Article by Ramzan Sharif Solicitor at Fountain Solicitors
Today the Supreme Court unanimously handed down its judgment on the legality of the minimum income requirement (MIR) of £18,600 for marriage visas.
The Court found the challenge to the existence of a MIR in principle and the argument that there is no rational connection between the Secretary of State’s legitimate aim and the MIR, must fail. The Court states that the Secretary of State is pursuing a legitimate aim and the MIR is part of an overall strategy aimed at reducing net migration. The Court rejects the view that there is no rational connection between the aim and the particular income threshold chosen.
The Court did accept the argument that the MIR and the instructions fail unlawfully to give effect to the duty of the Secretary of State under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009.
The Court also found the current instructions to the MIR are inadequate and has invited the Secretary of State to put forward amendments to the current instructions to the MIR in accordance with the law as set out by the Court in their decision.
In terms of alternative funding, namely prospective earnings of the foreign partner or guarantees of third party support, the Court finds that it is open to the Secretary of State to indicate criteria by which reliability of such sources may be judged, but not to exclude them altogether .
The Secretary of State has been invited to revise the rules themselves rather than the instructions to entry clearance officers, to indicate the circumstances in which alternative sources of funding should or might be taken into account.
There is now some light at the end of the tunnel for those families that have been separated by allowing alternative sources of income and even more so if there are children involved.
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