By now, many of you are aware that the case I am referencing is the reason why 3,014-and-counting Family Visa Applications are on hold (partners, parents, children, spouses, adult dependents, etc…. are all effected). I’ve touched on this case briefly in previous posts, but since we’re still waiting to hear a verdict, I thought now would be as good a time as any to go into some more depth and explain the hows and whys of this case as someone who has been effected personally.
In 2012 new rules regarding immigration of non-EEA (European Economic Area) Family Visas were established (among others, but we’ll focus on just the Fiancé/FLR/SET visas for this post). One of these rules was the requirement that the sponsoring individual be earning £18,600 per year to sponsor one person to come to the UK, the rate increasing for each additional person they need to sponsor.
Ignoring the fact that the Family visa application route has, for its visas, “No recourse to government funds,” lawmakers and MPs claimed that the income requirement was necessary to ensure that any family wanting to settle in the UK was self-sufficient and not a drain on the UK tax pocket.
Basically, they invented a problem that didn’t exist (because migrants under the family visas wouldn’t be able to apply for government funds anyway, making it a moot point) while at the same time delivering a “solution” to said non-existent problem. Raging yet? Don’t worry, it get’s even better.
The income requirement was set at £18,600 for all of the UK, completely ignoring the fact that women, ethnic minorities, those who are retired, partially or fully disabled and those who are young (anyone under the age of 40, really) make less than your white, middle-aged, able bodied, male. Worse still, there are parts of the UK where the average income doesn’t even reach £18.6K. Translation: 47% of the working population in the UK does not earn enough to sponsor one person from outside of the EU.
But don’t despair, said the Home Office, if you don’t make enough in a year you can supplement your income with savings! …Yeah, forget it. They only count savings IF you have a minimum of £16,000 in your savings account for 6 Months, and even then that’s not enough because they apply a mathematical formula to calculate the offset you need to meet on top of that. In short: If you earned £17,600 per annum, you fall short of the threshold by £1000. Therefore the amount of savings you must show to meet the spouse financial requirement is: £1000 x 2.5 = £2500. Add this figure to £16000 and the grand total needed is £18500 in savings.
So now we’ve established that the ones that came up with these rules are completely divorced from reality (probably lost forever in the merry old land of Eaton, but w/e), it just gets better and better; why? Because my husband did meet the income requirements and we’re on hold anyway.
How’d that happen? Your guess is as good as ours – as I have stated several times over the past year in this blog – even our Solicitor is confused by this one.
Which brings us to the case in question. Now, the original ruling was made back in July of 2013 and while it didn’t strike down the income requirement outright, they did say the amount it was set at was “unjustified and disproportionate”, of course – as we all know – the Home Office appealed against this ruling and that takes us to where we are now.
Following the path of the court battle thus far, we have gone from the High Court to the Court of Appeals and, very likely, this will be dragged all the way up to the Supreme Courts before there is any real closure.
That means that, while we can expect to hear something within the next couple of months from the Court of Appeals in terms of their ruling, if they do not side with the Home Office, UKBA has already declared that they Will appeal again and keep escalating it until they can’t go any further.
So 3,014+ families are stuck in a legal limbo that I don’t even want to think about how long it will take before we see the end of it. What can we do about it? If you are in the UK, you can write to your MP or to members of the House of Lords; you can also send out FOI (Freedom Of Information) Act Requests since the Home Office is stubbornly refusing to disclose any more than they absolutely must. Of course, there are also support and advocacy groups and protests/marches that one can also attend and writing to your local news groups to help spread the less-reported darker side to the Immigration coin.
As of writing this, we received through the post the answer from the Data Protection Unit of the Home Office regarding our Subject Action Request. I haven’t taken any photos of it yet, or even opened it – I’m just staring at this thick envelope right now, wondering just what they have to say for themselves. It kind of worries me, looking at it; not for any particular reason, but simply because anything from UKBA invokes feelings of irrational terror: I am, in short, HomeOfficePHOBIC.
Tonight, we’re going to turn the lights down low, maybe light a couple of candles and my husband and I are going to sit down and cling to each other as we read what they have to say. Afterwards, for good or ill, I will be forwarding the information on to our Solicitor.