The financial (minimum income) requirement for partner visas - Commons Library Standard Note
Published 17 July 2014
'In July 2012 controversial new maintenance funds requirements were introduced for spouse/partner visas (affecting non-EEA national partners of British citizens, refugees and people settled in the UK).
In effect, these require visa applicants to have available funds equivalent to a minimum gross annual income of £18,600 (or higher in cases including non-EEA national dependent children). In many cases only the British/settled sponsor’s employment income can be considered, because the non-EEA national’s employment can only be taken into account if they are already in the UK with permission to work.
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 has made some minor adjustments to the policy, but overall is satisfied that it is operating as intended. It considers that the maintenance rules ensure that families are able to support themselves and the migrant partner’s integration without being a burden on the general taxpayer.
The lawfulness of the rules has been challenged in the courts. In July 2013 the High Court found that certain factors in the way the financial requirement is applied represent a very significant interference with British citizens’ and refugees’ rights. It suggested some alternative ways of applying a financial requirement. However, on 11 July 2014 the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s decision, following an appeal brought by the Government.
It is possible that a further appeal will be made to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the minimum income requirement remains in force. UK Visas and Immigration are resuming consideration of applications that had been put on hold pending the outcome of the Court of Appeal case.
Follows on from previous note, October 2013 :