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Home Office appeals against High Court

30 July 2013

We have been informed that on 26 July 2013 the UK Border Agency, now renamed the Home Office, filed its appeal against a High Court judgment on the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying under the family route.

The Home Office has been heavily criticised in the media and by private/public organizations for the introduction of more stringent requirements in July 2012. The latter appear in principle to penalise British nationals on lower income by curbing their ability to sponsor their loved ones having now set a financial threshold in the amount of £18600.

In addition, the new rules added a plethora of mandatory evidence to be provided in support of an application, increasing the chance of a refusal or  resulting in delays. Finally, the new legislation has also lengthen the residence period required by a foreign spouse/civil or unmarried partner of a British citizen to settle in the UK, namely from 2 years to 5 years and the couple will have to pay an additional UKBA extension fees, making the process more onerous.

As a result, the Home Office policy was challenged on the basis that these rules were discriminatory and interfered with the claimants’ Article 8 rights to a private and family life.

The court found that the new rules were not unlawful, accepting that ‘there is a legitimate aim that the families of migrants should be encouraged by the terms of admission to integrate, not live at or near the subsistence level and not be perceived to be a long term drain on the public purse in the form of increased access to state benefits.”

The Home Office will continue to put on hold decisions in some spouse/partner and child settlement visa and leave to remain applications until the case is finally determined by the Courts.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

'[..] We believe matters of public policy, including the detail of how the minimum income threshold should operate, are for the Government and Parliament to determine, not the Courts. We also believe the detailed requirements of the policy are proportionate to its aims. We are therefore pursuing an appeal against the judgment”.

For advice on this matter, please contact our immigration team.

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