Home Office to appeal ruling against family visa income thresholds

The Home Office have decided to appeal against a ruling made by the High Court which found that the salary thresholds for sponsoring non-EEA spouses and partners were 'onerous and unjustified'.

The ruling made on 5 July 2013 affects certain cases currently under consideration. For applications where the only grounds for refusal is failure to meet the salary requirements. Following the ruling the Home Office put these affected cases on hold pending their decision on how to respond.

The Home Office have now released a statement saying they intend to appeal against this ruling. They have requested the courts deal with the matter as quickly as possible. The statement also details how this affects specific applications as follows:

  • Applications currently on hold will be resolved once the court case is concluded
  • This hold affects 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, will continue to be processed and decided as normal.

The UKBA have also provided the following FAQs for people who think their application could be affected.

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 Home Office has asked the Court of Appeal 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.


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