Tuesday, February 23, 2016

UK immigration rules on income - partial victory in sight?

·         The Home Office insists that requiring British citizens to earn above an income threshold if they want to live in the UK with their foreign spouse fair and proportionate as it struggles to reduce net migration.

·         Today, a case enters its likely last day in the Supreme Court challenging the government.

·         Opponents say the income rule is arbitrary and excludes couples able to provide for themselves without state support.

·         They are right – the real purpose behind the rules is to exclude migrants and reduce numbers.

·         The big question is whether this legitimate policy aim of reducing numbers is fair and proportionate in light of the income threshold set.

·         I predict a partial victory upholding the Government’s ability to set such targets to help reduce net migration, but changed to account for more circumstances. The result will be a somewhat less restrictive policy.

·         While this is independent of the EU Referendum debate, the Court’s verdict won’t be known for six months – which is welcome because the verdict should not impact on this debate.

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