United Kingdom

The UK government is considering allowing other forms of financial support - other than the sponsoring spouse's income - to be included for the purpose of the minimum income requirement, in some circumstances. Thus, the decision-maker could consider the minimum income requirement met if other sources of income, financial support or funds are taken into account. 

This study seeks to consider how marriage migration to the UK has been regulated from 1900 to the present day, as well as analysing some of the contributory factors to and consequences of such regulation. Immigration in general often raises acute tensions across political boundaries and marriage migrants have raised particular socio-political issues which various administrations have attempted to address over the years. Issues of race, gender, culture and identity and different theorisations of the limits of state power in this area have all been instrumental in contributing to the regulation of marriage migration since the early 1900s.

This guidance tells you how to consider an application for a residence card made by a family member of a British citizen.

Several new guidance documents on EU law free movement cases have been published by the Home Office over the last few days.

Sarah van Walsum 18 February 1955 – 9 November 2014

With the insightful oration “Intimate strangers,” Sarah van Walsum accepted her position as the chair of “migration law and family ties” on 7 June 2012 at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. She passed away way too early so she was unable to finish the work she started.

In her oration Sarah showed that the world looks completely different if you do not view it as ordered as traditional sovereign states with protected borders, but if you take the worldwide network of intimate family relations as a starting point for coherence.

Associate Professor of Law Dr Helena Wray and her Middlesex colleague, Co-Director of the Social Policy Research Centre Eleonore Kofman, consider the latest evidence ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on the minimum income requirement.

The Home Office is proposing a massive 25% increase in already high immigration application fees for families for the year 2016-17. Family and spouse visas will in future cost £1,195. The maximum chargable for these applications will be increased from £2,141 to £3,250. The fee for a settlement application will increase to £1,875 and to £2,676 for Adult Dependant Relatives.

British citizen naturalisation fees for adults will increase to £1,156 and child registration fees to £936, which also represent 25% increases.

By comparison, a large multinational company applying for a Tier 2 sponsor licence to enable it to recruit foreign workers needs to pay a fee of £1,476. This fee is not being increased.

 

Under the EU citizens’ Directive, currently EU citizens can bring with them to another Member State their spouse or partner, the children of both (or either) who are under 21 or dependent, and the dependent parents of either. This applies regardless of whether the family members are EU citizens or not. No further conditions are possible, besides the prospect of a refusal of entry (or subsequent expulsion) on grounds of public policy, public security or public health (on which, see below).

In principle EU law does not apply to UK citizens who wish to bring non-EU family members to the UK, so the UK is free to put in place restrictive rules in those cases (which it has done, as regards income requirements and language rules). However, the CJEU has ruled that UK citizens can move to another Member State and be joined by non-EU family members there, under the more generous rules in the EU legislation. 

 

One of the issues the Supreme Court may examine is whether the foreign spouse’s income might count towards the threshold. At present, some low-earning British expatriates have trouble moving back from abroad with their foreign spouse, even if that partner is a high earner. The court has the power to declare these rules unlawful, though that is unlikely, believes Ms Grant. In the absence of many other ways of reducing immigration, the government will want to cling on to the strict new rules, for better or worse.

According to IPS estimates, non-EU family migration to the UK increased from an average of 35,000 per year in the 1990s to 45,000 in 2013, or 20% of all non-EU immigration that year. These estimates include both dependents and family unification migrants. Family migration, like overall migration to the UK, increased from 1997 to the mid-2000s, peaking at 74,000 in 2006 (see figure 1). Also similar to other categories of migration, family migration declined in the second half of the 2000s. But these shifts in family migration were smaller in magnitude than similar shifts in migration for work or study. As a result of these trends, family migration comprises a smaller share of overall migration now than it did in the 1990s (see our the Migration Observatory briefing on Immigration by Category: Workers, Students, Family Members, Asylum Applicants). Although this briefing focuses on non-EU migration, it is worth noting that, including  EU nationals, family migration is now at similar levels to the 1990s. LTIM estimates of family migration were 90,000 in 1991 and averaged 75,000 during the 1990s. LTIM estimates had increased to 105,000 by 2006 but fell to 71,000 in 2013.

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