Foreign spouse income requirement is ‘lawful’
February 22, 2017 5 comments
The Supreme Court has ruled that a minimum income requirement for Britons who want to bring a foreign spouse to the UK is lawful.
If a British person marries someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) they need to have an annual income of at least £18,600 before they are eligible to apply for a spousal visa. This would grant their partner permission to live here with them. The requirement was introduced by the former coalition government in 2012.
Since the rule was implemented as many as 15,000 children cannot live with their full family because one parent does not earn enough for the other to enter the country, according to the Children’s Commissioner for England.
Following a 2013 legal challenge, the High Court labelled the requirement “onerous and unjustified” but this decision was overturned in the Court of Appeal. Shortly after that the case was taken to the Supreme Court for a definitive ruling.
The couples who launched the Supreme Court bid claimed that their right to a family life had been violated by this requirement, something guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Justices admitted that the rule “causes hardship to many, including some who are in no way to blame for the situation in which they now find themselves”. However they said this “does not mean that it is incompatible with the Convention rights or otherwise unlawful at common law”.
Despite upholding the rule, the Justices did declare that one of its deficiencies was that it did not have “the best interests of children as a primary consideration”.
In 2014 the Migrants’ Rights Network claimed the current system meant that “a price has been put on love” because as many as 47 per cent of working Britons could not afford to live with a foreign spouse.
Read the full Supreme Court judgment here.
Photo by Terminal 5 Insider via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.
February 22, 2017
Categories: Family Life