The income requirement for spouses of British citizens and permanent residents has been highly controversial. There are many who do not meet the income requirements and so families have left apart in different countries. In addition, if there are children as well who need to gain entry to the UK the income requirements are higher. The interesting thing is that it is much easier for temporary UK visa holders and EU citizens who are not permanent residents to bring in their partners into the UK.
Partners of UK citizens and residents have to endure what is an expensive and complicated process. If you do not meet the income requirements just based on salary, for example, trying to work out alternative ways in which to try and meet the requirements is not that easy. Obviously, for many after looking at all sources of income as well as savings, it is still not possible to meet the income requirements. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary’s family is of Indian ancestry, who left Uganda for the UK.
The Home Office has been blasted for its ‘bureaucracy and incompetence’ after issuing guidance stating that non-EU spouses of UK nationals would not be disadvantaged if they fail to meet the income threshold conditions tied to their UK visa amid coronavirus, only to retract the guidance hours later.
Thousands of families across the UK fear being torn apart as a result of job losses during the lockdown, which means non-EU spouses of British citizens will fall short of the earnings requirement that makes them eligible for UK spouse visas. The current income threshold is set at £18,600 per year.
On 8 June, the Home Office published guidance on its website saying that ‘couples reliant on spouse visas, who have suffered a loss of income due to coronavirus, will not be disadvantaged.’ The government agency added that earnings prior to the COVID-19 crisis would be taken into account and not just salaries during the pandemic.
For spouse visa holders who have been furloughed, the Home Office has said it would treat the income of spouse visa holders as if they were earning 100 percent of their wage.