Evidencing the financial requirement – August 2017
Those following immigration law this year, may be aware of a landmark case, one that had the potential to change the lives of many by challenging the strict rules on finances for UK spouse and family member applications.
The controversial rule – that partners in the UK meet a minimum income of £18,600 or more – has divided many since 2012. The Home Office since then have been trailing a fine line between ‘effective immigration control’ and adhering to our responsibilities to uphold the human right to family life.
The decision is now out and the Immigration Rules have been amended. As the dust settles our leading UK immigration lawyers at Westkin wanted to clarify what exactly this means for clients like you and what you can do now.
What is the spouse visa?
Individuals who are married to, engaged to, or in a civil partnership with a UK citizen can apply for a UK Spouse Visa. The UK Spouse visa, also known as the UK partner visa, is available for non-UK residents who are over 18 years old. Your partner in the UK must also be over 18 years old in order for you to apply. If you are coming to the UK to join your spouse from outside of the EEA, you will need a UK spouse visa. A spouse visa will grant you the right to live and work in the UK like a British citizens.
To apply for a spouse visa, you must have all of the required documents, have a demonstrable knowledge of the English language, have suitable accommodation whilst living in the UK, and be able to prove your relationship with your spouse through a ‘Genuine Relationship Test’. The Genuine Relationship Test can include providing evidence such as a shared bank account with your spouse, evidence of children you have together or a joint mortgage or tenancy agreement.
Another requirement for the spouse visa is that you are able to meet the minimum income threshold. This means that you and your partner will need to be able to prove that once living together in the UK, you would both be able to support yourselves financially without the need to claim benefits or receive other financial aid.
What has happened?
The case at the Supreme court – ‘MM (Lebanon) and others vs. the Secretary of State for the Home Department ’- involved a large group of applicants who had not met the financial requirement to bring their partners to the UK.
Whilst initially the case ended in disappointment, as the legality of the £18,600 income rule was upheld, an amendment has been made to allow additional sources of income to be used.
What the changes are
Before August 2017 no other sources of income could be used other than what was prescribed under Appendix FM. Now ‘Paragraph 21A’ allows more flexibility if a refusal were to lead to unjustifiable harsh consequences to the family.
In these cases guaranteed income from 3rd parties and prospective earnings from employment can be used, as long as they are sustainable. Successful applicants will be put on the 10-year route to ILR.
The stringent rules on the documents remain the same. If you are planning on bringing family members to the UK contact us now or simply call 0207 118 4546.
What this means for you?
If your application involves either children or exceptional circumstances why your partner cannot leave the UK and you cannot meet the financial requirement then it is worth exploring whether an application can be made using these additional sources of income.
It is important to stress that this is still a highly discretionary application if you are looking to apply it is advised you speak to our experienced UK Immigration lawyers by contacting us now.
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1 Maddox Street
0207 118 4546