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The new financial requirement for spouses, partners and fiancé(e)s

From 9th July 2012, anyone applying for the first time as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner will have to show a higher amount of income and/or savings than previously.

If you have already been granted entry clearance or leave to remain in one of these categories, or if you made your application before 9th July, you will not have to meet the new requirements. Your case will continue to be considered under the old Immigration Rules.

The requirement

The new requirement is that to be granted leave in one of these categories you must show a gross annual income of at least £18,600. If you are also bringing children who are not already British or European and do not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you will have to show an additional gross of income of £3,800 for the first child, and of £2,400 for each additional child.

For example, if you are applying as a spouse and bringing one child with you, you will have to show a gross annual income of £22,400. If you are bringing two children, you will have to show £24,800, if you are bringing three children you will have to show £27,200, and so on.

If you are not already in the UK working legally then you cannot rely on your own income or predicted income from employment or self-employment.

The sources of income that you can rely on

You can meet the £18,600 threshold in one of the following ways:

• Your partner's gross annual income from employment and/or self-employment (see below);

• Your gross annual income from employment and/or self-employment (if you are already in the UK working legally; see below);

• Savings held by you and/or your partner (you must have at least £16,000 if you want to rely on savings; see below);

• Gross annual income from pensions (you and/or your partner),

• Income from property rental (you and/or your partner);

• Income from investments, dividends, stocks, shares, bonds, and/or trust funds (you and/or your partner);

• Maintenance payments from a former partner in relation to children that you or your partner care for.

You cannot rely on loans, credit facilities, benefits or offers of support from family and/or friends.

Length of your employment

If you or your partner have/has been working for the same employer for 6 months or more, the UK Border Agency will consider the gross annual salary at its lowest point in the last 6 months. You can then make up any shortfall from the other sources listed above.

If you or your partner have/has been working for the employer for less than 6 months, the UK Border Agency will consider your current gross annual salary at the date of your application. You can then make up any shortfall from the other sources listed above. You must also show that you met the £18,600 threshold over the last year before the application.

Your savings

If you and your partner have a gross annual income of at least £18,600 (or the appropriate higher level for any children to be included) from the sources listed above then it doesn't matter how much you have in savings.

If you don't have a gross income of £18,600, then you will need to rely on savings. To work out how much money you need in savings, do the following calculation:

(a) Work out your gross annual income from the sources listed above;

(b) Take your gross annual income away from £18,600; that is, do the sum 18,600 minus your gross annual income;

(c) The answer to the sum in (b) is called the 'shortfall';

(d) Multiply the shortfall by 2.5;

(e) Add 16,000 to the answer;

(f) The result is the amount of money that you and your partner must have between you in savings.

For example:

(a) Your gross annual income is £17,000;

(b) 18,600 – 17,000 = 1,600;

(c) The shortfall is therefore 1,600;

(d) 1,600 x 2.5 = 4,000;

(e) 16,000 + 4,000 = 20,000;

(f) You and your partner therefore need to have at least £20,000 in savings between you.

The savings must have been in your account for at least 6 months before the application.

What if you don't meet the financial requirement?

The new financial requirement is complicated and there will be many people who do not have enough income and/or savings.

If you do not meet the requirement then if you are already in the UK, you may be able to make an application based on your family life with your partner. If you are successful, you will still be granted 2 and a half years' leave to remain, but you will have to wait for 10 years before you can get indefinite leave to remain;

Richmond Canter Immigration Barristers can assist you in relation to your spouse or partner application. We can advise you whether you meet the maintenance requirement and, if you do not, what options you might have. Please contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our barristers.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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