08 July 2013

High Court judges UK immigration rules lawful but 'unjustified'

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New UK immigration laws have been ruled 'onerous and unjustified', but not unlawful, by the High Court.

UK visa

Mr Justice Blake said UK immigration requirements were lawful but 'unjustified'.

The coalition Government introduced new UK immigration laws last year which required UK visa applicants from outside the European Union to meet salary threshold requirements before they become eligible.

The Home Office claimed this was to reduce the financial burden on social services and help to bring UK immigration rates down in line with the Government's efforts to reach six figures by the next election.

However, critics of the change argued the threshold was too high and led to three claimants challenging the laws in the High Court.

The judge refused to 'strike down' the law but agreed that it was 'unjustified' and urged Home Secretary Theresa May to consider loosening restrictions.

Mr Justice Blake said the salary threshold - currently £18,600 - became disproportionately high when combined with other requirements introduced last year, such as the need for visa applicants to be capable of supplementing their income with savings.

He said the salary threshold should either be used 'in isolation' or lowered to around £13,000 to avoid the law being 'so onerous in effect as to an unjustified and disproportionate interference with a genuine spousal relationship'.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has supported the judge's ruling, claiming it vindicates their criticism but the Home Office disagrees and has been given approval to appeal the ruling.

"Our family changes were brought in to make sure that spouses coming to live in the UK would become reliant on the taxpayer for financial support and would be able to integrate effectively," said a Home Office spokesperson.

"We are looking closely at the judgement and its likely impact on the minimum income threshold before we decide how to respond.

"In the meantime, where an applicant does not meet the minimum income threshold and there is no other reason to refuse it, the application will be put on hold."


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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