Financial Bar Raised for UK Family Migrants

UK Border Agency raises income requirements for non-European Economic Area “family migration route” applicants

On June 11, 2012, the UK Government announced changes to the Immigration Rules for non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK on the family migration route. These rules will have the effect of making it much harder for non-EEA family-based immigrants to enter or stay in the UK. The new rules also define the basis on which a person can enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family or private life.  Most of these changes will apply to new applicants as of July 9, 2012.

The changes to the UK Immigration Rules include:

  • Introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child;
  • Publishing a list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships, to help the UK Border Agency caseworkers to focus on these issues;
  • Extending the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses and partners from two years to five years, to test the genuineness of the relationship;
  • Abolishing immediate settlement for the migrant spouses and partner where a couple have been living together overseas for at least 4 years, and requiring them to complete a 5 year probationary period;
  • Starting in October 2013, requiring all applicants for settlement to pass the Life in the UK Test and demonstrate an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, unless the applicant qualifies for an exemption;
  •  Allowing adult and elderly dependents to settle in the UK only where they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK, and requiring them to apply from overseas rather than switch in the UK from another category, for example as a visitor;
  • Restricting family visit visa appeals, initially by narrowing the current definitions of family and sponsor for appeal purposes, and then, subject to the passage of the Crime and Courts Bill, which was published on May 11, 2012, removing the full right of appeal against refusal of a family visit visa.

You can read more about the changes that are being introduced and details of transitional arrangements at the UK Border Agency’s website.

Article categories: U.S. to U.K

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