Parties clash over foreign spouse earning threshold

Thousands more people could find they are unable to bring their foreign spouses into the UK under plans announced last month.

Theresa May has outlined proposals to increase the minimum income requirement currently applied to husbands and wives from overseas.

At present, the earnings threshold to bring a spouse to the UK is £18,600 and was introduced by the Prime Minister during her six-year stint at the Home Office.

The rules have already been branded “particularly harsh” by Judges at the Supreme Court, with critics claiming that they pose a genuine obstacle for many families.

At a hearing held in February, the court ruled the threshold was lawful, but raised concerns about the hardship it had created for thousands of families; in 2015 it was calculated that the rules prevented 41 per cent of the working population from bringing a foreign spouse to this country.

Campaigners have argued that those affected are often forced to live apart, which can create a particular strain in cases where the couples have children.

The Conservative manifesto confirms plans to “increase the earnings thresholds for people wishing to sponsor migrants for family visas.”

While no figure is quoted, Mrs May’s party is understood to favour the change in arrangements as a means of helping meet their target of reducing net migration into the UK to the tens of thousands.

Labour, by contrast, has confirmed it would abolish the threshold, having argued during the election campaign that it does not agree that “family life should be protected only for the wealthy.”

Carter Lemon Camerons LLP Solicitors is a City law firm which provides legal services on immigration matters to both commercial and private clients. Unlike many City practices we are happy to act in smaller private legal matters, bringing the same care and consideration as we do to large commercial matters.  For more information about our immigration services please contact Kate Boguslawska or telephone: 020 7406 1018.