals. 

Rules: This is despite the fact that the original Statement of Intent suggested Theresa May wanted the rules to encompass all article 8 features as a standalone document.

Guidance: It was made clear during hearing that guidance issued in October 2013 (1+ year after the rules were in place).

Ministerial authority: Evidence provided showing Mark Harper referred only to ONE case of exercising his ministerial authority to grant leave outside of the rules under exceptional circumstances (judge commented that this was evidence of just one exception in over a year of the rules being in place).  ==> Column 278WH http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130619/halltext/130619h0002.htm

Tribunals: Judge said tribunals would apply Article 8 as Human Rights Act is the law. 

The message I got is that the judges don't think its right that several layers skip Article 8 with ppl being forced to rely only on the judicial system to apply the law. 

2) That policy making falls within the remit of the government and therefore the court should not interfere; that Justice Blake went too far. 

This is true to an extent in that judges can't tell the govt what the rules should be. However they do and must, get involved if the rules are not lawful.

3) Judges to accept that rules had had 'more' than the normal level of parliamentary scrutiny.

MM side

Three clients involved, so three barristers spoke addressing many very relevant things including but not limited to:

1)  Irrelevance of the cases referred to by the HO side to this situation (often declared by HO itself as not being 'material'!)

2) Citing cases justifying the courts getting involved, and that Justice Blake did not in fact go far enough.

3) That not one refusal letter showing exercising of article 8 by ECOs had been seen.

4) ECOs spending 6-12 mins making a decision, questioning why therefore were application fees so high and only increasing; and how could a situation really be assessed in such little time if clearly a tick-box exercise was used.

5) Citing cases that showed the rigidity of the rules as well as their incorrect application e.g. someone below the threshold by £0.69 per week was refused a visa; £15,999 cash savings ignored, overtime disallowed even though rules allow for it, lowest payslip annualised using statutory sick pay received for 1 week out of the 6 months even where the total annual salary was over £18,600. The government's response on cases such as the £0.69 shortfall in income being refused a visa is that there is no near-miss principle in the rules [translation:common sense not allowed].

6) Section 55 i.e. best interest of child clearly not being considered

7) That Brits were being forced into exile; families were breaking up; irrational that so many felt only route open to family reunification was going down Surinder Singh route to achieve same aim of settling in the UK

8) 30 month probationary period too long and intrusive

9) Reminder to court that while minimum income threshold was one for the govt to set, court retains obligation to rigorously test measures adopted are proportionate.

10) Non-EEA spouses have no recourse to public funds and Secretary of State has been taking undertakings from sponsors that should there come a time when migrant spouse has recourse to public funds, sponsor would reimburse ==> clearly therefore not a drain on the public purse.

11) These weren't sham or forced marriages affected; the right to marry, co-habit and raise a family were a fundamental and constitutional right, therefore any interference must be justified.

12) Integration as a reason for the rules not right, as rather than help people fit into society, they were keeping couples apart, with 50% of workforce unable to meet income level and 122/401 occupations earning on average less than £18,600.  Huge issue as in Quila at least it was clear that an 18 year old would reach age 21; here some may never be able to meet £18,600. This level of interference 'disproportionate' and not the least intrusive one which could have been adopted to achieve stated aims, given 3rd party support also excluded.

13) That the rules were not subject to sufficient parliamentary scrutiny, referring to the evidence for this as Hansard records and letter from the Chair of the Joint Committee of Human Rights to Theresa May: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/joint-committees/human-rights/Letter_to_Theresa_May_immigration_rules_110711%29.pdf

14) Mismatch between the assumptions forming part of the £18,600 recommendation put forward by MAC - which included £6k for accommodation yet the income requirement was not lowered where it was demonstrated that applicant had mortgage-free/rent-free accommodation available to them.

15) Further barriers for those overseas, even where they may have been earning over £18,600, who wished to return home, given guidance required them too to have a job ready in the UK paying >= £18,600

Judges

Asked several questions / made comments to confirm the arguments being made. Memorable ones:

1) In response to HO saying that there was guidance on leave to be granted outside of rules on Article 8 grounds, judge pointed out that the rules clearly said that if the application failed to meet the financial requirements, it must be refused.

2) Said that there must be a balance of interest towards community in terms of the cost and benefit to public purse, and the interest of a smaller and specific group.  HO response was that the courts should take a less intrusive approach, citing the example of cigarette vending machines where commercial considerations were balanced with those of the individuals (or something like that!).

3) Thought the only thing being discussed is whether Article 8(2) applied, but HO side contested saying they did not recognise the right of citizens under Article 8 to live in the UK with their spouse.  HO suggested citizens could go live with their spouse elsewhere.  Later HO suggested a couple (one British partner) having spent several years living in Australia who then 'choose' to move to the UK be considered less favourably as it was a choice to relocate. i.e. HO said there is "no general right to live in country of choice".

4) Confirmed HO was not distinguishing between the rules and their impact between citizens, refugees and others settled in the UK.

5) In response to the HO side saying reach of article 8 is primarily for the Strasbourg court to develop, said "...but this is fundamental Article 8 stuff.  There can't be anything more fundamental than living with your wife and children."  [sexist, but you get the gist!]

6) In response to HO citing cases where restriction applied to applicant being allowed to live in the country of their partner, judge pointed out that the cases being cited were from the point of view of the applicant, but sponsor's immigration status not contentious. Govt agreed and said they were looking at the immigration status of the applicant.  Judge's response "but the income requirement applies to the sponsor not applicant" could elicit no real response from the HO side other than that Theresa May intended the rules to take into account article 8, but thats not a guarantee (!), citing the case of Huang.

7) In response to the HO side explaining why a job offer made to the non-EEA spouse was not accepted, they said 'a guaranteed job offer is not binding', leading the judge to say if it's a guarantee it's guaranteed, so which is it!  Govt ummed and ahhed, essentially suggesting that such a job offer couldnt really be verified, but that even if was verified as genuine and reliable, one would expect job could be lost (well, duh - this applies to any one of us!) and said that's why even UK national sponsors were required to evidence employment over a period to demonstrate stability.  HO suggested that spouses could instead come in under the Tier 2 route if they had jobs.

Govt went back to this point immediately questioning why the assessment of genuine jobs as done under Tier 2 could not be extended to spouses under the family route, saying they were raising this point in response to the HO trying to justify why job offers to foreign spouses was not acceptable as evidence of income. HO's only response to this was "I'm not explaining why it's not but explaining why the Secretary of State is allowed to exclude this, as there are substantial risks and uncertainties".

This was essentially the HO's response to most things - i.e. we're allowed to do this.

8) Judge to HO side: "So you're saying it's easier to integrate if you're more affluent than if you're poor."  HO side: "Yes." 
Clearly not true and it didn't seem like the judges will blindly accept integration being a valid reason justifying the rules being what they are.

9) Judges were keen to find out whether there were any circumstances where a person on benefits would receive less than £18,600.  HO didnt have info handy but did provide it during the course of the hearing.

Let you know when there are any further developments.

Regards

Sonel Mehta

107 comments:

  1. hi what is the gut feeling with this case do you think we will get the right outcome
    or would it be better to take the spouse visa out of hold as the end of year is coming and my son will now meet the £18.600 but it will cost them so much from their savings to reapply or SHOULD WE BE PATIENT

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know your circumstances Maureen. It's likely this is going to the Supreme Court so there's a way to go and nobody knows what the outcome will be (though our lawyers are doing a great job).

      I think if I were in your son's shoes I'd reapply if I were to meet the income requirement. It's a fairly sure thing (assuming all the other requirements are yet) versus a situation that's still in play. But that's just a personal opinion of me imagining myself in your son's shoes - it's not advice in any way.

      Delete
  2. Just wanted to say thank you for all you do. I'm in the USA and couldn't attend but would have done if I could. Thanks for the incredibly thorough report. Fascinating reading. I only hope good comes of this and things are loosened up enabling us (and many others like us) to finally come home as a family after I've been away for 27 years. Thanks again!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind comment. Obviously there is a lot going on on the whole issue outside even of this court case - it takes a big campaign and a lot of work by us and also our comrades in MRN, JCWI and other groups to get to this stage.

      Delete
  3. Hy thanks for updating ..keep updating...hope 18.600 will go soon.....can u please tel me end of the march there should be positive impact for applicants whose application are on hold ..

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    Replies
    1. Per other comments, we need to keep campaigning. This is likely to go to the Supreme Court. We need everyone to keep campaigning - basically. :) Check the meetups for other events going on.

      Delete
  4. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
    So far it seems the outcome could be positive and swing in our favour. I've been married 6 months and 4 of those my Wife has been by herself in the UK! What Theresa May also fails to recognise, is the added financial strain of spouses being apart. Not only is my wife paying her own rent in the UK, but I am also paying rent to live in South Africa. Add that to a double grocery bill, insurance costs, travel costs etc it all adds up. What we should be saving as a couple we are forced to spend JUST on living costs because the Home Office has no common sense whatsoever!

    On top of this (unrelated) - the British Embassy in Pretoria S.A. lost my wife's passport when she renewed it. We had to pay for an emergency passport, then travel to Liverpool to apply for a new one. 3 weeks later I got a charge from SA for the passport they 'Found'. The best part is - they refuse to reimburse me for the costs and for a double charge on the passport!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi all -

    Thanks for your comments.

    I don't think it's wise to speculate too much about the outcome at this stage - it could be very positive, it could go the other way, it could be somewhere in between. A lot depends on the judges and it's basically impossible to judge - we don't want to be unduly pessimistic, but at the same time we don't want to raise false hope.

    What I can say is that the general feeling is that our lawyers did an excellent professional job and presented the arguments in the best way possible. We have a great team. Manjit Gill is one of the best immigration lawyers in the country, and both Sonel and I have liaised with members of the team over many months.

    This also emphasises the importance of campaigning. A lot of the work we've been able to do is on the basis of going to campaign meetings (there's a meetup site if you haven't seen it - meetup.com/britcits) and generally building up the campaign.

    We just don't know what the final result will be. Remember that in Blake's judgement, he recommended dropping the requirement to 13k. This helps a lot of people, but it won't help all - for example, retired people. The final result could fall in between positive and negative, with concessions in certain areas.

    Whatever happens, our view is that either side will appeal and this is likely to go to the Supreme Court. Again, concessions are possible, but not guaranteed.

    We just don't know I'm afraid. So we all have to keep campaigning.

    There are a few other posts on this page about upcoming events, so if you are able to, please do attend - as this makes a difference too.

    - Steve

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is absolutely correct ..HO just want to make all application delay so they hav enough time to refuse them.....its very bad feeling coming out but I am sure however if they will appeal against new decision they want win...they just want to carry till 2015...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for this. I have about 7 months until I apply so am desperately trying to meet this horrible financial requirement for my partner now...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Omg ..I cant wait....waiting for decision desperately. ....any news???

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    2. Hey Anonymous, not yet - it's only been a week.

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  8. The legal team at 43 Temple Row Chambers has done a write-up on this issue which readers may be interested in: http://t.co/vnLUnCMK6s

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    Replies
    1. Oh thanks for da rep....yah I know but its still 3 months said for waiting of outcmes...oMG....hope decision will come ASAP.

      Delete
  9. Thanks so much for this, Sonel, the work you, Steven and the others do for this is always appreciated. I am amazed at the HO stance on this, some of their answers and points are ridiculous...hopefully the judges will see that and things will change for the better for some of us in this awful position.

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    Replies
    1. That's very kind. Thanks LulaBel.

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  10. Thanks for the update. I am shocked with HO argument (or lack of argument) to some of the answers.....

    ReplyDelete
  11. I met my husband in Jan 2011 while I was living and working in the Dominican Republic, we had our son in September 2012, and got married in Jan 2013, we came to the UK in July 2014, him on a 6 month family visitor visa as I had been in the DR for 5 years, and needed to find a job back in the UK, which I stupidly thought would be easy! I did get a job in September, but it falls under the £18,600, I was hoping it would change when it went to court this month, with immediate effect, but obviously not....my husband returned to the DR in January this year, and our son has not been without his father for 2 months and I have been without my husband for the first time since being together. We are both depressed with being apart from each other, and of course, our son is missing out on having his father in his life all because of our government. Now we're looking at another year from now until this new law will hopefully, fingers crossed will come into effect! Only other thing I could do is TRY and find a job earning the £18,600....fat chance when you live in a small town in the country!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear about your situation Anonymous. Do you know of the Meetup and various Facebook support groups where you can find people in the same situation?

      In the words of the 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', don't panic, don't be depressed. Keep the faith.

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  12. One thing that seems to be missing from these discussions is how students are affected. My fiance started University late. He's 21, and about to finish the second year of his chemistry degree. We met 4 years ago, and are going to be married this April. How on earth is my fiance supposed to be making that sort of money when he's still at university? How is ANY student, especially ones still working on their undergrad, supposed to qualify? Yes, we are young, but we are adults, and if we are legally allowed to marry, we should be allowed to live together. It particularly bothers us that non-EU students at our university have a pathway to bring their foreign spouses over, and many do, but there is no such pathway set up for British students to bring their foreign spouses over, other than this ridiculously unattainable visa. Theresa May can go on and on about how we can "choose where we want to live", but my fiance wants to finish his degree! Are we supposed to wait 2 years? We're going to take a year off to do SS, but we're not sure if it's going to work, and it's STUPID that we have to do that. And honestly, in this economic climate, how many people fresh out of their undergrad make over 18,600? Pretty much none. We shouldn't be penalized for our youth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do our best Anonymous! :) But - you are right - and very well expressed. Migration Observatory's piece http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/press-releases/women-young-people-and-non-londoners-are-most-affected-changes-family-migration-polic actually highlighted the impact on young people - people in their formative years - only a month before the rules came into force. It's an excellent piece which everyone concerned about the issue should be familiar with.

      You may also be familiar with Immigration Insight http://immigrationinsight.co.uk/ . One of the creators of the site has had his story featured on BritCits - he is a recent graduated and affected in exactly the way you describe.

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    2. Agree completely and I did raise this point with the barrister. The discrimination compared with non-EEA students unfortunately wasnt considered relevant enough for this case - I'd have been happy to comment on it though. However, may be something to keep an eye on depending on what happens with the income rules. Do stay in touch with us and email letting us know you're in this position so we know who to contact if/when the time comes.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the links, Steven. And I'm sorry if I came off sounding critical of the work done here-- I'm massively grateful for everything you guys do. My anger is meant for the politicians behind these laws. They seem to be the ones ignoring the different ways the immigration laws can affect different groups of people.

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    4. Hi Anonymous, that's quite ok. :) There are so many different ways that people can fall victim to this situation that there's no way to emphasise one kind of situation over others any more! All the best to you.

      Delete
  13. P.S.-- just realized I forgot to thank Sonel for the good work. Thank you so much for the excellent write-up, Sonel.

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  14. My pleasure! Let's hope it leads to a positive result.

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  15. Hi there hopefully it goes are way been waiting one and half years haven't seen my wife just met her twice its very stressful and frustrating, anyway you guys are doing a good job I just wanted to whats the group name on face book so I would like join please let me know thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anonymous - very kind of you. There are actually numerous ways to get support on both Facebook and Twitter - check Sonel's comment below or follow the blog to see some of the links we regularly source.

      I know it's frustrating - hang in there! You're not alone in this.....

      Delete
  16. https://www.facebook.com/groups/458130764223591/

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/139807999382936/

    https://www.facebook.com/britcits1

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  17. i want to know what is new minimum income after this decision???????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hy..it will b 13.500 ...

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  18. I have been here since 2000 deport 2005 came back after a month time. I have made different apples all of them included FLRO and secretary of state refused my appeal last July. I’m much stressed. I haven’t heard yet for last appeal judicatory review cases since August 2013. I don't know what to do because i haven't got even solicitor at moment

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear about your situation Anonymous. We wish you all the best.

      Delete
    2. Thanks very much for the support Steven. I living on very deficit time. Wakening up from bad dreams cry as litter child because i miss my mum and brothers also my background is from Europe country which haven't join yet EU union. Is so sad to get refused of my application from mr Kumbar which his background is oversees

      Delete
  19. Hi Steve,Thanks for all the updates and the hard works you guys have done.I just wonder if it would be possible to supplement my new income information to the Home Office for this coming month as my tax year about to start instead of reapplying from scratch? As my spouse visa has been still on hold since last August. My last income was only £13300.Would it be sufficient,Steve?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's best to talk to a lawyer about this one - I can't advise I'm afraid (we're not allowed to!).

      I recommend also having a good read through the Statement of Intent for the rules which lay out the conditions whereby you can meet the income requirement, and seeing how your situation fits into this. There are some worked examples as well. I think you'll find this helpful.

      The link is here : http://www.scribd.com/doc/129790309/soi-fam-mig

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    2. By the way - good luck!

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  20. A wonderful article, thanks for posting. I am lucky and meet the financial requirement as a sponsor but worry over the very long probation time and huge fees for a visa - I didn't realise our visa was decided in under 15 minutes!
    I also feel the financial requirement is way too high and it was changed during a recession!
    Our immigration 'problem' (if you can call is that) is not going to be fixed via an obscene financial requirement for non-eea where the only real increasing immigration percentage is from Europe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very glad you got your visa sorted so efficiently, and well done.

      The situation which people find themselves in is completely manufactured - there are roughly as many British people living elsewhere in Europe as there are non-UK EU citizens living in the UK, and those Europeans in the UK are economically productive - less likely to claim benefits than British citizens.

      The whole thing is media hype - moral panic - and the victimisation of people who are just trying to make a life for themselves, whether through love, work, study, or just a safe place to be.

      Delete
  21. When will the final hearing for the Minimum Income threshold take place?
    What is the current status of the appeal?
    Is it likely to go any lower?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See my and Sonel's comments above and Sonel's comments in the article please. :)

      The realistic timeframe to hear back on this is a couple of months. As soon as we know anything we'll post it.

      Delete
  22. hi, i am not sure what to do my daughter got a new job in august 2012 wages £16500.00 also works in the family business and earns £2650.00 total before tax £19150.00 . she got married in march 2013. her husband's visa has been put on hold because she did not meet the £18600.00 before she applied everything else is ok. the court case has been heard.on the internet it does say if you meet the requirement regarding wages then your visa will be granted.she is going to india for the third time to be with him, this is putting alot of pressure on both of them because they miss each other. if she goes to stay longer then she risks losing her job, she has a one bed flat free of rent.what is she to do please help what is the next step

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous - you really need legal advice on this. We obviously don't know all the details of your daughter's case and we are not legally qualified to advise anyway. Please please please be very careful of taking advice off the Internet - it's a fantastic resource, but there's a lot that's not there as well, and there's a lot that's easy to misunderstand or which is very specific.

      Obviously if your daughter is now meeting the income requirement this is a big plus. She and her husband may need to hold on a little longer - don't make any hasty decisions. But do see a well-qualified lawyer on this one.

      This is a good resource :
      http://goodlawyerguide.co.uk/

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    2. You may also wish to check out local migrant centres which sometimes provide legal help or give pointers to where you can get it. If you tell me roughly where you are in the country, I'll tell you if I know of one.

      Delete
  23. Thanks much for all this... this is what we need, to unite in solidarity. But I just feel it's all falling on deaf ears. To live without your real love and a first and most loved child for the first 2 years of their life... it's just nigh impossible.

    Honestly, this is just plain 21st Century Neo-Nazism. I can't believe how this is destroying genuine and authentic families and children in every way possible against humanity, yet let go on without stoppage in the UK. We've not improved one bit since the Medieval times, really, have we.

    I can understand Theresa's apparent concern for illegal immigrants and sham marriages - in addition to foreigners who take advantage of British citizens, duping them in relationships while their only real motive is the British turf and Citizenship. It's real, and existent of epic proportions.

    But her financial barrier is truly an epidemic worse than AIDS.

    I've nearly had my case refused... I know it will be a refusal - I applied anyway. The total application cost me £8500, twice traveling to her country where bribery is the only route. We've been married 3 years and have a 1.5 year old daughter together. I pay for her every cost abroad and I've lived with her for 1.4 years over there. I met her in a massive Earthquake in 2005 while I worked in the medical field, and later went back to meet and marry her. The love is as real as real, and my second relationship in my life (first died).

    My wageslips showed £10,000 in 6 months including a week off on Parental Leave and 2 days off sick, However, every week was a different amount, some as low as £340 and some as high as £1000 (non-salary, commission/overtime/bonus). Additionally, I've only worked in the current role for 11 months but was earning less 8 months priorly.

    I don't really know what to do. My wife, daughter and I have been at great risk of harm - extortion, kidnap, abduction, rape, hardship, slavery and physical torture/beatings every day. And it's occurred at least 18 times in 3 years now, each time I was robbed and kidnapped, beaten, and all my belongings and cash stolen in her country. I've been extremely ill every time I've visited her for weeks on end too, and it is now stopping me from working as I physically just can't perform with illness - I've tried and collapsed at work and been hospitalized for 4 weeks recently.

    I'll appeal, but meanwhile, I'll be gone to Ireland 'cus I just don't have any time. My daughter... it's killing me, her and my wife daily. So depressed and stressed daily. There's no net and barely any electricity where they live... 40-50C swarming of mosquitoes.

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    1. Hi Kaz.

      I'm very sorry to hear of your situation.

      Where are you, may I ask? On the basis of your mention of the earthquake, I am going to guess Pakistan.

      Take care of yourself.

      Delete
    2. Hi is there any update about hearing im so stresful

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    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    5. (A couple of comments removed).

      Anonymous, to answer your question - nobody has an update yet; it is likely to take months rather than days or weeks; and even when there is a decision, there's likely to be an appeal. So it will be months yet.

      I've removed a couple of comments because that's the only honest answer anyone can give. Speculating on a timeline of days for this campaign is pointless and it raises false hope. We've seen a lot of that in this campaign. It's better to be honest, realistic, and accept there are things we just can't know yet.

      As soon as we have an update we can share, we will share it.

      Delete
    6. Hi Steven,

      Yep, upper Kashmir under Pakistan control. Mountainous area.

      The odd thing is, I have shares worth £6k in value today, company shares worth £4.5k today, am getting a promotion in 5 days and I have a Sole Trader business that netted me £5k in net profit this tax year 13-14 (it's second year). I never included nor added any of these to my Cat A financial requirement application, though I listed that I have these.

      I made 10k in 6 months in my main job but every month was different. Some as low as £1170, some as high as £2600.

      How would shares be included in the financial requirement... if I applied under Cat. A £18.6k but had a shortage of £1-2k?
      Or my gross profit from self-employment?
      I wonder...

      Cheers

      Delete
    7. Kaz -

      Do some reading up about the types of savings which are allowed during the application process. I think you'll find that shares generally aren't allowed (but cash savings are, if a person sells shares). Youll have to do your own research on this though.

      Delete
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. From my understanding of this hearing the main objective is to lower the income requirement, but what about the citizens who have lived with their spouses overseas and now want to return home? It disturbed me to see HO suggested citizens could go live with their spouse elsewhere! If I am British surely I have a right to live in Britain with my family regardless of my financial status, as long as we are not a burden to the tax payer, I have never required any benefits from any state! Later HO suggested a couple (one British partner) having spent several years living in Australia who then 'choose' to move to the UK be considered less favourably as it was a choice to relocate. i.e. HO said there is "no general right to live in country of choice". How can I have no right to return to my own country with my husband of six years (together 11years) and our dual nationality child of 8 months? I left the UK when I was young and fell in love with a man from another country, at no point did I think that I wouldn't be able to return home without having to separate from him and subsequently separate him from our new baby! Why should I have to defend previous decisions that I have made just so I can return to my country and live with my family? We are likely to follow the Surinder Singh route to come home, but this just means that our savings will be used trying to get by in a european country instead of using those funds to settle in the UK. It just seems so senseless, do you think these rules will ever change so that we can return without prejudice and allow our son to enjoy his right to reside in Britain?

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    1. Hi Anonymous - Thanks for your comment.

      I totally agree with you. One very insidious aspect of the rules is that they attack family life on many levels - even once you have the visa, you have a 5 year wait, with all that entails in terms of people being stuck in situations! We have anecdotal evidence of people having problems with employment and landlords as well.

      As I see it, the lawyers can only bring a case when they identify a client who is prepared to, and when there is a -realistic- chance of winning. This is very much a personal opinion, but it is sensible and strategic to attack at the weakest point, which is the income requirement.

      As I've said on other occasions, even with the best possible outcome in the court case, there will still be many people who it -doesn't- help. This is, as I say, because the rules are insidious and attack people's rights on many levels.

      We have to keep campaigning on all fronts and for all people affected. The law is very important - and it's a great tool for rectifying injustices and also opening a space for further debate and progress. But the law is -only- a tool, and campaigning is what gets us to the stage where we can make political, legal and social-cultural progress.

      We also need to keep looking for solutions for those stuck in these situations. This is why the Surinder Singh route, for example, is a wonderful thing; it's a potential solution for -some- of those affected.

      My best wishes to you, keep fighting, and I hope you can find yourself in a better place soon.

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much for your response, I know it doesn't solve anything for now but it is so nice to feel like someone at least understands. Best of luck with your campaigns.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for all your information. I failed to meet the income / savings requirement by £10. My current income / savings are now above the threshold and have been so for the last 6 months. Our appeal date is 6th May. Can I make a fresh application now and continue with the appeal at the same time? Many thanks

      Delete
    4. Hi Shahid - thanks for your comment.

      In short, I don't know the answer to your question and we're not allowed to give that kind of advice (as non-legal practitioners). As you gave an appeal, I'm assuming you have legal representation of some kind - this is a question you need to ask your lawyer.

      Well done on getting above the threshold - that's a big step forward, either way!

      Delete
    5. '... as you HAVE an appeal' - I mean!

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  26. Great summing up of the case so far, thanks for keeping us informed. My US wife and I are embarking upon our surindher singh route next month amid the tightened regulations imposed on it because I am self employed and dont meet the financial fresh hold for sponsorship.
    The last thing in your summary of the judges comments raised questions for me. Was it a typo or did they really ask whether there are any cases where a person would receive LESS on benefits? Can this be true, do people on benefits really receive that much money? I was underthe iimpression that you get much less than that on benefits.
    Obviously I understand that should you be meeting the fresh hold through benefits your spouse still wouldn't be granted a visa. It just shocked me that the question was raised and I hope to hear the HO's response, yet alas it will probably be avoided by political hokum spin.

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    Replies
    1. I think the point the judges were trying to ascertain here is that why require an income level which is higher than what some ppl would receive on benefits?

      Delete
  27. Hi everyone, if anyone would like any support with visa applications...

    here is a website which have knowledge people who help for free..

    http://www.expatforum.com/

    Sign up ...


    Hope this helps..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is there any news for spouse

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    2. Hy please advise me of my queries.
      I have applied for my FLR (M)
      In September 2012, I am still waiting for judge decision on income thershold.
      my question is ,
      My wife is on full benefits
      she is not working as I have 3 step kid and one my own 9 month baby.
      So how come HO put my application on hold ratherthan human rights because my wife haven't got any income from work..does it take any sense for put me on hold .
      Please advise me
      thanks

      Delete
  28. Hy..I have applied for FLR-m in September 2012., unfortunately my wife is on full benefits ( HB-JSA- CTC-CB) because I have 3 step children and one my own 9 month old baby....I am student, my college has been closed in just onr month of my arrival in england.fortunately I have registered my marriage here aswell .I submitted all relevant documents through my solicitor .I have done biomatric and etc..now I am just confuse howcome HO is sayin we have put your application on hold because yor partner invome is not 18.600....how us that happen all income are from benefit and how they concider in income..can u please light on my confusion many thabks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous.

      I'm afraid we can't really know from here - best to check with your solicitor. We just don't know enough about your circumstances.

      Delete
    2. I hope you can find a resolution to this soon!

      Delete
  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. How abt the EX1 paragraph does it serve as an exception for financial income ?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi .... I wud like a help from any1 tht cud help ... Me n my wife (British citizen) got married 2012 and we have a beautiful daughter (British citizen) . I applied for spouse visa August 2013 . I earn £12,000 and my wife look after out 9 months baby. Now home officer put my application on hold pending their battle wit court ... I m a graduate wit an m.sc degree I have read all the home office guidance on visa and camHi .... I wud like a help from any1 tht cud help ... Me n my wife (British citizen) got married 2012 and we have a beautiful daughter (British citizen) . I applied for spouse visa August 2013 . I earn £12,000 and my wife look after out 9 months baby. Now home officer put my application on hold pending their battle wit court ... I m a graduate wit an m.sc degree I have read all the home office guidance on visa and came across paragraph EX1 ... Which says it's an exception if u don't meet financial requirement since u n ur child live already in Britain . My lawyer have issued home office a letter in regards to paragraph EX1 buh home office is playing deaf ears . I m scared I might loose my job and can't get another one to support my family as they have my passport , n no visa . How can home officer not care about pple life putting pple on hold without means of working or claiming benefits this is inappropriate .pls I did like to know if EX1 is an action to pursue . I need ur advice

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  32. Hi is there any update please?

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  33. Hi Anonymous - as soon as we have any update we'll post it. No update yet.

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  34. Hello Steven
    I am trying to apply for my wife and son to come live with me in the Uk. My wife and son are in Yemen and there is a civil war between tribes there. Smile feeling very scared about my family. Can I apply now for them even thou we are waiting for the hearing from court. I don't know what to do I want my family here ASAP because of the situation in there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous -

      Thanks for writing. Very sorry to hear that you are going through this.

      4-6 more weeks is a realistic date for the court decision (though we don't know - it could be longer - but that's just our best guess). And we don't know what it will be; there's also the chance that whoever wins, either side will appeal. It's one big question mark.

      On the question of whether you can apply anyway, you really need to talk to a solicitor on whether that is possible and what the costs are likely to be.

      It's a really open question I'm afraid.

      People are using the European route to re-unite - moving to another European country (Ireland and Malta are popular) and bringing their family with them under European free movement rules. The 'Surinder Singh route' allows them to return to the UK eventually. It might be worth looking into whether this is an option for you as well?

      With best wishes to you,

      Delete
    2. What's the next date of hearing sir

      Delete
  35. Hello sir , tell me what,s the next hearing date or what happen next

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We'll publish as soon as we know anything.

      Delete
  36. my husband earns £18, 540 per year. .do you think we will still be refused?
    im already here because I moved here with my family when I was 14 years old but I am still being judged even though I did not cime here illegally, I acme with my family, how is it my fault if they brought me here on a student visa, now I can't get married to my husband because the home office has my passport

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Apologies for late response.

      I'm afraid that the ECOs have zero room for discretion - we know of people earning similar salaries to yours per and still being refused! So anything under £18,600 and you will be refused - even a few pounds under.

      (But - You can make it up with savings - in your case, you'd need £16,150 in cash savings, as well as your salary, to qualify. I know that may not be much condolence but if you have substantial savings, it may be an option).

      I'm sorry to hear of your situation, and it's not unfamiliar to us. :( We had a story of someone earning £18,500 last year; they've since got a pay rise (to above £18,600) and have now used this to be with their husband.

      Delete
  37. This is all very frustrating. My situation is I was promoted to a new position earring £19000, for the same company, I had sent in the job contract with a company letter showing new wage. Because of the time we applied I was only in my new contract for 3 months (earning 19000) not the 6 months they required. They said basically they could see we have meet the requirement just not for the full 6 months. After all the money given to them why can't they simple ask for further payslips (3months more to support the application) instead if putting application on hold. All this waiting is absolutely rubbish they take the money and just leave you hanging. How can you make contact with these people?

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    1. Hi Anonymous - you can't make contact with them easily at all, and to be honest the have very little maneouvre room to apply their own judgement.

      There are a few things you can do :
      1/ Get in contact with local news and publicise your story that way
      2/ Get in contact with your MP and see if they can take up your case
      3/ We're also happy to publicise your story here.

      I suspect it may be in your interests to hold on a few months until you have the required payslips and then apply.

      The total lack of flexibility in the rules means I would be inclined to hire a lawyer to help navigate it - it's complicated!

      Delete
  38. I meet the threshold as my earning was 18 800 only to be told the overtime I did is not guaranteed . i think this is unbelievable

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    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear about your situation!

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    2. Hello there what are site group called I want to join?

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  39. Hi Steven !

    I hope you doing well ? Regarding my case I want to discuss with you one thing. My wife she is living in UK, she is working women. She is doing two different jobs to compete that 18,600 £ amount. She has completed 8 Months on one job and 4 Months has completed on second job. So my Question is, Can she apply my visa now OR still she have to complete the 6 Months on second job also as well ? Could you help me on this matter ? And can we apply the spouse visa on two different jobs basis ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous -

      That's a bit of a tricky one and I'm reluctant to commit either way as I'm not legally qualified. I would suggest talking to a lawyer, honestly, to get a steer on it.

      Best of luck!

      Delete
    2. Or... you could always just wait another 2 months. It might be worth doing that just to be safe! Better safe than sorry.

      Delete
  40. Hi Steven !

    I hope you doing well ? Regarding my case I want to discuss with you one thing. My wife she is living in UK, she is working women. She is doing two different jobs to compete that 18,600 £ amount. She has completed 8 Months on one job and 4 Months has completed on second job. So my Question is, Can she apply my visa now OR still she have to complete the 6 Months on second job also as well ? Could you help me on this matter ? And can we apply the spouse visa on two different jobs basis ?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi Steven,

    How many hours is your wife working between the two jobs? Will she continue to work on these two jobs once she arrives in the UK?

    Regards,
    Abs

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    Replies
    1. Abs - I think you've got the wrong end of the stick - this isn't my situation at all. :) Are you asking about one of the stories in the pack?

      Delete
    2. Abs - I think your question is directed at the Anonymous comment above? That's not me, that's someone else! :)

      Delete
  42. Hi Im wondering if anyone can help me.I have been working for over 6 months an I am earning £360 gross weekly for spouse visa . An would like to know if I am earning enough to apply?
    Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous - you need to earn £18,600 gross per year to meet the income requirement. There are 52 weeks in a year. 360 * 52 = £18,720. Based on what you say, you meet the income requirement - just. Good luck!

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    2. (I'm assuming here that you earn that amount of money, every week of the year. For example, you don't have to take a couple of weeks unpaid, or anything like that).

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  43. Hi i was wondering if you can help me as well.

    Ive bern working for 5 mths and for 4 mths ive gotten around1800. But for 1 mth i recied 1100. Will they add my total wages for 6 mths and times it by 2 or will they only look at my min (1100) and work off that?

    Cheers

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    Replies
    1. Hi Serbjit - my personal view is they should do the former, but I've heard of cases where they've done the latter (where the 'victim' then appealed successfully). My suggestion would be in any doubt, seek legal advice.

      Delete
  44. Steven..

    I want to ask. Do u know any good Legal advisor or Lawyer in London ? For my UK Spouse Visa case....

    ReplyDelete
  45. I want to ask why personal saving not being considered for self employed & one has to wait for P60 instead of present income consideration for the last 12 months.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thank you so much to Mr Sonel Mehta and Steven you are doing really great job keep it up.
    My husband application on hold for year now not sure what I can do any hope for 18600 to be changed???
    Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thank you so much to Mr Sonel Mehta and Steven you are doing really great job keep it up :)
    My husband application is on hold for year now not sure what I should do.:(:(
    Any hope for 18600 to be changed???
    Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Thank you so much to Mr Sonel Mehta and Steven you are doing really great job keep it up.:)
    My husband application is on hold for year now not sure what I should do:(:(
    Any hope for 18600 to be changed??
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  49. hi...i have a friend who is an Indian Student and has been dating a Scottish girl for around two years. He was later sponsored by her for another year and they got married this year.Both live in Edinburgh,Scotland. but now his visa expires in 3 weeks and his wife can show only around 17600 £ ...he's working in a restaurant now with a pay of 6.5 pounds/hour and can work for 20 hours in a week. Is there any chance by which they can get a visa??? PLEASE HELP !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous, we can't really advise on this forum I'm afraid. So much depends on details we don't have. For example, what visa is he currently in the UK on.

      I strongly advise seeking advice from a local migrant centre or immigration solicitor on this. They will be able to give an expert and informed opinion. Migrant centres sometimes have drop in days where you can get confidential advice in person.

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