Foreign Spouse Income Limit will remain at £18,600

Thousands of families since July 2012 have been ripped apart because of the Home Office’s changes to the Minimum Income Requirement, which meant that if you wanted to invite your spouse to the UK you had to earn £18,600 per annum.


If you had children that are not British citizens then this would be more than £18,600 depending on how many dependents there are.


Previously in the case of MM and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKSC 10 before it reached the Supreme Court it was considered and discussed whether £18,600 was a fair amount to be earned by a normal working class person, there was many instances discussed but the judgement which was handed down on 22 February 2017 had many people living in hope that something would change to help bring families back together again that had been split up because of this extreme rule.



The Supreme Court upheld in principle the Minimum Income Rule, this means people will continue to have to earn £18,600 in order to sponsor their husband or wife to enter or remain in the UK.


However, the court did also confirm that the rules and policies currently in force would need to be amended by the Home Office to take proper account of the impact on children and other possible sources of income and support.


The court acknowledged that the income threshold created serious amounts of hardship for families with low incomes and also that it created bigger problems for women than men and people from certain backgrounds. During the Judgment it was found that around 30,000 spouse visa applications were refused between July 2012 and 2014 and in that time only 52 times did the Entry Clearance Officer consider exceptional circumstances and decided that 26 of them should succeed and be given a visa to remain or enter the UK.


What Happens Now?


The Judgement was not at all as bad as it may sound in reported media.


The court did confirm that the rules and policies were unlawful in protecting children as they are always paramount when a decision on a spouse application is made, it was further decided by the court that the failure to take into account other sources of income, support or savings other than those already permitted was also unlawful and that the Home Office should change this.


The court did also state that the Immigration Rules and Article 8 do not have the same meaning as the Home Office has often argued previously.


This means that in future judges at the Tribunal will be able to decide on the rules first and then Article 8, which has more wider discretion and means that if someone does not meet the Immigration Rules but there are circumstances which are exceptional they should be allowed to enter or remain in the UK.


The Home Office will now have to issue amended rules, which some people have reported as being within 56 days, and guidance’s on cases where children are involved and new guidance on the assessment of other sources of income which may or may not include third party support from parents etc.


We do expect the Home Office to act upon this as soon as possible as the court did confirm that the Home Office is to provide written submissions on the proposal of how they will address the issues found in this case. Once the submissions have been received the court will then decide whether a further hearing is necessary, it could therefore mean that the case is not over yet.


In our opinion it is a welcomed determination as the Home Office has ignored many factors, which create a family life, which should allow someone to enter the UK and be with their husband or wife and children. It may not have been as good as thousands of people expected but it is not all doom and gloom either.

Hopefully the new amendments are brought in as quickly as possible so that families can start to plan to reunite again after being separated for far too long.