The UK Home Office has revised plans announced earlier this month for raising the minimum income requirement for Spouse, Partner, and Family Visas.
At the start of December, the Home Office announced a significant increase from the current £18,600 income threshold to £38,700. This was to take effect in Spring 2024.
However, the announcement was met with strong opposition due to concerns of family separation and financial hardship, as well as reducing the appeal of the UK for migrant workers who would not be able to joined by their family under the new salary level.
Following heavy criticism, the Home Office has now released details of a revised plan for the salary requirement for family visas, which will be implemented in phases:
- Spring 2024: The threshold will be raised to £29,000.
- Potentially later in 2024: A further increase to around £34,500.
- “Early 2025”: A third increase to around £38,700.
From the statement, the following has been confirmed, although according to the Home Office, “full details of transitional provisions will be set out next year”.
Will the new salary threshold apply to existing visa holders?
The initial 5-point plan announced early in December was clarified as applying to all new applications from Spring 2024, including extensions.
However, in this latest announcement, the Home Office has stated that the revised salary level would apply to first-time applicants only, and not to those applying to extend their leave as a family member or to family visa holders applying for UK ILR, or settlement: “Those who already have a family visa within the five-year partner route, or who apply before the minimum income threshold is raised, will continue to have their applications assessed against the current income requirement [£18,600] and will not be required to meet the increased threshold”.
Will all new family visa applications be evaluated against the revised threshold?
The new minimum income requirement of £29,000 will be applicable if you are applying after the level has been increased in Spring 2024 for a family visa on the five-year partner route and do not currently have one.
You will also be subject to the higher threshold if you are applying to switch into a five-year family visa after the new level has taken effect.
However, if you apply for a family visa through the five-year route before the minimum income threshold is raised from £18,600, your application will be evaluated against the current income requirement and you won’t be required meet the increased threshold of £29,000. This will also apply to any dependent children.
If you obtain a fianc(é)e visa before the minimum income threshold is raised from £18,600 to £29,000, and subsequently apply for a family visa through the five-year partner route, your application will also be evaluated against the lower income requirement of £18,600.
Exceptions to the financial requirements under Appendix FM will still be available for certain applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK after Spring 2024. Take advice on your circumstances.
If you are concerned about the proposed changes and what they mean for your visa or visa application, contact us.
Last updated: 22 December 2023