The Supreme Court has ruled that minimum income rules relating to spousal sponsorship are legal. The ruling means that all British Citizens hoping to bring their foreign spouses or partners from non-EEA states to the UK will have to earn a minimum gross annual income of £18,600. The Supreme Court has now decided that these rules are compliant with human rights legislation and will, therefore be upheld.

However, the court decided that changes would need to be made in regards to couples with children and to take into consideration other funding avenues available to couples. The issue was first brought to light in 2012 when the new rules were introduced that said the spousal income requirements for sponsoring a partner was £18,600 and this would increase if there were children.

It was argued that this amounted to “disproportionate interference with a genuine spousal relationship” as the amount was set at an unreasonably high amount. This amount increases to £22,400 for a couple with one child and an additional £2,400 for each additional child. Following the launch of legal action, a high court judge determined in July 2013 that this was an unjustified interference with human rights. This was later appealed by the Government in 2014 and appeal judges found the requirements lawful.

A number of people who were impacted by the income requirements took their cases to the Supreme Court, which brings us to the present day. The Home Office reiterated their stance that the minimum income threshold is in place to ensure that “family migrants do not become reliant on the taxpayer for financial support and are able to integrate effectively.” Although the spousal income requirements will be upheld, the government has committed to carefully considering the court’s’ concerns about exceptional cases, particularly where there are children involved.