Current Family Migration rules
In 2012, the UK Home Office introduced a minimum income threshold. This minimum income threshold requires a minimum income of £18,600 for sponsoring a spouse or partner. The amount rises to £22,400 for also sponsoring a child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.
The outcome since was that many families and partners were split up. Breytenbachs have heard many heart breaking stories, as many families and partners were not able to meet these harsh financial requirements.
Ruling by the Supreme Court on the UK Family Migration rules
Earlier this year the Supreme Court ruled in a case of MM et Ors. The judgment upheld in principle the minimum income rule imposed by the UK Government.
The ruling, however, called upon the government to change the rules to ensure that the best interest of affected children is given primary consideration in decisions. The ruling also said that alternative sources of income should be taken into account where the British spouse is not able to meet the minimum income.
New UK Family Migration Rules
The new family migration rules announced by the UK Home Office will come into effect on 10 August 2017.
In short, the rules are amended as follows;
- When an application does not meet the minimum income threshold requirement, the best interest of the child should be taken into primary consideration.
- The child included in a successful application will be granted the same route to settlement as their parent. This could be a five-year or ten-year route to settlement.
- If the sponsor does not meet the minimum income threshold, and there are exceptional circumstances that could have very harsh consequences for any of the parties, the Home Office should consider alternative incomes of the applicants.
- If the applicant cannot meet the Rules, the decision-maker should consider whether there are exceptional circumstances which would render a refusal of the application a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
- Should an application be successful based on the new considerations, it will put the applicants on a ten-year route to settlement. Should the applicant, at a later stage be able to meet the financial requirements, they can apply again for the five-year route to settlement.
What should affected families do?
It is expected that it will take the Home Office some time to work through the backlog of about 5,000 family migration applications that were placed on hold in the interim.
Families who previously were not able to meet the minimum income threshold requirement should get in touch with Breytenbachs Immigration.
Persons who have applications on hold may also want to submit further evidence to meet the new rules for alternative sources of income.
We also recommend that the impact of any children affected be highlighted in any future applications. We are confident that with the relaxation in the decision making, we will be able to assist most clients and ensure a successful outcome!
Please contact us at www.bic-immigration.com.