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2024 Spouse Visa Applications and the Minimum Income Requirement of £29,000

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If you are thinking about applying for a Spouse Visa or any other type of Family Visa in 2024 then speak to an Immigration Solicitor now. Planned changes in the minimum income requirement may affect the timing of your application.

Depending on your financial circumstances, and those of your sponsoring partner, you may need to apply for your Spouse Visa before Spring 2024 or by late December 2024.

In this blog, our Immigration Solicitors explain why you need to keep an eye on the 2024 calendar if applying for a Spouse Visa is on the cards for you.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Lawyers and Spouse Visa Solicitors

For expert Family Visa immigration law advice call London-based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

The 2024 Spouse Visa minimum income requirement timeline

To qualify for a Family Visa, you need to meet a financial requirement as part of the eligibility criteria. The minimum income requirement can be met from the visa applicant’s income, the sponsor’s income or a combination of the two sources. It is usual for Spouse Visa applicants to rely solely on their sponsor’s salary because if they are working overseas, they will be leaving their job to come to the UK and will not have a job and evidence of salary in the UK.

The changes to the minimum income requirement may catch some Spouse Visa applicants out. The estimated timeline is:

Date Family Visa minimum income requirement
Currently £18,600*
Spring 2024 £29,000
January 2025 £38,700
  * The figure is higher if the visa applicant is accompanied by children and the children are not British citizens

 

Since the UK government announced the increase in the financial requirement for the Family Visa there have been twists and turns. Initially, the rise to £38,700 was said to be scheduled for Spring 2024 but the Home Office now says the increase will be phased with the minimum income requirement rising to £29,000 in Spring 2024. The prime minister is reported to have said that January 2025 is the date when the financial requirement will increase to £38,700.

To complicate matters, the UK is due to have a general election in 2024 or 2025 so Immigration Solicitors do not know how the current planned timeline may change or the opposition parties planned Family Visa minimum income requirement policies.

Given the uncertainty, Spouse Visa Solicitors are recommending that you apply for your Spouse Visa before 2025 if you and your sponsor fall into an income bracket of under £38,700 gross per year.

If you and your sponsor earn less than £29,000 the timeframe is tighter as you need to make your application before Spring 2024.

Sponsoring children and the minimum income requirement

At present, if you apply for a Family Visa the minimum income requirement is increased if the applicant will be accompanied by dependent children who do not have British citizenship. The sponsor must earn an extra £3,800 a year for the first child and £2,400 a year for each child the visa applicant has after their first child.

If a Spouse Visa applicant is accompanied by 4 children the minimum income requirement is £29,600 comprising £18,600, £3,800 and 3 lots of £2,400.

A recent Home Office statement says ‘’there will no longer be a separate child element to the minimum income requirement, to ensure that British nationals are not treated less favourably than migrants who are required to meet the General Skilled Worker threshold as a flat rate, regardless of any children being sponsored’’.

Spouse Visa Solicitors read that as meaning the extra income threshold for children will be scrapped from Spring 2024. Accordingly, if you are planning to come to the UK on a Family Visa accompanied by 4 or more children the changes to the minimum income requirement will not affect you as the sponsor no longer has to earn more for each child as the overall threshold has been raised.

Options if you do not meet the minimum income requirement after Spring 2024

If your sponsor does not earn £29,000 gross per year and you want to apply for a Family Visa then what are your options?

Our Spouse Visa Solicitors list them as:

  1. Check if the sponsor receives any benefits – if the sponsor does then you may not need to meet the financial requirement as eligible benefits automatically ensure that the minimum income requirement is classed as met as you fall within a Home Office exception
  2. Apply for the Family Visa before Spring 2024 if the sponsor currently earns at least £18,600 per year
  3. Get the sponsor to get a new job paying at least £29,000 but they need to do this quickly as the Home Office will want evidence of income through wage slips
  4. Check if the sponsor’s other income falls within the definition of income and can be combined with the sponsor’s salary to meet the minimum income requirement. For example, pension income from a private or state pension or dividend income
  5. Check if the sponsor has savings as cash savings over £16,000 can be used with income to meet the minimum income requirement. If the cash savings are £65,000 or over the minimum income requirement can be met on capital alone. Equity in a family home or long-term investments do not count as cash savings
  6. Get your Spouse Visa Solicitors to advise on whether you meet the criteria for a Spouse Visa based on exceptional circumstances so you and your sponsor do not need to meet the minimum income requirement. The immigration rules say you need to show that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’which mean that a refusal would result in ‘unjustifiably harsh consequences’ for you or family members
  7. Make an individual challenge to the change in the Spouse Visa minimum income requirement

Talk to Spouse Visa Solicitors about the Family Visa income requirement 

If you want to apply for a Family Visa and you or your sponsor earn less than £29,000 or less than £38,700 per year then talk to a specialist Spouse Visa Solicitor to come up with a plan on when to apply for your Spouse Visa.

Our expert Immigration Solicitors are friendly and approachable. We will talk you through the changes to the minimum income requirement and how they may impact your Family Visa application.

Our individual immigration expertise is recognised in the 2024 Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Lawyers and Spouse Visa Solicitors

For expert Family Visa immigration law advice call London-based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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