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UK Spouse visa income threshold Will £29,000 from April

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The Home Office has made a U-turn on its much-criticised plan to imminently raise the minimum salary requirement for British nationals bringing foreign family members to the UK, saying the threshold will first be raised to £29,000 instead of £38,700.

Daily Dazzling Dawn explored also, the revised proposal, announced unexpectedly and without fanfare in a parliamentary answer, said the threshold would be increased “incrementally” and would still eventually hit £38,700, but gave no timescale for when this would happen.

The lack of detail, and the suddenness of the policy change, prompted opposition parties to condemn a lack of consultation, with Labour saying the policy was in “chaos”.

While £29,000 remains above the average UK working salary, and is still significantly higher than the previous £18,600 minimum, ministers appeared to have at least partly given way to the outpouring of fury over the £38,700 threshold, announced as part of a wider crackdown on legal migration earlier this month.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Home Office, said today that the increase will be phased in and the MIR will initially be increased to £29,000 in Spring 2024 rather than £38,700.

In response to a question tabled in the House of Lords, Lord Sharpe said today: “The MIR will be increased in incremental stages to give predictability. In Spring 2024, we will raise the threshold to £29,000, that is the 25th percentile of earnings for jobs which are eligible for Skilled Worker visas, moving to the 40th percentile (currently £34,500) and finally the 50th percentile (currently £38,700 and the level at which the general skilled worker threshold is set) in the final stage of implementation.”

More details are available in a Home Office policy paper on reducing legal migration published this afternoon, which states: “A decision was taken to increase the family Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) in line with the standard Skilled Worker general threshold. This would see the MIR increase to median earnings for jobs at the skill level of RQF3 [on the Regulated Qualifications Framework], currently £38,700. As part of a staged implementation, an initial increase to the 25th percentile of RQF3 jobs of £29,000 will be enacted initially and this initial implementation level is assessed in this paper.”

Under the £18,600 threshold, 75% of people could afford to have family members join them; if it was set at £38,700, just 40% would be able to afford it, and only 25% in the north-east of England.

With such visas forming a small proportion of overall legal migration, the original change was expected to contribute only about 10,000 to an overall planned reduction of 300,000 in annual migration numbers, while taking a heavy toll on families, many of whom said they would be forced to live apart.

Reunite Families, a campaign group for people affected by immigration rules, had instructed lawyers to explore ways to challenge the changes, which had been described by some as being “a punishment for falling in love”.Responding to the announcement, the group said: “It is incredibly upsetting and outright disrespectful that the government has released these details four days before Christmas, nearly three weeks since they were first announced.

“£29,000 is still very high for most families – it excludes over half of the population from sponsoring a foreign spouse and is much higher than the minimum wage so those on lower salaries are still being told their family is not welcome here.

“It’s baffling why the MIR [minimum income requirement] is now going to be raised incrementally – the process is already complicated enough without this too.”

The revised policy, announced in a written parliamentary answer by the Conservative peer and junior Home Office minister Andrew Sharpe, says the minimum income requirement “will be increased in incremental stages to give predictability”.

This would begin next spring, with the increase to £29,000, pegged as the 25th percentile of earnings for jobs eligible for skilled worker visas. This would subsequently rise to the 40th percentile, which would currently make it £34,500, and then the 50th percentile, now £38,700 – the new minimum threshold also for a skilled worker visa.

However, the answer gave no details about when the moves beyond £29,000 would happen. Asked when this would take place, Home Office officials pointed to a statement and factsheet, which also did not set this out.


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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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