In July 2013, the High Court found that the UK immigration rules relating to the minimum income threshold of British Citizens and UK legal permanent residents sponsoring a foreign fiancee, partner or spouse for a UK settlement visa were ‘unjustified and disproportionate’. The income level, which came into force in July 2012, was set at £18,600 per year for couples with no children, with extra amounts needed for dependent children. Although the High Court did not set aside the new rules, their view was clearly that the income threshold set out by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) was not really fair to those applying for a spouse, fiancee or unmarried partner visa. The Home Office has appealed the judgement.
The appeal is to be heard between the 3rd and 5th of March 2014 and meanwhile UK Visas & Immigration (formerly the UK Border Agency) has agreed to pause decision-making in all cases where a settlement application for a partner, spouse or marriage visa would be declined because of the financial requirement alone. Any applications which are denied because of other issues such as language requirements or relationship queries will not be placed on hold. Anyone meeting all requirements should not see their application taking any longer than usual to be accepted.