New UK spousal immigration rules tearing families apart

Published:  5 Mar at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
UK expats who met and married their partners whilst working overseas are having their lives torn apart by new financially-based spousal UK immigration rules.

The minimum income requirement now mandatory for migrants from outside EU member states was introduced to limit the numbers entering Britain. However, the net result has been that UK citizens wishing to return home together with their foreign wives and families have only two options - get a well-paying job or leave them behind.

One such expat, born in the UK and privately educated to university level, found work in Thailand, where he met his future wife, married and now has two daughters. Twelve years on, he needed to return to the UK to care for his mother.

Both his children are British by birth and were allowed to accompany him to the UK, but his wife is compelled to remain in Thailand as her husband’s income in the UK is under the level of £24,800 set by the new rules. Initially, the intention was that she should remain in Thailand until her husband’s business was sold but, as she’s not yet been able to find a buyer, she cannot reach the financial threshold needed to join her family.

Since July 2012, British citizens wishing to return to the home country and bring their non-European spouses and families with them must have been earning at least £18,600 for a period of six months to qualify as a sponsor. For a spouse and one child, the amount increases to £22,400, with an extra £2,400 added for each further child.

Estimates suggest that the thresholds would prevent 32 per cent of men employed in the UK and 61 per cent of women from sponsoring their spouses and children’s visas. The amounts required are also far more than the national minimum wage for a normal week’s work.

Last July, a High Court ruling judged that the threshold is too high, resulting in Home Office officials being forced to justify the levels to the Court of Appeal. Arguments in favour and against the threshold are due to be heard this week, and three appellants are challenging the income restrictions as contravening the Human Rights Act on the basis of the right to a family life.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive