How to avoid the minimum income requirement for partners under Appendix FM

As a direct access immigration barrister, the Home Secretary’s announcement regarding the increase in the minimum income requirement for partners under Appendix FM has caused me a lot of concern – as it has for many families.

The new income threshold threatens to limit the opportunity for non-British partners to join their loved ones in the UK. The increase, set to reach £38,700 by 2025, poses a significant hurdle for those who believe that residing in the UK with a foreign national partner should not be a privilege reserved for the affluent.

The new rates will apply for all applications made on or after the 6th February 2024. As the implementation of these changes approaches it becomes crucial for affected couples to explore alternatives to meet the financial requirement. While the draft immigration rules detailing these changes are yet to be released, considering proactive measures is essential.

Submit applications before February 2024.

One viable strategy is to submit visa applications before the rule change takes effect. Applications made before the implementation of the new minimum income requirement will be evaluated based on the existing criteria. Couples who currently meet the requirements but anticipate challenges in the future should act promptly to submit their applications. It’s worth noting that the application date is determined by the submission of the online form specifically, which provides a window of opportunity for couples to apply before the threshold increases, even if the subsequent biometric appointment occurs after the rule change.

Utilise Paragraph EX.1 of Appendix FM.

Paragraph EX.1 of Appendix FM presents an exception for in-country leave to remain applications. This provision allows for flexibility in cases involving British citizen children or those who have lived in the UK for seven years, where it would be deemed unreasonable for the child to leave the country. Understanding and utilizing this exception can be crucial in navigating the new requirements.

Exceptional circumstances under Paragraph GEN 3.1 of Appendix FM.

For both in-country and out-of-country applications, Paragraph GEN 3.1 of Appendix FM allows a broader range of sources to be used to meet the financial requirement if there are exceptional circumstances. This provision opens avenues for a more diverse set of income sources, potentially easing the burden on couples facing financial challenges.

Welfare Benefits Exemption.

If the sponsoring partner receives specific welfare benefits, the focus shifts from the minimum income requirement to assessing whether there is adequate maintenance and accommodation without recourse to public funds. This alternative test offers a more lenient threshold compared to the new financial requirement.

Ensure strong applications.

Crafting robust initial applications is crucial. Exceptional circumstances applications demand detailed and well-supported evidence. Whether relying on the presence of a British citizen child or asserting insurmountable obstacles, thorough documentation is essential to strengthen the case.

In conclusion, couples facing the challenge of meeting the new minimum income requirement must proactively explore these strategies. Crafting strong applications not only enhances the chances of success but also sets the stage for potential legal challenges against what many perceive as an unjust policy. By utilising available tools and presenting well-argued cases, families can strive to be together even in the face of stringent immigration rules.

If you have an immigration problems, please contact Paul Turner, an experienced direct access immigration barrister at Imperium Chambers, on 020 7242 3488. Paul has over 25 years’ experience in the field of immigration and would be delighted to assist with any visa or settlement, or any type of immigration issue you have.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *