Changes to Spouse Visa Income Rules!
The Home Office have announced changes to immigration rules regarding minimum income. These changes come following findings made by the Supreme Court in the MM (Lebanon) & Others v the Secretary for the Home Department  UKSC 10. The changes are set out in Statement of Changes HC 290 and you can access them in full here:
The key changes announced are as follows
- Alternative sources of income will be allowed for consideration in the Minimum Income Rules.
- If reliant upon other sources of income, leave will be granted on a 10-year route to settlement.
- A partner of a refugee with leave or humanitarian protection, cannot qualify for settlement before their partner has done so.
- Public funds will be allowed for recourse in certain circumstances if an applicant can provide evidence that they are in destitute under the Immigration Act.
When considering a third party for income support, the decision maker will assess if:
- The third party is in a stable financial situation.
- Stability is sufficiently strong enough to continue for the period of leave applied for.
- There will be no changes to the applicant’s relationship with the third party that may impact on the future availably of the funds.
The Supreme Court upheld the Minimum Income Rule that requires a British citizen acting as a spouse for a foreign national to have an income of at least £18,600. However, the court found that rules used by the Home Office to assess income, need to be amended. These changes will need to account for the impact of a decision on children and the possible breach of Human Rights Law.
The Supreme Court found that in exceptional circumstances, current income rules could render a breach of Article 8. Article 8 in Human Rights Law provides a right to respect for one’s “private and family life, his home and his correspondence”. A refusal of an application based on minimum income could result in an unjustifiably harsh consequences, if other sources of income are not considered.
What does this mean for people who are waiting to apply for their visa or for the 5000 people who are waiting in limbo since February with their application?
We cannot conclusively draw conclusions as of yet, that is the brief answer.
The detailed answer involves the fact that we will now be able to use other financial means to meet the financial requirement which will only be more practical to talk about after the changes are implemented properly.
We may now however see an end to broken families because of the Immigration Rules which we discussed previously here.