UK Spouse visa ‘onerous’ and ‘unjustified’
The rules governing the granting of a UK spouse visa have been controversial since they were initiated in July 2012. Since that time an estimated 33,000 people have been denied the right to live with their partner in the UK on the basis of their income alone. The UK spouse visa rules demand that the British spouse must have an annual income of £18,600 (or funds equivalent thereto).
The rules are intended to prevent the migration of people to the UK who are not independently supported – in other words the legislation plays into government arguments as to migrants putting a drain on the UK’s welfare budget.
But since many of those affected are either at a formative stage in their working lives and/or students, those who oppose the legislation point to the fact that the cap not only discriminates on economic grounds, but does so in a way that is short sighted and misinformed.
The contention is that many of those who are currently denied the rights to a UK spouse visa will, over the long term – far from being welfare dependant – become economically active and net contributors to the UK economy.
Critics of the minimum income rule argue that as many as 47% of UK citizens do not earn enough to meet the criteria for a UK spouse visa. In these terms the law denies almost half of the population the right to marry someone from outside the UK and live with them in the UK.
For those affected, the law inevitably feels unfair, heavy handed and out of step with the realities of 21st century family life. In July 2014 the High Court overturned an appeal against the legality of the UK spouse visa legislation which had been described by the judge in an earlier hearing as ‘onerous’ and ‘unjustified’.
The legal minimum wage in the UK currently equates to £13,400.
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