The Supreme Court has ruled that Government financial measures which impose an income threshold on British citizens and others settled here who want foreign spouses or partners to join them in the UK do not breach human rights legislation.
Seven justices at the UK’s highest court announced their decision on Wednesday in a number of linked challenges brought against a mandatory “minimum income” immigration requirement.
The cases centre on a measure that the UK based partner must have a minimum gross annual income of £18,600 before spouses or partners from non-EEA (European Economic Area) states can apply to join them.
Appeal judges said the requirement was lawful and did not breach human rights legislation.
The Home Secretary had struck ”a fair balance” after analysing the effect of the immigration of non-EEA partners and dependant children on the benefits system and ”the link between better income and greater chances of integration”.
The Home Office has said that the aim of the minimum income threshold was to “ensure that family migrants do not become reliant on the taxpayer for financial support and are able to integrate effectively”. A Home Office spokesman said: “The court has endorsed our approach in setting an income threshold for family migration that prevents burdens on the taxpayer and ensures migrant families can integrate into our communities. This is central to building an immigration system that works in the national interest… we are carefully considering what the court has said in relation to exceptional cases where the income threshold has not been met, particularly where the case involves a child.”
Lisa Giovannetti QC was instructed on behalf of the Home Secretary by the Government Legal Department.