Specifics of the policy are being established and more details will be announced in due course
In an extended blog post published on Friday about last week's five-point plan to reduce net migration, the Home Office confirmed that it has not yet been decided how the very large increase in the minimum income requirement for a spouse or family visas will apply to renewals.
Image credit: UK GovernmentThe Home Office announced last week that the minimum income requirement for a spouse or family visa will be raised from £18,600 to £38,700 in the spring of 2024. It was unclear if this would also apply to people in the UK renewing a visa.
On Friday, the Home Office added:
"• These new policies won't be applied retrospectively and until the Immigration Rules are amended the minimum income threshold will remain the same.
• We are establishing the specifics of the policy, including how it will apply to those renewing visas, and will confirm more details in due course."
In response to concerns that the increase will be unaffordable for many and will lead to families being split up, the Home Office post stated: "The family Immigration Rules contain a provision for exceptional circumstances where there would be unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant, their partner, a relevant child, or another family member if their application were to be refused."
The full Home Office blog post is here. [Update: The blog post was subsequently updated by the Home Office after the new information published on 21 December. The blog post as originally published on 9 December is available here on the Internet Archive]
The Independent had earlier reported last week that a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said that while the minimum income rules for family visas will not apply retrospectively, they will apply when existing visas for foreign spouses come up for renewal. The Independent then reported on Friday that a Downing Street spokesperson had rowed back on the statement and said work was currently ongoing looking at how it will apply to those renewing their visas.
On Saturday, BBC News noted: "There is uncertainty over whether the new income rules will apply to people who already have a foreign family member in the UK, when their existing visa comes up for renewal."
For more useful information about the minimum income requirement and how it can be met, see this recent blog post on EIN by immigration lawyer Kitty Falls.
It is also not currently known how the new £38,700 minimum salary for foreign skilled workers will apply to visa renewals from Spring 2024.
Tom Pursglove, the newly appointed Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery, said today in answer to a Parliamentary question: "The Government will set out transitional arrangements, in due course, for people issued Skilled Worker visas before the salary changes announced on 4 December 2023 come into force."