Following a High Court decision on 5 July 2013, which we reported here, the Home Office is still holding decisions on applications that would have previously fallen for refusal due to the income requirements.
In his lengthy judgment, Mr Justice Blake suggested that it was inappropriate for the Home Office to have:
- set the minimum yearly income level for sponsors at above £13,400, and
- required savings to be at a level of at least £16,000 before they could be taken into account in order to rectify an income shortfall.
He also criticised other requirements of the Rules, including the complete disregard of third party undertakings and the earnings of foreign spouses.
In practice the judgment means that it is more likely that well prepared applications that do not satisfy the strict requirements are more likely to succeed under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This largely explains the Home Office’s decision to take time to carefully consider its practical response to the judgment and those cases that are currently in the system.
The current situation is causing uncertainty for many who have filed applications that are on hold, or who need to file an application that does not meet the criteria or have an appeal pending.
We are monitoring developments closely and liaising with Home Office officials. In the meantime if you need to make an application that does not meet the requirements before the Home Office provides further information, or have an appeal pending, we strongly recommend that applicants try and meet Mr Justice Blake’s recommendations.
If you need help with any of these legal issues please contact us.