Changes to Family Immigration Rules
In July 2017, the UK Government issued a Statement of Changes in relation to the Financial Requirements surrounding the applications to settle in the UK with a family. We have highlighted below the changes which came into effect from 10 August 2017.
The main purpose of these changes is to give effect to the Supreme Court judgment in ‘MM (Lebanon) & Others v the Secretary for the Home Department  UKSC 10’.
Since the Supreme Court judgment in ‘MM (Lebanon) & Others’ was handed down on 22 February 2017, the Secretary of State placed a temporary hold on decision-making in respect of applications falling for refusal under the Immigration Rules, in Appendix FM, with which the judgment was concerned.
These were applications which failed to meet the minimum income requirement of £18,600 for entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner or child under Appendix FM or which otherwise fall for refusal under Appendix FM and involve a child under the age of 18 years.
As of 30 June 2017, there were around 5,000 such applications on hold. The Secretary of State considers that the changes set out in the statement of changes released on 20 July 2017, should enable her to decide those and future applications consistently with the findings of the Supreme Court judgment.
Appendix FM-SE will include a new paragraph, 21A, which will set out the that the decision maker should consider whether the income requirement is met if other sources of income, financial support or funds are taken into account. Does that mean that the Home Office should consider approving an entry clearance or leave to remain (which does not meet the relevant Immigration Rules) if refusing the application, would be in breach of Article 8 of ECHR?
The specified circumstances are as follows:
– the minimum income requirement is not otherwise met;
– it is evident from the information provided by the applicant that there are exceptional circumstances which could render refusal of the application a breach of Article 8;
– it could result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant, their partner or a child under the age of 18 years who it is evident would be affected by a decision to refuse the application.
The other sources of funds which the decision maker should consider should be from reliable sources and include:
– a credible guarantee of sustainable financial support from a third party;
– credible prospective earnings from the sustainable employment or self-employment of the applicant or their partner; or
– any credible and reliable source of income or funds available to the couple.
The above changes will be applied to applications made on or after 10 August 2017.
For further information, please contact our team of UK Immigration Lawyers on +44(0)20 3318 5794 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Amisha Jethwa