On 4 December 2023, the Home Office revealed plans to lower overall migration levels in the UK. Specifically focusing on partners or spouses of British citizens or settled individuals, the government intends to raise the minimum income criteria. This post discusses these measures concerning the income requirement for spouses or partners of British citizens or those settled in the UK.
The plans to increase the minimum income requirement for UK partner visa applicants come just a month after the Home Office raised family visa fees by 20%. Also, the immigration health surcharge is due to go up on around 16 January 2024.
What has been announced?
On 4 December 2023, the Home Secretary, James Cleverly, announced a 5-point plan to reduce net migration to the UK. In his statement, he said:
‘’ The government will also increase the minimum income required for British citizens and those settled in the UK who want their family members to join them. Altogether this reinforces that all those who want to work and live here must be able to support themselves, are contributing to the economy, and are not burdening the state.’’
What is the minimum income requirement?
When applying for a visa or settlement in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or someone settled in the country, demonstrating a minimum income is typically required. Currently set at £18,600, this threshold is proposed to rise to £38,700.
If you’re bringing a non-British or non-settled child with you, the income requirement will be higher. Presently, an additional £3,800 per year for the first child and £2,400 for each subsequent child is necessary. Adjustments to these amounts, corresponding to the increased minimum income requirement, are yet to be clarified by the Government.
Will partner visa applications submitted before spring 2024 be affected by this change?
It’s anticipated that UK partner and spouse visa applications submitted before Spring 2024 won’t be impacted by this change. Satisfying the Immigration Rules at the date of application still stands as a requirement.
Can couples combine their income to meet a new minimum income requirement?
Under the current Immigration Rules, couples may combine certain income and savings depending on their circumstances. No announcements have been made that affect the current Immigration Rules in this regard. Various types of income can contribute to meeting the income requirement. Calculating your income differs based on your funding sources and the type of application—be it for a visa, leave to remain, or settlement.
What level of savings will required if the Minimum Income Requirement is increased to £38,700?
To meet a minimum income requirement of £38,700, solely with cash savings, you will need savings of £112,750.
However, if you have dependents applying with you, you may need more savings. No announcements have been made relating to increasing fees for dependants.
Have there been any announcements in the required documents or how income is calculated?
No changes are anticipated in the documentary requirements as per Appendix FM. The necessary documents and methods for calculating income or savings are expected to stay consistent.
Will the announcement affect applications for further leave or indefinite leave to remain in the UK after Spring 2024?
No announcements have been made about how the £38,700 threshold will impact partner visa extensions and settlement applications, after its implementation in Spring 2024. Historically, the Home Office has introduced transitional arrangements, affecting only those who initially applied for a partner visa on the partner visa route after a certain cut-off date, this remains to be confirmed.
How we can help
To discuss your UK Spouse or Partner Visa application with an experienced advisor, please contact our friendly and professional team on +442087575751 or use our contact form.