Minimum income threshold for family migrants – applications ‘on hold’
Since 26 July 2013, the Home Office has put on hold all applications for leave to remain by spouses and partners including children applying through the family route where the applicant has not met the minimum financial requirements. This has been because of the 5 July 2013 High Court judgment in a legal challenge to the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route.
This applies to non-EEA national spouses/partners and children applying to settle in the UK with someone who is already resident here. These applications will continue to be put on hold until the case is finally determined by the Courts.
The hold on decision-making applies to applications made under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules where the application would be refused solely because the rules relating to the minimum income threshold are not met, including where relevant the evidence requirements in Appendix FM-SE. The same approach is being applied to a small number of adoption cases which would be refused on this ground alone.
Applications which meet the Rules or which fall to be refused on other grounds, such as requirements for English language or a genuine and subsisting relationship, are continuing to be processed and decided as normal.
To help answer some frequently asked questions:
Can I still submit a spouse/partner or child application under Appendix FM?
Yes. You can continue to apply, but you should take into account the fact that if the income threshold is the only requirement you do not meet, the Home Office will put your application on hold until the legal challenge is finally determined by the Courts.
Can I still submit my application in person at a public enquiry office in the UK?
Yes, but you should take into account the fact that if the income threshold is the only requirement you do not meet, the Home Office will put your application on hold until the legal challenge is finally determined by the Courts.
What happens if my case is on hold and I want to withdraw my application?
If you have already applied and now wish to withdraw your application, you may do so. The Home Office will not refund your application fee.
What happens if my case is on hold and I want to get my passport returned because I need to travel?
If you are applying from overseas, you may contact the relevant visa post to request the return of your passport to travel, while your application remains on hold.
If you are applying from within the UK and wish to travel outside the Common Travel Area, you may contact the Home Office to request the return of your passport but the Home Office will treat your application as withdrawn. We will not refund your application fee.
How long will cases be put on hold?
Until the legal challenge is finally determined by the Courts. The Court of Appeal has agreed to a request from the Home Office to expedite its appeal, but it is a matter for the Court how quickly the appeal is considered. It may take several months at least.
What happens if I meet the income threshold requirement?
If we assess that you meet all the rules which apply to your case, including the income threshold requirement where this applies, your application will be granted.
Am I still required to meet the income threshold requirement or can I apply knowing that I do not meet it?
You can apply, but if the income threshold is the only requirement you do not meet, the Home Office will put your application on hold until the legal challenge is finally determined by the Courts.
Are all adoption cases affected?
No, only applications required to meet the minimum income threshold under paragraph 314(i)(a), 314(i)(d), 316A(i)(d) or 316A(i)(e) of Part 8 of the Immigration Rules made on or after 9 July 2012. Adoption applications which do not have to meet the minimum income threshold are unaffected.
Are other family categories affected, like adult dependent relatives or spouses on the two-year probationary period?
No, there is no effect on applications which do not need to meet the income threshold requirement. Those cases will continue to be assessed against the rules which apply to them.
If for any reason you are concerned that your application for leave to remain lacks any of the requirements of the Immigration Rules you should seek independent legal advice on the validity of your application and possible solutions to your circumstances. To arrange an appointment to discuss your immigration status with us please telephone 020 8401 7352 to book an urgent appointment.