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Spouse minimum income rules survey


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[UPDATE: blog post on how the hearing went here]

The hearing of the test case challenge to the spouse minimum income rules is approaching and the team behind the challenge seek information about how decisions are being handled at the moment by Entry Clearance Officers on the ground.

We would be very grateful if this survey could be circulated as widely as possible. It doesn’t matter if you are a legal representative or a person directly affected by the rules. If you are a legal representative with multiple decisions, the more the merrier from our point of view. 

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Picture of Navi Ahluwalia

Navi Ahluwalia

Navi specialises in International Human Rights law, European Union free movement law and Immigration and Asylum law. He also provides advice and representation on a broad range of Public law areas, in Prison law, inquests and civil claims for unlawful detention.Navi has been recommended by Chambers & Partners for Immigration and Asylum law since 2007 and has a strong and successful Administrative Court and Court of Appeal practice in this area.


70 Responses

  1. I am a civil engineer working as self employed here in the UK. Althought my spouse and kids visa hasn’t been rejected but but we didn’t hear anything from home office or UK consulate in Pakistan since November 2013. I started self employement in octber 2012 and then waited for one year to apply for my family visa due to the paperwork required. Employee can apply after six months but for self employed people we have to wait for a year to get the company CT600 etc. which is totally wrong and unfair. Now when I have completed all the documentation even then its been 3 months and we didn’t hear anything from visa section till date.

  2. Slightly tricky for lawyers with multiple applications to respond to the survey. As far as Younas’s issue the Tribunal are considering reporting a case next week which is looking at knocking out the provisions of FM-SE for the self employed for a number of reasons including the unfairness you described.

  3. Hi, I am an old age pensioner, married to a non-eea National 3 years ago……….Am I still expected to earn this 18,600 p.a.? Nowhere have I read anything about exemptions for people who do not, or cannot work, due to ill health etc…. I have a government, and private pension totalling about 13,000. and own a 150,000 pound home!

  4. I am looking for a second job so I will work 7 days a week full time to try meet this minimum income :-(

  5. I am British with my Indonesian husband of 6 years with a 2 year old son. Since completing a phd I have been training as a science teacher. On my current training salary of £11,000 we do not qualify, unless we have £34,500 in cash savings!!! Now offered a job teaching which is far above the fr but not starting until June. As the law stands my husband cannot apply to be with us until next year. How is this fair? Why cant we use our financial situation as it will be not how it has been in the past? If my husband was from Europe we would be fine….racist? Discriminatory? Unfair?

  6. I am self employed started my business in October 2011, I had to wait for over 19 months before I had 12 months tax return as tax year is April to end of march [its not fair as an employee only need 6 months] and even being self employed im struggling to meet 18600, I had to get second job im working over 70 plus hours a week EXHAUSTED and yet still struggling to meet 18600. I have lived on a lot lot less 12k per year never claimed Benefits in my life. my wife submitted her visa application in august 2013 and where still waiting for a response almost 7 months later. im a stranger to my 4 year old son as I have not seen him for over 2 years. he cries on the phone when I phone what am I supposed to say to him I am to pore to have a family life. the UK government either need to lower the income thrash hold or raze minimum wage to 10 pound per hour so every working UK citizen can afford a private family life

  7. My husband’s app for visa is on hold since July . I had to go through the whole pregnancy by myself and now looking after the baby on my own and had to leave my job I have no hopes left to be together with my husband the current rules have destroyed our once beautiful relationship. I have my own home and showed 22000 pounds and 10000 pounds income too but they put our app on hold didn’t even care about the baby current rules r not made by normal human beings.

  8. Erm, yes. But it was absolutely correct (in fact, we conceded we didn’t meet the minimum income rules when we made the application (and again at appeal, although that is quite another story)). We would never have passed the pre-2012 test either. We were arguing entirely outside the rules (unsafe for sponsor to return to home country). I’m guessing you don’t want that type of case.

    Actually this turned up in my exam today (live interview)- the actor said he was earning £15,000. Since the exam rules said I couldn’t talk about Article 8, it was rather an artificial exercise!

  9. my wife and my four kids are living in nekivalle refuges camp in uganda since nov 2010 when court of the appeal of my cases MS (Somalia) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] EWCA Civ 1236 led by stephen knafler was dismissed since that i tried to find job the only job i did now is career and i also naturalized by british citizen and willing to find a job but destroyed me the rules

  10. This 18600 rule has destroyed my life. I have worked and paid tax all my life never claimed benefits. yet the British government tell me I cant have a family life. my salary is 13500 pa my house is mortgage free. I have 20,000 in savings yet that’s not enough to sponsor my wife to UK. THIS 18600 RULE MUST BE LOWERED ITS BREAKING UP FAMILY’S CHILDREN BEING BROUGHT UP WITH OUT A FARTHER OR MOTHER

  11. Peter, might I suggest following the links in the article we’re commenting on? You probably have a decent chance of winning an appeal against any refusal of a visa to your spouse (just going on what you said in your post- this is in no way intended to be immigration advice).

  12. I am struggling to live my life here in the UK all alone without my husband, I have no family and no one to support me, I work full time 50 hours plus and I am struggling so much physically to work this many hours just to meet the 18,600 requirement. I am so sick and tired of these new rules which is affecting my life so severely and destroying my happiness to be together with the only person I have in my life at the moment who is on the other side of the world because of so many rules/regulations . The 6 month wage slips is also ridiculous it should only be max 3 months as it was before.

  13. At the initial time of application I added a new permanent work contract indicating my wages would immediately rise to £13,800 p/a. This was totally ignored and only the 6 months prior to application used. Visa refused. I was told to leave the UK and join my husband abroad. I appealed on article 8, having children and grandchildren here in UK. Visa still not approved. Again told I could live outside UK even though the judge says he was happy and aware I was now earning £15,200 p/a. Can’t take much more stress. Need to keep fighting but can’t afford a solicitor. My human rights totally violated and seems the government keep winning!

  14. I am a full-time student, married for 2 and a half years with a 9 month old son. Finding it slightly impossible to earn 18600. I want to study, my husband wants to work full time but is not allowed. We were refused. We appealed on humans rights, article 8. Went through the whole process and were refused. We couldn’t afford to take it to judicial review. Praying for a change in income requirement. My studies end in a few months, hoping to find a full-time job earning more around 13000. If possible I will work 50 hours on mim. wage. Let’s pray for a change so our families can be united.

  15. When we sign that we can not have public funds what so ever why can they not allow us to be with our marriage partners. Sickening, human rights violated. Just be honest, you do not want foreigners so we know where we stand at-least, instead of these impossible rules. Me and my brother have been separated for three years for not being able to meet some rule or the other.

  16. And me and my brother have hardly ever gone on public funds, maybe once in our whole life, and still we are not allowed to be with our respected partners, it is nothing but racism, and discrimination.

  17. Naim
    I worked for this company 3 year since 2011 , I started full time on 19000 a year and I moved to part time for 6 months , since October 2012 I started again full time on 19000 a year when I applied for my wife’s visa , was put on hold even I PROVIDED 7 MONTHS PAY SLIPS, 1568 A MONTH but on my P60 SHOWS ONLY 14250 BECAUSE I WORKED 5 MONTHS PART TIME AND 7 MONTHS FULL TIME ITS CRAZY ANY ADVICE PLEASE

    1. Your supposed to provide six months payslips, and a employment letter contracted for full time and duration of job, that should suffice, if they rejected then we all will be rejected, this rule just needs to go, and simple rules need to come into place, minimum wage, plus accommodation

  18. My husband and I have been together 8 years and have 2 children. I was on a very good paid job however due to taking 1 year out on maternity leave I did not meet the financial requirement for year before application which is crazy when I supplied contracts and payslips for the past 3 years to prove I have met more than the financial requirement. Since my husband has been in Albania I have suffered numerous health issues and pointed this out with proof to the British embassy to no help what so ever. Its all about money in that year regardless of what has happened and is doing to my family.

    1. for there to be an outcome the test case actually needs to take place and as far as I can see, the date is set to be “approaching”

    2. sorry about the previous comment, this situation has had our family torn apart for almost a year now and it is distressing to say the least. The above “approaching” link states the case and the Home Office appeal in the Court of Appeal is to be heard between 3 and 5 March 2014. Judgment is likely to come some time after that.
      What “some time after that” means who knows

  19. Surely there is something collectively we can all do to combat this? There must be thousands of people affected and all of which must have 100s of friends and family members that will support a group action of some kind.

    1. Jimmy, I,m sorry for your life being turned upside down by this divisive new law (penned by politicians who need to be seen to be “tackling Immigration” )I too am affected,being kept apart from my wife for the past 6 months, and so am involving my local MP, who, to be honest is finding it very hard herself to get answers from the Immigration Minister.What else can we do. ?? Maybe chaining ourselves to the railings of Westminster would be more successful!!

  20. Hi Brian, thanks for your kind message. My feelings also go out to you. What else can we do? If I thought chaining ourselves to the railings would achieve anything I would do it in a heartbeat. It is the first suggestion I have heard, so currently makes it to top of the list. Anyone else have a suggestion?

    When I look into this, there is masses of info about all the people affected and not one person I speak to in the “real world” has any idea about it, and when told they are in disbelief and sickened by it even though they are not directly affected. The whole thing is a ridiculous waste of resources. Discrimination and racism is not tolerated here by authority in public or work place etc yet here is authority themselves implementing rules and regulations that are blatantly that! So… if you were to lose your job, would they deport your wife!!?? Maybe its a sign that this country is not the right place to be?

  21. This Income law is surely against human rights, this law is breaking up families and its surely inhumane and top of it no one is saying anything regarding this I have a wife and a kid we have not been living together for four years and its destroying my mental and emotional state as well as my wifes also my baby is raising up without a father what are law makers are doing and what do u call this Its not a Great Britain anymore.

    1. Hi Shariff, This is the first I,ve seen this e petition……Unfortunately I believe time is now too short to get a decent number of signees.I,ve signed, but am very surprised at the such low numbers..Let us hope the barristers can fight successfully on our behalf on March 3rd.

    2. Hi, I haven’t seen this petition before. but any way I just signed it and hope we all get a good news soon. This rule is taking me to depression.

    3. I have only started researching this recently and have looked at epetitions before so thought I would have a look to see if anyone had started one for this cause. Unfortunately someone has also started an epetition to block the loophole through Europe and that has over 160 and is open until September this year. We can always start another one but I think a lot of people would have to sign it to get the Government to listen. Hope there is a positive outcome from the forthcoming proceedings.

    4. just signed! How has this been hiding!!! Only 60+ signatures, that is unbelievable. Lets make every effort to send the link to everyone we know.

  22. This £18,600 rule is destroying a lot of families and putting them under stress. My daughter is in the same boat. She cannot have her American born fiance over until she is earning that much, she earns £14,600 and has a rent free house, but that is still not enought so they say. If her husband could come over and work part time that would take them up to the threshold, but that is not allowed. They have a 2 and half year old daughter who cries as she misses her daddy. At present he comes over for 6 months every year, under sponsor, but cannot stay. My daughter is stressing out, her child is stressing out, is not fair on the children being forced to live without both parents.

    1. As the first petition finishes before the proposed hearing date I suggest we focus on that one first for the next two days as the numbers have already increased by almost 50%!

  23. I am a 20 year old law student and I am getting married to an arab Israeli in June, We are planning to live in the UK until I can graduate with my LL.B. Naturally, as a student, I do not meet the salary requirement or have the extortionate amount of savings needed instead of a salary. Being from Northern Ireland I hold both British and Irish passports. I was advised that if I was to RENOUNCE my British nationality I would be able to have my husband live with me by exercising my EU treaty rights as an Irish citizen but as a British citizen in Britain I cannot. These regulations are totally illogical. While I agree completely that immigration has to be significantly reduced, the government is targeting the wrong areas in the wrong way.

    1. I believe it is essential to have a proper electronic entry/exit system for all migrants, with overstayers being caught and punished.
      Also, crack down using undercover Immigration personnel of all bogus visa service companies, and bogus colleges etc.And better technology to check whether documents are real, or forged.There is such blatent abuse of the whole system it is like a cancer.

    2. “Like a cancer”? I have quite a few problems with comparing human beings to a cancer. And I’m quite entertained by the idea of “punishing” overstayers. Perhaps by imprisoning them in our overcrowded penal system? Or maybe by inflicting some sort of violence on them, although not TOO severe, obviously, more like a short sharp shock?

    3. Colin, I am sorry you take the opinion you do of my e mail…….i believe the visa system itself is like a cancer, NOT those people abusing the system.
      Also, Never did I suggest imprisonment or short ,sharp shocks as punishment for those migrants without a valid visa.”punishment” could mean many things.I could argue I am being punished for marrying my Chinese wife 3 years ago.If she had been from the EU she would be with me here now instead of being stuck in China for the past 6 months!!

  24. These rules are actually in breach of our constitutional right to live in our own country. The State is saying that there is a price tag on our right family life which most people in this country would not meet.

  25. I am Niki, a 35 year old who’s life was turned upside down after collapsing at university 4 months before graduation. I was left with debilitating M.E. Since the government refuse to use the universal definition of M.E, not only are PIP denying me help..since obviously all 35 years want to be stuck indoors, but they are denying my fiancee the right to come and gain work once we marry. Projected income isn’t even taken in to account, 3 rd party evidence, savings, nothing. Being apart from my partner while I am so sick is awful. We just want to be together.

  26. Hey today is 6 march so does anyone know when to hear the decision from court

  27. Hey please any update about decision. today is 6th March and the court date was 3 to 5 march…. please update to all of us about the update situation…thanks & waiting for reply

  28. Hi,
    I am working in Optical industry for over 13 years and never been unemployed.
    My wife’s who is Practicing as a Gynaecologist in Pakistan visa was refused on the minimum income threshold basis as I was short by £500/year.
    After appealing against it to the First Tribunal it was allowed on human right basis in Feb 2014 as judge worked it out that I m short by £150 not even £500.
    How ever Home office being Home office applied permission for appeal to the Upper Tribunal against the decision allowed by First Tribunal and we are waiting for the out come of an application.
    Many of us effected by income threshold relying on the case hearing which meant to be from 3rd March till 5th of March. Am I right by saying that outcome of hearing could take months? Or it supposed to be announced straight away.

  29. Hi can any one pl udate me on the outcome of the hearring. As everyone is soo excited and aniticipating a positive change so that all families, spouses and children can be reunited for ever. Pl update

  30. Everyone on Facebook join ‘i love my foreign spouse’ , there’s many others there in the same boat. On Twitter go to ‘Britcits’ newsfeed, they were at the court, along with many Facebook members and their Twitter account had been updating us. As for the court case, it’s going to take several months for the decision, maybe many more for appeal from HO… Britcits have said that the judges are planning to take less time than the previous judge. It’s very interesting, please do check their Twitter.

  31. Hi Younas, Ii reaead that it would be 4-8 WEEKS. Let`s hope YOU are right…………By the way, the number of spouse visas “on hold” according to Govts own figures is approx 3000! A relative drop in the ocean of the Govts Immigration target, but affecting 3000 loving families. Totally disproportionate

  32. Brain Woods,

    i just want to know that after decision can the HO put another appeal against decision in supreme court or they will give the visa to all of previous effective families……

  33. Hi Jibran, From what I,ve read from many sources, it seems possible, even likely, that the Govt. could appeal to the Supreme Court. I juust hope they (govt) show a little sense/compassion and drop this disproportionate legislation…Fingers crossed at the moment

    1. please could somebody update us of what was the out come of the hearing cos is like we are stuck in the middle of no where nobody is talking even on news there is no info thanks

  34. British mother here who has a Non-EEA daughter. The ex-husband is not on the scene at all. I have and can prove the sole responsibility.
    To my utter shock and disbelief, the ECO refused my daughter’s application, stating the non-compliance of the £18,600 rule. And the Rule 297, which we believe out application falls under, DOES NOT even state anything about ‘Financial Requirements’ !! Even the application form is not designed for Rule 297 and there is no other suitable form available. I was forced to fill up all the details in the form, large part of which had sections which just doesn’t apply to me (British mother sponsoring only one applicant – her non-EEA daughter).
    Despite knowing that, I literally begged (in the covering letter to the ECO) that I cannot fulfill these requirements because I have keep flying in and out of UK to look after my daughter.
    It seems, we have been caught up in the storm. My daughter keeps asking me every day “When is she going to come to UK?”. My parents (who look after her) ask me the other day “Do we have to die to change the heart of the ECO??”.
    Bah. Losing hope here.

  35. No decidsion yet. Court will take time to give their decision it can be days or months. I initially heard that it will be 10 working days but now lot of ppl say it will be around 2 months and most probably after that the loosing party will challenge the decision in Supreme court so another year or so. We are on same boat and can just wait nothing else.

  36. PAIN,PAIN,PAIN..Do these people know what love is? Do they have children?Wife?Husband? is it now a crime to love across borders? i thought the wall came down a long time ago? someone somewhere is desperately trying to break up families..unfair..inhuman..cold..oh my wife,my daughter its getting harder by the day..somebody help us PLEASE..

    1. Stay strong Martin, we can’t let this break us down. It seems like that is what it is designed to do. Do these people know what love is? Obviously not, we are here to educate them and show that we will not back down or accept this! I am no lawyer or anything just someone in the same boat, been separated from my wife and 5 kids for a year now.

  37. I have been with my partner 6 years, this July. She is a US citizen, and I UK. We are same sex partners. I have been a hard worker, since completion of University, yet with the country going through its recession, found it impossible to get a job, that doesn’t pay pittance. It is hard enough to find a job that pays minimum wage currently, let alone a job which pays the minimum requirement, and to ensure that in 2/5 yrs etc, prior to long term residency being given, if given, I still have job security. It is horrifically unfair. My current option is basically entering into a civil partnership with her, which of course, isn’t a huge problem seeing as we have been together so long, but for it to feel forced is a slight hypocritical factor of the forced marriages in which people performed in order to get ease to come here in the first instance.
    To be able to get an Unmarried partner visa, we need to have lived together for 2 yrs, which I don’t understand how is possible, when neither of us are allowed in one anothers country for more than 6 months…ridiculous.
    Instead as a legit couple we need to most likely do the surrinder singh route, which means having to uproot myself, possibly out of a job, which took long enough, which doesn’t even pay the minimum requirement, go to another country, have my partner come over, go there, perform my treaty rights, to then be able to come over, hopefully get a job, and somewhere to live, and finally start our god damn lives. This is absolutly absurd and ridiculous on all levels.
    On a £16k a year job, hell even £14k I could support myself and her, the lifestyle isn’t luxurious yet we would get by, she would be working also, so wouldn’t be sponging off benefits from the country. So even if we both had minimum wage full time jobs, we would be able to support ourselves comfortably. Yet we aren’t even given this opportunity to do so.
    This entire fiasco is heart wrenching, putting pressure on our relationship, which is hard enough been 8 hours apart and being so far from one another. Without these ridiculous rules. Mental and physical strain is effecting us both greatly. Yet we will fight till the death of us, to be together. I am currently ashamed to be British, this was a place I was once proud of, and wanting to bring my partner here, to show her how life here would be great for us. Instead it is ran by monkeys.

  38. I have been separated from my wife for four years. Initially, we applied for an Unmarried Partner visa, which was rejected. I travelled to Vietnam to marry my partner and upon my return with a valid marriage certificate, we applied for a Spouse Visa, which was rejected on the basis of the first refusal – HO doesn’t believe our relationship is real. In the last refusal, they tried to say that I am subject to the £18,600 requirement but because I am the full-time carer for my 92 year old mother, I am exempt but they don’t accept that. We are appealing and have a date of 1st July. The HO will look for ANY reason to delay entry into the UK, so that immigration entry numbers are down by the next election!

  39. my wife works 8 hours and she meets the income threshold as she took her time to calculate before i applied for the visa on the 22 of august 2013, every necessary thing was done TB test,English test and etc. but i was emailed on the 8 of September 2013 that all the documents submitted has been considered but we do not meet the income requirements and i should submit a supporting documents if i have any corresponding to the income requirements they talked about, i did that and i received an acknowledgement letter that the application will be reviewed and since i received the letter on 21 November 2013 nothing has been said to me again, i don”t know whats going on am very desperate since am very lonely and always have talk to my wife on phone,we planned having kids to raise them together but it seems the home office wont allow our dreams to come through, there is no info on what they are doing even to update us on the courts case doesn’t matter them……….how is the case going? is there any one to update us?

  40. My wife and I got married in July 2012 – 1 week before they changed the financial threshold rules (they actually formally changed while we were on honeymoon) We hadn’t started visa proceedings as I had just finished University and we decided to take a bit of time and get some finances together in order to get our own home. almost 2 years later and we still haven’t been able to stay together longer than 2 months.
    We applied last November and were rejected on my birthday in December due to not reaching the financial requirements.
    I actually do earn over the threshold but at the time of application I had not been paid that same amount for 6 months. I have worked for the same company for 2 years and received a pay rise which allowed us to go over the threshold and apply. Despite working here much longer, i was rejected as my salary in the 6 months leading up to the application wasn’t over the threshold…

    We were obviously devastated however we will apply next month (after 7 months with the current salary) and hopefully we should get approval, however I do not doubt they will find another issue with it and reject us…

    Hold on everyone, no one in this scumbag government seems to understand how difficult it is to be apart from your family without any knowledge of when it will be finally over and you can be together.

    All of life is on hold, we wont dare think about children or long term plans as we have no idea what is going to happen… what kind of life is that?

  41. I totally agree with you about the “scumbag” comment. Just keep bombarding your local MP with questions.mine must be getting fed up by now.And go see them face to face at their local “surgeries”
    It probably wont do any good, but you never know.! Fingers crossed for a good outcome & SOON!

  42. I am British and currently live in Mexico with my Mexican husband and dual nationality child, we have been married for six years and have never lived in the UK during our relationship. We now want to return to the Uk for the best interests of our child, but under these rules it appears to be impossible! I refuse to live apart from my husband and he could never be apart from his child, there isn’t even an option for us to return as a family and try to reach these requirements! The only option is to first go to Europe and follow the surinder Singh route, it just seems senseless, and I can’t find any information about families returning to the uk together to start a fresh in the UK, is it even possible without first working in Europe????

  43. Just to add my bit to the conversation: these are all excuses, income threshold being one. Me and my wife of 6 years have two British children, she was issued with a spousal visa back under the old rules – when we came to extend it we found out it had expired by a couple of weeks – this was refused as we were told the application should have been made from the origin country, anyway…3 years with an appeal pending and with me earning over twice the threshold amount (in employment for 4 years non-stop) on the advice of UKBA my wife went back to the US with our two kids (both British) to apply again. This was refused on the grounds of not meeting the income threshold – the EXCUSE they had was that even though the proof of income was in the form of my payslips and money going into my account the company was trading under a different name.

    The ECO’s there obviously have no clue how businesses operate in the real world and how ppl live so how can they make such important decisions…i am in online marketing so spreading the news of their incompetency is indeed something i am pursuing vigorously.

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