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According to the leaked Labour manifesto, the party would scrap the controversial minimum income threshold for British citizens hoping to bring their foreign partners to the UK. Although not mentioned as clearly in the final manifesto, there is a reference to replacing income thresholds. In the leaked draft manifesto, they explain that they do not believe that “family life should be protected only for the wealthy. In the final manifesto, the Labour party states: “ We will replace income thresholds with a prohibition on recourse to public funds.”
The controversial income threshold was implemented in 2010 when Theresa May was Home Secretary. It was intended to reduce the burden on the taxpayer by ensuring that only people earning a higher income could bring their partners to the UK, thus ensuring that no one would be able to claim benefits for themselves and their foreign spouse. The rules now state that anyone wishing to bring their partner to the UK on a spousal visa must earn over £18,600.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that, although the income limit imposed a hardship on couples, it was not unlawful, since the aim of the rule was to prevent couples from having access to public services. Despite the Supreme Court ruling that the income limit was no unlawful, it was determined that the Home Office had acted irresponsibly with regards to safeguarding children.
According to the Labour manifesto, this income limit would be scrapped and partners would instead be subject to limits on their access to public funds. This is part of a wider immigration policy that would aim to create a fairer system that doesn’t discriminate and is instead based on economic needs.
Looking to the other political parties, there is no mention of the income threshold in the Conservative manifesto. Instead, they focus on reducing the need to foreign workers by training up British workers. The Liberal Democrats also fail to mention the income threshold in their manifesto. In the Lib Dem manifesto, they outline plans to hold annual debates to discuss labour shortages and surpluses and outline plans for a centrally funded Migration Impact Fund to help local communities adjust to immigration.