MM Case Heard in the Supreme Court
Seven Supreme Court judges have been hearing how the “absurd and irrational” Home Office minimum income threshold requirements are forcing UK citizens into exile and creating a generation of ‘Skype’ families. The Immigration rules have created a discriminatory system where individuals who lack the education and income levels are being forced to live separately from their family.
Over a three-day hearing, the judges, including Lady Hale, the court’s deputy president, have heard whether the income threshold requirements contravene Britain’s obligations under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Details of the Threshold
UK nationals must earn more than £18,600 to bring over a non-EU spouse, rising to £22,400 if they have a child who does not have British Citizenship, and by an additional £2,400 for each subsequent child.
Up to 47 percent of the British population would fail to meet the income requirements.
Monday saw the opening of the trial to a courtroom packed with families affected by the minimum income threshold requirements.
Referring to the so-called Surinder Singh route – whereby couples and families can move to an EU country for several months and re-apply to return under EU free movement laws, circumventing minimum-income requirements – the appellant counsel, Manjit Singh Gill QC said the current law forced British citizens into temporary or permanent exile.
“The absurdity is quite staggering,” he said.
People being forced to leave the country and then come back. What on earth is the point of doing that? People are being forced into that situation and we are talking about British citizens – half the working population would face that absurd scenario. The gravity of the interference here [by the state] is particularly high.”
Mr Gill questioned why the support of third parties, such as British relatives of the divided couples, could not be taken into account. “The other side say it is difficult to predict the continued support of third parties. One could say that the support of third parties may be more dependable than income from a job where a business may not tell its employers if it is struggling. It is completely irrational and without logic.”
The QC acting for the Home Office did indicate on third party support being a possibility in the Immigration Rules which would mean some changes to the current Rules.
History of the Case
The Supreme Court appeal follows a decision from the Court of Appeal last year, where the judges upheld the Home Offices appeal against the high court decision which found that the controversial Immigration rules requiring a minimum income of at least £18,600 for spouse visa applications were ‘unjustified and disproportionate’.
Home Office Response
The UK Government has long been pushing an agenda to reduce Immigration by targeting families. The Home Office contends that family life must not be established at tax payers expense. However, critics accuse the Government of targeting a vulnerable group, who unlike big business or universities, do not have the power to lobby the government if certain policies affect them adversely.
The Supreme Court’s decision will be released in around six month’s time.
OTS Solicitors is regarded as one of the best Immigration solicitors in the UK. To find out more on how we can advise you on bringing family members to the UK, please phone our office on 0207 936 9960 to talk to one of our team. We would be happy to offer an initial consultation over the phone, or you can make an appointment to see us in our London office.