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The case that put a pause on decisions made on spouse visas due to the minimum income requirement was heard in the Court of Appeal back in March, with a decision due imminently.
The controversial case of MM & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department  challenges the rules that currently set the minimum income requirement for a spouse visa at £18,600 per annum. On the 5th of July 2013, a hold was put on all spouse visa application decisions that failed to meet the minimum income threshold, after the High Court ruled that the income threshold at its current level was “disproportionate and unjustified”. Whilst this has given many fractured families hope of being reunited, a final decision has been a long time coming and, for some, the difficulties of living daily without their loved ones have taken their toll on their daily lives, with some having not seen their spouse for weeks, months or longer.
Whilst the case succeeded in the High Court in 2013, the Home Office has appealed to the Court of Appeal, where the imminent decision will come from. It was stated after evidence was heard in March that the wait for a decision from the Court of Appeal would be kept minimal, and a ruling on the minimum income requirement was anticipated within a matter of weeks. As the weeks have now rolled into months with the hopes of many affected families hinging on the outcome, a decision must surely be released soon.
The Immigration Act 2014, officially passed into law this month, saw Theresa May making promises that the playing ground on immigration would be levelled, supposedly making the rules much fairer for British Citizens. However, with the decision in the MM & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department looming, there was very little in the Act on spouse visas. The issue of sham marriages and civil partnerships being used to obtain a spouse visa or partner visa was, however, highlighted as one of the primary objectives, indicating that immigration issues involving marriage had been considered.
Unfortunately, no matter the decision made in this case, it is likely that it will not be the final decision overall, with the loser of this appeal highly likely to appeal to the Supreme Court. If this does turn out to be the case, the process for appeal through the Supreme Court is likely to stretch the eventual outcome of the case out by many more months. If the Home Office turns out to be the loser in this particular Appeal, it is feared that they may appeal to the Supreme Court in order to delay the overall outcome of the case until after the next general election. This would be incredibly bad news for those whose family lives hang upon the decision made, meaning their spouse visa applications, where they had been suspended for not meeting the income requirement, would still not have a decision made on them until the eventual outcome is decided. For those people, the unfortunate wait for news continues.
A DECISION HAS NOW BEEN MADE IN THIS APPEAL CASE AND WAS RELEASED ON THE 11TH OF JULY 2014. TO READ OUR SUMMARY OF THE DECISION, PLEASE SEE OUR MOST UP TO DATE ARTICLE ON THE CASE HERE.