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Supreme Court rules that minimum income requirement does not breach Article 8

R (on the application of MM (Lebanon)) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) R (on the application of Abdul Majid (Pakistan)) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) R (on the application of Master AF) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) R (on the application of Shabana Javed (Pakistan)) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) SS (Congo) (Appellant) v Entry Clearance Officer, Nairobi (Respondent) [2017] UKSC 10

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that it was not unlawful to have a minimum income requirement of £18,600, to allow a non-EEA spouse to join their spouse or civil partner in the UK.  In July 2012, the Immigration Rules were amended to establish new entry requirements for non-EEA applicants to join spouses or civil partners in the UK.  The threshold increased where there was one or more non-EEA born child in the family.

A number of appeals were brought in which the appellants claimed that the Rules were incompatible with Article 8 of the ECHR, and unlawful under common law principles.  One of the appellants was a child and it was argued that the Rules failed to take account of the Secretary of State’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children when making decisions which affect them.

The claims to strike down the Rules partly succeeded in the High Court but the Court of Appeal reversed the decision.  One appellant appealed successfully against the refusal to grant her entry to the UK and the Court found that she and her husband could not live together in her country of origin.  He could not meet the minimum income requirement and the refusal was found to breach Article 8. 

The other four appeals were allowed to a limited extent.  The minimum income requirement was acceptable in principle and was held to be ‘legitimate to ensure…that the couple do not have recourse to welfare benefits and have sufficient resources to be able to play a full part of British life.’  However, there was an unlawful failure to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and the rules required amendment to allow consideration of alternate sources of funding.

Read Supreme Court press summary here.

Tags
ECHR Art. 8, Family Law