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The new minimum income requirement for partner visas, transitional provisions and Home Office guidance

Video created by
Adam Pipe
Date of Publication:

In this immigration law update video, Adam Pipe examines the new financial (minimum income) requirement for partner visas and the transitional provisions. Adam goes through the Home Office's April 2024 (Version 10.0) guidance on Appendix FM and Appendix HM Armed Forces: minimum income requirement

Auto-generated using YouTube's transcript and OpenAI (accuracy cannot be guaranteed)

Hi and welcome to this latest immigration law update video. In this video, I wanted to look more at the financial requirement—the minimum income requirement under Appendix FM in relation to family applications. We’ve seen the minimum income requirement go up to £29,000 on the 11th of April. In this video, I’m going to go through the Home Office guidance, which was updated on the 11th of April. It’s version 10, and we’re going to go through some key aspects in relation to the financial requirement. I will put the link to this guidance in the description of the video so you can extract from it, and then you may want to cite that when you’re making your applications and put that in your representations.

We’ll also see within this guidance the Home Office have created some helpful images. If you’re a solicitor or a legal rep watching this, you may want to take those images and post them on your firm’s social media or your website so your clients are aware of the provisions in respect of the financial requirement and what financial requirement applies to them. You will see this guidance is to be used for all applications decided on or after the 11th of April. In terms of the changes, the first bullet point is to reflect the increase to the minimum income requirement that was laid before Parliament in the statement of changes to the Immigration Rules HC 590 on the 15th of March, which comes into force on the 11th of April 2024.

There’s a long narrative introduction I can scroll through until we get to the recent changes. Here we are: on the 11th of April 2024, the minimum income threshold increased for new applicants under Appendix FM from the original £18,600 to £29,000. Now, the plan of the government is to bring the increase to the MIR in three incremental stages, ultimately reaching £38,700, which is in line with the minimum general salary threshold for skilled workers. The plan is to do that by early 2025, so the initial increase is to £29,000, and there is a planned subsequent increase to £34,500.

I’m recording this on the 5th of June 2024, so we’re less than a month out from the general election. I wonder if we see a change in government whether we’ll actually see the second and third increments in the increase to the minimum income requirement. I don’t know, but I wonder if we will see those. I don’t think there’ll be any rowing back from the £29,000. I think we’re stuck with that.

This is important: transitional arrangements have been introduced for all those already within the routes. Those who apply before the 11th of April 2024 will have their applications assessed against the threshold in place before that date. Look at this: there is a policy in place in relation to this unless that will disadvantage them in comparison to new entrants to the routes when the new minimum income requirement must instead be met. I’ll clarify what’s meant by that as we go through the policy. Applications made after the 11th of April will no longer have the separate child component to the minimum income requirement; the minimum income threshold is fixed regardless of the number of children within the family. There are transitional arrangements in place for those with children who are applying for further leave to remain to avoid the transitional arrangements  being disadvantageous in comparison to the new flat rate. So, new entrants are going to be under a flat rate, and there are transitional arrangements for those on the old financial requirement, which will be capped at £29,000 regardless of how many children you have.

I’m not in this video going to look through the financial requirement for the Armed Forces, but you’ll see there’s a rise from £18,600 to £23,046. If you’re handling an HM Armed Forces case, do have a look at the specific provisions within the immigration rules and this guidance.

Who needs to meet the financial requirement? Those applying for family life as a parent, a partner, or as a child of a person with limited leave as a partner. Notice, and I think it’s worth emphasizing this, that where the sponsor is in receipt of one or more of the following benefits (listed on my screen), they have to meet the adequacy of maintenance test—that is, the benefit level as opposed to the new higher threshold. So, before we rush in and think about the new financial requirement, take a step back and see if your clients would qualify to meet the adequacy test because of certain benefits they receive. That’s important.

Let’s look at calculating the minimum income requirement. The summary bullet points are helpful: those who apply on or after the 11th of April who are new to the route have to meet the £29,000 threshold. Those who apply on or after the 11th of April who are already within the five-year partner, fiancé, or proposed civil partner routes and are applying for permission to stay with the same partner for which they were last granted permission benefit from the transitional arrangements. They must meet the lower threshold of £18,600 plus the child component, capped at £29,000.

The third bullet point might confuse people, so let me explain. Those who apply before the 11th of April 2024 must meet the previous threshold of £18,600 plus the child component, with no cap for this threshold. For the legal advisors watching this video, you’ll know who this is in relation to—those applications you quickly made before the 11th of April to avoid the increase are assessed under the old rules with no cap in respect of the child element for them. However, once granted and when they come to extend, the transitional provisions and bullet point two will apply to them, and they will be capped at £18,600 plus any child component, capped at the maximum of £29,000.

The final bullet point: a child applying under Appendix FM must meet the same threshold as the parent they are applying to accompany or join, regardless of the date of the child’s application.

Here is one of the tables I referred to. If you follow me on social media, you’ll see I’ve posted these tables. I’ve created photos of them and posted them on my LinkedIn and Telegram channel. If you’re a representative or a lawyer, you might want to post these for your clients so they can look at the table and see which financial requirement applies to them. Remember, if you’re applying to extend, it needs to be with the same partner. If you change partners, you can’t rely on the transitional provisions.

There’s a section within the guidance about those applying for leave to remain with a new partner who cannot rely on the transitional. You would then end up on the £29,000 threshold. Here are the transitional financial requirements summarized in four bullet points. To benefit from the transitional financial requirements, you’ve got to have permission on the five-year route, and it does cover fiancé cases. You must have made your first application before the 11th of April 2024, it must have been granted, and you must now be applying for permission to stay with the same partner. If you’re on the ten-year route and now trying to switch into the five-year route, you won’t be able to benefit from the transitional provision.

Table two sets out the threshold in relation to those on the transitional requirement and the children. You’ll see that once you’ve got four children, it’s then capped at £29,000. Remember, the old provision is the first child £3,800 and subsequent children £2,400, but capped at £29,000. Certain children do not attract the additional child component, which is listed in the guidance.

In terms of children applying at any date, a child applying under Appendix FM must meet the same financial requirement as the parent they are applying to accompany or join, regardless of the date of the child’s application. Where the parent is exempt from meeting the minimum income requirement, the child is also exempt. For new applications after the 11th of April, the £29,000 threshold applies. If the parent benefits from the transitional arrangements, the child will also benefit and must be assessed against the lower threshold of £18,600 plus the capped child component.

For applications submitted before the 11th of April 2024, there is no cap, but if you would only be refused because you’re unable to meet the threshold financially and have four or more children and would meet £29,000, the case should be referred to the family policy.

Table three sets out the different numbers of children. Four or five is over £29,000, so there was no cap for those who applied before the 11th of April, but there is now a policy in place for those with more children, ensuring they only need to meet £29,000. The guidance lists which children do not apply in relation to that.

The guidance includes operating principles in meeting the financial requirement. I won’t go through those in detail. Two quick things to finish off with: savings. The formula to calculate the amount of savings required remains the same: savings above £16,000, times the shortfall by 2.5 to represent the two and a half years of the visa. If you don’t earn anything, it would be two and a half times £29,000 plus £16,000, equaling £88,500. The Home Office’s examples can be confusing, but the simple formula is 16,000 plus 2.5 times the shortfall. They have their own tables, but I suggest using the straightforward formula I’ve explained in webinars.

Finally, don’t forget you may now need to rely on exceptional circumstances where the decision would breach Article 8 and have unjustifiably harsh consequences. With the five-year partner route applications, we haven’t often had to rely on this because most people have met the financial requirement of £18,600. However, more people now may not meet the higher financial threshold. Make detailed representations in terms of Article 8, using GEN 3.1 and 3.2 for alternative sources of financial support, and GEN 3.3 for the welfare of children.

So, that’s the guidance on exceptional circumstances. I hope this is helpful to you. Go through this guidance and use it as you make your representations. Share the tables provided by the Home Office in the guidance. I hope this helps you in your applications regarding Appendix FM and the new financial requirement.