Court of Appeal Decision on Minimum Income Requirement for Partner Visas
On 9th July 2012 controversial changes were made to the Immigration Rules which created a requirement that a British citizen or settled person who wishes to apply for their non EEA spouse or partner to enter the UK, must show that they meet a ‘Minimum Income Requirement’ of £18,600 gross income per year (with additional sums for each child entering the UK).
A High Court challenge regarding this rule was successful in July 2013 which held this provision was unlawful on the basis that it was a disproportionate interference with the British citizen's or settled person's rights under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The Home Office appealed to the Court of Appeal.
Unfortunately, the Court of Appeal has now overturned the High Court’s decision. It found the minimum income requirement did not interfere with the parties’ human rights. It held the relevant test was whether the Secretary of State had a ‘rational belief’ that the policy embodied in the requirements will achieve the identified aim of safeguarding the economic wellbeing of the UK.
As a result of this judgment the 4,000 cases which have been on hold pending this decision, as they met all the requirements apart from the minimum income threshold, will now stand to be rejected. The Court of Appeal’s decision will therefore come as a huge disappointment to many families. However, the recent judgment does leave open the possibility of individual challenges succeeding on the basis that the interference, which is the effect of the financial threshold being imposed, may not be proportionate in every case. It will be interesting to see the extent to which some cases can take advantage of this.
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