Managing citizenship, security, and rights : regulating marriage migration in Europe and North America.
- United Kingdom
Marriage and migration: For richer, not for poorer
In 2012 the government introduced a new requirement that British citizens and permanent residents meet an income threshold before being allowed to bring in a partner from outside the European Union. The threshold is £18,600 ($26,500), or higher if children are to come too. This gives Britain the strictest policy on family unification of 38 rich countries, according to the Migration Policy Group, an NGO. The rules have been challenged in a case that will be heard by the Supreme Court next month.
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.