Ian Murray MP Working Hard for Edinburgh South
This month many people have contacted me on the minimum income required to secure a visa for a spouse/partner.
The UK’s Immigration Rules were changed in 2012, meaning that non-EEA nationals who apply to join a British or settled spouse/partner in the UK must satisfy a minimum income requirement to secure a visa. A minimum income of at least £18,600 per year must be demonstrated, with additional amounts needed above this if visas are also sought for dependent children.
The Government’s plans for a post-Brexit future immigration system also currently propose to extend these requirements to all individuals, including EU citizens, who are settled in the UK and want to bring family members to live with them in the UK.
In my view the minimum income requirement is unfair. Around 40-45% of UK residents earn less than £18,600 and therefore I believe this is discriminatory to working-class people on lower incomes. The right to a family life is a right and it is concerning if those who are lower paid cannot access it.
I do not believe that there should be an arbitrary minimum income requirement for those seeking to come to the UK to be reunited with their family members who are entitled to be here. I would like to see this requirement replaced or removed.
It has been estimated that there are 15,000 children growing up in ‘Skype families’, who rely on Skype to keep in contact with a stranded parent overseas. I am concerned the minimum income requirement has a negative impact on families, on social cohesion and on the economy. It is clear to me that this rule must be changed.
I will continue to press the Government to abolish the minimum income requirement, so that people with the right to be in the UK also have the right to bring their families here without minimum income restrictions.