Navigating the New £29,000/£38,700 UK Partner & Family Visa Financial Requirement
This post explores the recent immigration announcement to change the minimum income requirement for the partner/family visa routes from Spring 2024 and the alternatives available if you are not able to meet the new financial requirement of £29,000/£38,700.
Why Is the UK Partner and Family Visa Financial Requirement Increasing?
Over recent years, Ministers have argued that immigration has become too high. Thus, on 4 December, the Prime Minister and Home Secretary announced a series of immigration changes to reduce legal immigration numbers to the UK by around 300,000. One measure included an increase in the minimum income requirement for the five-year spouse and partner visas under Appendix FM from £18,600 to £38,700. The Government’s intention is to ensure people only bring dependants to the UK that they can support financially.
What Is the UK Partner and Family Visa Financial Requirement Increasing to and When Will It Increase?
The government has announced that the minimum income requirement for family visas will increase in incremental stages to give predictability to families:
- The spouse/partner visa minimum income requirement will initially increase to £29,000 in “spring 2024”.
- The spouse/partner visa minimum income requirement will then increase to around £34,500 at an unspecified time (likely later in 2024).
- Finally, the spouse/partner visa minimum increase requirement will increase to around £38,700 “in early 2025”.
The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated on 22 December 2023 “We’re doing exactly as we said we would. We’re just doing it in two stages. So it will go up in a few months time and then it will go up again the full amount in early 2025.”
Will the Family Visa Minimum Income Requirement Definitely Be Increasing?
Presently, the minimum income requirement will be increasing in Spring 2024 and will be confirmed in the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules. It is likely there will be legal challenges to the financial requirement increase and further information can be read in our previous post, here.
Who Will Be Affected by the Spouse and Partner Visa Financial Requirement Increase?
Those applying after Spring 2024 for entry clearance as a spouse, civil partner, fiance, proposed civil partner, and as a child joining a parent, will be affected by the minimum income requirement increase. Further, those within the UK applying to switch to the above mentioned routes will be affected by the financial requirement increase from Spring 2024.
When Will the New Financial Requirement Increase Come Into Force?
Those who already have a family visa within the partner route, or who apply before the minimum income requirement is raised, will continue to have their applications assessed against the current income requirement and will not be required to meet the increased threshold. This will also be the case for children seeking to join or accompany parents.
Anyone granted a fiance visa before the minimum income requirement is raised will also be assessed against the current income requirement when they apply for a family visa within the partner route.
Those already in the UK on a different route who apply to switch into the partner route, after the minimum income requirement has been increased, will be subject to the new income requirement. Thus, those considering switching to the partner route are best to apply before Spring 2024 in order to avoid the minimum income requirement increase.
To conclude, those applying for a partner/family visa before Spring 2024 will be assessed against the current Immigration Rules and the financial requirement of a minimum income of £18,600. Those already in the UK on the partner/family visa route will continue to be assessed against the old Immigration Rules and financial requirement of a minimum income of £18,600 until settlement. Those applying for entry clearance or as a partner/child/parent or those switching to those routes after Spring 2024 will be assessed against the new income requirement of £29,000.
How Can I Meet the Family Visa Financial Requirement of £29,000?
There are a number of ways to satisfy the financial requirement for family and partner visas. Some examples of the type of income that can be relied upon are:
- Salaried employment
- Non-salaried employment (i.e. varying working hours/hourly pay)
- As a Company Director
- Non-employment income (i.e. dividends, shares, or property rental)
- Cash savings (i.e. above £16,000)
You may also combine a number of sources of income to meet the new financial requirement of £29,000/£38,700. To read more, please read our previous post, here.
What if I Cannot Meet the New Financial Requirement?
Insurmountable Obstacles, Exceptional Circumstances, and Unjustifiably Harsh Consequences
If you do not meet the new financial requirement for a UK partner or family visa, you may be able to settle in the UK on the ten-year partner/family visa route instead, if it is found that:
- The exception and insurmountable obstacles applies, or
- There are exceptional circumstances or unjustifiably harsh consequences.
There is a very high threshold for insurmountable obstacles, and exceptional circumstances or unjustifiably harsh consequences to successfully apply. Further, these must be evidenced well by the applicant to be successful. Hence, we recommend that anyone considering an application on either of these bases seeks legal advice.
Exceptional Circumstances – Alternative Sources of Income
- Third Party Support
If it is found that exceptional circumstances do apply, you may be able to rely on third party support. Third party support is a credible guarantee of financial support from another person, such as a family member, to contribute to funding.
- Prospective Earnings from Employment
You may also rely on credible prospective earnings from the sustainable employment or self-employment of yourself or your partner.
- Any other credible and reliable source of income or funds
Moreover, you may rely on any other credible and reliable source of income or funds for yourself or your partner. This source of income or funding must be available to you at the date of application or must become available to you during the period of limited leave applied for.
Receipt of Certain Benefits / Adequate Maintenance
Additionally, you may be able to meet the financial requirement where your partner is in receipt of certain benefits or allowances in the UK by providing evidence of “adequate maintenance”. These benefits and allowances include:
- Carer’s Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme
- Police Injury Pension
You and your partner must provide evidence that you are able to maintain and accommodate yourselves and any dependants adequately in the UK, without recourse to public funds. More information on adequate maintenance can be read in our previous blog, here.
Are There Any Other Immigration Rules Changes to Family Visas?
The Home Office has announced in a government factsheet:
“There will no longer be a separate child element to the minimum income requirement, to ensure that British nationals are not treated less favourably than migrants who are required to meet the General Skilled Worker threshold as a flat rate, regardless of any children being sponsored.”
Contact our Immigration Barristers
In this post we have explored a key change to the minimum income requirement for family and partner visas and the alternatives available if you do not meet the new financial requirement of £29,000/£38,700.