UK marriage visas: minimum income threshold appeal update

Published: 12/03/2014

After a High Court judge ruled in July 2013 that the financial requirements imposed upon the sponsor of a non-EEA partner or spouse were unfairly high, the Home Office appealed to the Court of Appeal. At the time, Mr Justice Blake passed judgement that the income threshold criteria for approval were “onerous… and unjustified”, and what’s more, interfered with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – the right to a private and family life.

The case was brought by three individuals who also believed that the rules were outright discriminatory. The figures in question are as follows: a British citizen or permanent resident who wishes to sponsor their non-EEA fiancee, partner or spouse for a settlement visa or further leave to remain must be able to prove they have an income of £18,600. If the couple have a child, the figure rises to £22,400 with £2400 added to the income threshold for each additional child.

Although the High Court judge did not ‘strike down’ the legislation, he agreed with the claimants’ case and urged the Home Secretary to make adjustments. The Home Office appealed this decision.

More recently, on the 4th and 5th of March 2014 the Home Office challenged this verdict in the Court of Appeal. At this point it is unclear what the outcome is as the final judgement is reserved. However, it is expected that a decision will be revealed in the next few weeks. Whether or not the Court decides the financial requirements are unfair, it is unlikely that this will be the end of it. It is very likely that a final appeal will be heard at the Supreme Court in the future. Because thousands of UK partner and marriage visa applications are currently suspended by UK Visas and Immigration (formerly the UK Border Agency) due to the financial considerations, this case has attracted more urgency and there are hopes that it will be concluded before the end of the year.

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