A Supreme Court ruling extends the requirements for visa sponsorship. The Home Office will now consider ‘Specific Circumstances’ for those unable to meet the Minimum Income Requirement for sponsoring family members outside the EEA in a new amendment to be implemented next week.

From August 10th, 2017, decisions for spouse visa and dependent children outside the EEA will take into account specified circumstances if the applicant or spouse does not currently meet the £18,600 per annum, Minimum Income Requirement.

Home Office decision-makers will now have to consider if the 18,600-Minimum Income Requirement would be met through other methods of financing. This will include evidence of sustainable self/employment within three months of moving to the UK, proof of continued support from a financially stable family member or other such persons.

The changes are following a February 2017, Supreme Court ruling in which the principle of the £18,600 Minimum Income Requirement but considerations were made and the Home Office will have to take into account the potential earning potential as well as consequences of refusal.

Spouse and Family visas will also now be considering those who don’t meet the Requirement and whose refusal will have “unjustifiably harsh consequences for the family” or would breach the applicant or family’s Human Rights. The Home Office will continue to require verifiable proof for all circumstances that satisfy the criteria of genuineness, credibility, and reliability.

The controversial requirement executed in 2012 was to discourage people bring over foreign spouses and going onto benefits with a Home Office spokesperson citing “prevents burdens being placed on taxpayers and ensures migrant families can integrate into our communities.”

The requirement, however, has drawn continued criticism for creating more than 15,000 ‘skype’ kids, children who are only able to communicate with one parent through a form of social media due to the threshold rising to 22,400 for couples with one child and £2,400 for every child thereafter. This also means that families of three children or more would have to make £29,600 a year, over two thousand pounds above the national average wage and therefore discriminating against working class families. Further criticism was also levelled at the Minimum Requirement for sexism as 55% of British women, earned less than the £18,600 threshold and therefore would not be able to bring their partners over.

This new ruling has provided hope for thousands of families who had previously been refused their UK application and spouse visas. For those looking to reunite their families in the UK, this could potentially be a life changing precedent.

If you believe you may be affected by this new ruling and are unsure about what to do next, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our spouse visa specialists. They’ll be on hand to give you the advice you need and offer you the correct legal guidance to move forward with your application.