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Spouse Visas: Should The Minimum Income Rule Be Rethought?

The UK Spouse Visa allows individuals to come and live in the UK permanently with their partner. It requires individuals to be able to prove that their relationship is genuine, and that they will be able to support themselves together whilst living in the UK. Putting together the necessary documentation for the Spouse Visa can be difficult as there are many areas to consider and a lot of evidence which the Home Office require in order to support the relationship. If you’re interested in applying for the Spouse Visa or finding out more about it, you can take a look at our post on how to prove your marriage is genuine, or our general guide to the spouse visa.

In this blog post, we will discuss one of the specific rules that individuals must meet if they want to successfully apply for the Spouse visa, being the minimum income requirement. The financial requirements of the Spouse Visa are often considered as being one of the most difficult criteria to meet for this specific visa. There are two financial requirements for the Spouse Visa, the first is that individuals must be able to show that they have a minimum income which is enough to support themselves and their family whilst they’re in the UK, and the second is that the individuals must be able to prove that they can provide adequate accommodation for their family whilst in the UK. The accommodation requirement is the easier of the two to prove, however proving a minimum income can end up being a difficult aspect of the visa process for the spouse visa.

The minimum income rule for the Spouse Visa currently (December 2020) is that sponsors should be able to prove that they can support their partner in the UK by earning a salary of £18,600 before tax. If there are dependents who will also be living in the UK, the individual will need to have a higher income to reflect each of these, for example:

  • Partner with no children – £18,600
  • 1 child in addition to the partner – £22,400
  • 2 children in addition to the partner – £24,800
  • 3 children in addition to the partner – £27,200

Only the sponsors salary can be counted for the spouse visa, meaning the applicant’s salary will not help to meet these requirements, only the individual already within the UK.

The part of this process which can make the spouse visa difficult is that adequate income has to be evidenced within the application, and gathering this documentation can be tough. Bank statements must be originals stamped by the bank, payslips must be originals or be accompanied by a letter from the employer. When gathering this documentation, it is strongly advised that applicants request the assistance of an immigration lawyer to help them in getting the appropriate documentation in order. 

In a recent update on spouse visas, the Migration Advisory Committee have suggested that the minimum income rule should be revisited. The Migration Advisory Committee suggest:

We… think now would be an opportune time to reconsider the minimum income requirements associated with this route. The MAC are concerned that previous analysis may have given too much weight to the fiscal contribution of such migrants and insufficient attention to the benefits that accrue, to both the family and society, from the route. In addition, it is a considerable time since the current income requirements were introduced, so more evidence should now be available to review the impact of these requirements.

With the  new changes to immigration routes coming into affect from January 2021 following the UK’s transition from the EU, we believe it to be an opportune time to reconsider some of the requirements of this visa route.

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

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