Significant Increases to Minimum Income Requirement for UK Spouse/Partner Visas
The UK government intends to increase the minimum annual income requirement starting in April 2024. They will raise it to £29,000 gross per year from April 2024. The next increase will be to £34,500 and then finally to £38,700 gross. The exact dates of this are yet to be confirmed.
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said that the UK government will increase the minimum income requirement to the full amount of £38,700 in “early 2025”.
What is the Minimum Income Requirement for UK Partner Visas?
Unless you are exempt (please see below), you will need to meet the financial requirement in the form of a minimum income requirement.
Currently, the minimum income requirement for a UK partner, applying without dependent children, is £18,600 gross per year. However, if you would like to include a child in your application, you’ll need to add an additional gross income of £3,800 for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.
Therefore, the level of the financial requirement will be:
- partner with no children or no children who are subject to the income requirement: £18,600
- 1 child in addition to the partner: £22,400
- 2 children in addition to the partner: £24,800
- 3 children in addition to the partner: £27,200
Children Exempt from Meeting the Financial Requirement
The financial requirement does not apply to a child who is:
- a British Citizen
- an Irish Citizen
- a European Economic Area (EEA) national resident in the UK under the old EEA rules if their rights remained in force until the end of the grace period on 30 June 2021
- residing in the UK with the confirmed rights under the EU Settlement Scheme
- an ILR holder (or qualifies under Part 8 or Appendix Armed Forces of the Immigration Rules)
Sources for Meeting the Financial Requirement
If you intend to meet the financial requirement by way of showing your earnings at the required Minimum Income Requirement level, you’ll also need to prove that it is from one of the five acceptable sources:
- income from salaried or non-salaried employment of the partner. The Home Office divides this source into Category A (in employment for over 6 months) and Category B (in employment for less than 6 months)
- non-employment income, for example, income from property rental or dividends from shares: Category C
- your or/and your partner’s cash savings above £16,000 (Category D)
- your or/and your partner’s state (UK or foreign), occupational or private pension (Category E)
- income from self-employment, and income as a director or employee of a specified limited company in the UK: Category F (when relying on income for 1 financial year) or Category G (when relying on income for 2 financial years).
Who is Exempt from Meeting the Minimum Income Requirement?
You can claim an exemption from meeting the Minimum Income Requirement if you are in receipt of one of the following:
(i) disability living allowance;
(ii) severe disablement allowance;
(iii) industrial injury disablement benefit;
(iv) attendance allowance;
(v) carer’s allowance;
(vi) personal independence payment;
(vii) Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme;
(viii) Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme; or
(ix) Police Injury Pension; and
However, even if you are exempt, you will still need to prove that you and your partner will be able to maintain and accommodate yourselves and any dependants adequately in the UK without recourse to public funds.
‘Adequate’ and ‘adequately’ in relation to a maintenance and accommodation requirement means that, after income tax, National Insurance contributions and housing costs have been deducted, the family has the same level of income that would be available to them if they were in receipt of Income Support.
What if You Do Not Meet the Minimum Income Requirement for Your Spouse/Partner Visa Application?
If you do not earn at the required Minimum Income Requirement level and are unable to meet the financial requirement in any other way, you will have to apply under the ’10-year’ route to settlement (as opposed to the 5-years for those partners who meet the requirement). This means that you will become eligible to apply for ILR only after living in the UK for at least 10 years. This is provided you meet all other requirements for your spouse visa application.
Why are there Significant Increases to the Minimum Income Requirement for UK Spouse/Partner Visas?
According to the ‘Net Migration Measures’ factsheet the increase will help bring the Minimum Income Requirement in line with the new minimum general salary threshold for Skilled Workers (£38,700 gross per year). This is to ensure people only bring dependants to the UK they can support financially and will apply to all British and settled sponsors under the five-year partner route.
If You Already Have a 5-Year UK Partner Visa
The UK Government confirmed that if you already have a 5-year UK partner visa and if you apply before the minimum income threshold is raised, you will continue to have your applications assessed against the current income requirement. In other words, your application will be assessed under the old rules. This will also be the case for children seeking to join or accompany parents.
They further clarified that the application would be assessed under the old rules if your fianc(é)e visa was granted before the minimum income threshold was raised.
However, if you are already in the UK on a different route and intend to switch to the 5-year UK partner route after the minimum income requirement has been increased, the UKVI will assess your application under the new income requirement.