‘De-risking’ and financial exclusion
4,000 applications where the gross annual income requirement had not been met for family migration had been put on hold by the Home Office until recently, pending the outcome of MM v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 985. In July, the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in this case and upheld the controversial gross annual income requirement set out in the family migration rules introduced on 9 July 2012. The Court of Appeal decided that the rules did not breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to private and family life.
Following the outcome of this case, the Home Office has announced that these 4,000 families will now receive a decision and that they stand to be refused, which is likely to be a significant blow to many families, who may have put their lives on hold for this without a resolution now.
The rules set an income threshold of £18,600 that must be met for a British or settled person to sponsor a partner to come to the UK and additional sums are required where there are non-EEA children in the family. Furthermore, the rules define what income will and will not be taken into account and specify what documents must be provided.
As explained in Katie Newbury’s blog last year, “Couples torn apart by UK family migration rules”, the rules lead to counter-intuitive situations. For example, a British citizen with unserviceable debts, but an annual salary of £18,600 is in a better position than a family wishing to return to the United Kingdom where the British partner is a stay-at-home mum and the non-British partner has a job offer in the UK with a starting salary of £50,000.
What options are now left for families caught out by the rules?
The starting position for families caught out by the rules is to ensure that they can meet the gross annual income requirement as exemptions from the gross annual income test applies only in very limited circumstances. British citizens wishing to move back to the UK with their families should therefore check their position well in advance of the planned moving date.
The options for families who do not meet the requirement are fairly limited. However, in some situations families may still be able to live in the UK if they plan carefully. Options to consider include:
You may also be interested to read our previous blogs on the subject:
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