The High Court has issued a judgment today (5th July 2013) in the case of MM & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1900 (Admin) in which Mr Justice Blake has examined the controversial £18,600 minimum income requirement contained in Appendix FM.
Although he did not strike down the rules, Blake J stated that setting the figure so much higher than the minimum adult wage “effectively denies young people and many thousands of low-wage earners in full time employment the ability to be joined by their non-EEA spouses from abroad unless they happen to have wealthy relatives or to have won the lottery”. The judgement also states that the “executive can hardly be heard to say that the minimum adult wage is a manifestly inadequate sum to provide a basic standard of living over the subsistence threshold for a household without dependent children”.
Blake J also commented on the fact that around half the British population may have to leave their own country in order to comply with the requirement. He also made it clear that it is the Home Office, rather than the Migration Advisory Committee, that is responsible for the flawed policy. The full case judgment can be found here.
Although the full ramifications are yet to be considered, the High Court’s judgment could assist many families who have been separated by this provision or forced to disrupt their day to day lives for long periods of time.
The importance of the decision is signaled by the fact that the Home Office has “paused decision-making on some spouse/partner and child settlement visa and leave to remain applications to enable us to consider the implications of the judgement”.
However, it is also highly likely that the Home Office will appeal to the Court of Appeal and that could mean that many cases are seriously delayed until the outcome of the appeal process.
If you require legal advice on your situation and the potential impacts of this judgment please contact us.