Families kept apart by minimum income rule

41% of working Brits not able to sponsor partner

GMT 16:00 Wednesday ,27 January 2016

 Migrant Voice - 41% of working Brits not able to sponsor partner

Image by Chris Fleming via Flickr
Nicolette Hill

In July 2012, the UK government created a minimum annual income requirement of £18,600 for UK Citizens and residents sponsoring a visa for a spouse or partner outside the European Economic Area (EEA). This is about £5,000 more than what someone working full-time at a minimum wage job would make. If a child would also be coming to the UK, the minimum income threshold is raised by £3,800 for the first child and £2,400 for each additional child. This income requirement must be met solely by the UK citizen or resident. They cannot get any help from their partner or any other parties.  This system makes it exceedingly difficult for UK citizens and residents to be with their families if they are outside of the EEA.


According to new research by the University of Oxford's Migration Observatory, by 2015, 41% of British citizens and residents with full or part-time jobs did not meet the income threshold of £18,600. Due to the fact that the UK sponsor is solely responsible for making the required amount of money, men are more likely to be able to meet the requirement over women. The Migrant Observatory also reported that while almost three-fourths of men were able to bring their family to the UK, 55% of women did not have the required income to do so.


One of the main arguments against the minimum income rule is that children are separated from either one of their parents. Another is that the spouse cannot contribute toward the £18,600. Even if they are working in their country, their income cannot be included in the minimal requirement as they could stop working as soon as they get to the UK.


This minimum income requirement of £18,600 is expected to be examined by the Supreme Court next month but has so far been approved and upheld by Parliament and courts.


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