Changes to the Minimum Income Rules for foreign spouses

Categories Immigration, Uncategorized

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that the minimum income threshold of £18,600 to bring into Britain a spouse from outside of the EU were legal in a case called MM (Lebanon) & Others v the Secretary for the Home Department [2017] UKSC10. The minimum income threshold is accepted in principle, however consideration must be given to the best interests of the children, a matter to be properly taken into account in the balancing and decision making process.

The ruling, made back in February, has prompted some changes to be made to the Minimum Income Rules. The Supreme Court recognised that thousands of people had faced hardship because of the rules and that there was a lack of focus on the impact this would have on children.

The changes, outlined below, will come into force on 10 August 2017 and will be applied to all decisions taken on or after 10 August 2017, regardless of the application date.The changes to the Minimum Income Rules are:

1. Can the Minimum Income Threshold be met by other sources of income?

The application reviewer must now consider this question before deciding the outcome. If you can show that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’, which, if not considered, will result in harsh consequences for you, your partner or your children, your application may be successful providing you can show and evidence additional income streams for consideration. They are as follows:

a    A convincing promise of financial support by a third party
b    Solid potential earnings from either the applicant or their partner in employment or self-employment
c.     Any other credible income sources or funds that are available

However, it is up to you to show that these income streams are genuine and that evidence has been given to show that your partner is financially stable, that the stability can continue for the time they’ve applied to stay and that your relationship with them will not change or affect your financial stability in the future.

You must show that any employment or self-employment will start within 3 months of your partner’s arrival or of their leave to remain. You should make sure all letters to evidence employment should be given on headed paper or you should provide documents to show that your partner can provide goods or services for self-employment when they are granted leave to remain.

2. Type of Leave Granted and Best Interests of the Child

A new statement has been inserted which says that consideration must be given to the best interest of a child. It’s says:

‘taking into account their best interests as a primary consideration, it would not be reasonable to expect the child to leave the UK.’

In addition, the new Minimum Income Rules can now be applied to the route to settlement. If your partner is on a 10-year route to settlement, but you meet the minimum income rules, he or she could move to the 5-year route to settlement instead. Any children would be granted leave to remain for the same period as their parent, whether 5-year or 10-year and regardless of whether it’s in their best interests to be given leave for a shorter duration.

3. Use of Public Funds

You can access public funds in two circumstances – the first is if you can show you are destitute (defined in section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999) or if there are really good reasons about the welfare of a child of a parent on a very low income. It’s slightly contradictory though, as it will be difficult to meet the Minimum Income Rules with alternative sources of income whilst also being destitute or on a very low income.

How We Can Help? 

At Advantage Solicitors, we provide skilled advice on the steps you can take to regularise our Immigration status in the UK. We can offer you an initial consultation to provide preliminary guidance to enable you to decide on the best way forward. If you would like to discuss the above in more detail, please get in touch with our friendly Law Team on 02088071676, or click here to contact us.