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Immigration requirement for spouses to enter the country upheld by Supreme Court

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£18,600 minimum wage requirement

The Supreme Court has ruled that the minimum income requirement (MIR) that prevents thousands of British citizens from bringing a foreign spouse to the UK is lawful.

Seven justices at the UK’s highest court announced their decision, ruling against a case brought by campaigners against policy introduced by the Coalition Government to stop foreign spouses becoming reliant on taxpayers.

As of 2012, Britons (and people settled in the UK as refugees) must earn more than £18,600 before a husband or wife from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) can join them in living in the UK. The minimum income threshold rises to £22,400 if the couple have a child who does not have British citizenship - and then by an additional £2,400 for each subsequent child.

Under previous rules, the only requirement for a couple was that they demonstrate their ability to maintain themselves in the UK without relying on public funds.

In 2013, the High Court ruled in the couples' favour, saying that the rules were "onerous and unjustified" with the judge urging the home secretary to rewrite them. However, this decision was overturned at the Court of Appeal, which led to the challenge reaching the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled that the measure was not considered to breach human rights legislation, despite the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), which is a party to the case, saying British families were being “ripped apart” by the minimum income family visa requirement for British nationals.  

Critics claim some 15,000 children have been separated from their parents because of it, and have been dubbed “Skype Kids” as that is often their main form of communication with a parent.

 

In a series of test cases, couples affected by the policy argued that the rules breached their right to family life.

Two of the claimants are British citizens Abdul Majid and Shabana Javed, who have partners who are Pakistani nationals.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "The court has endorsed our approach in setting an income threshold for family migration that prevents burdens on the taxpayer and ensures migrant families can integrate into our communities.

"This is central to building an immigration system that works in the national interest.

"The current rules remain in force but we are carefully considering what the court has said in relation to exceptional cases where the income threshold has not been met, particularly where the case involves a child."

For the families involved, news that exceptional cases (such as those where children are involved) are being addressed and considered is encouraging, but for many of the families who are living apart, the news that the minimum income requirement has been upheld by Supreme Court is a devastating blow.


Comments

“Supreme Court ruling on foreign spouses in UK was sensible, and a legitimate way to use income rules to control immigration.” - @69mib

UK must worse than Trump! Foreign spouse income limit: Supreme Court rules financial barrier lawful, barring entry to thousands of couples” - @BourkeGary

“Foreign spouse income limit upheld by Supreme Court. Quite right. Should be higher in my opinion.” - @NealE64

“Sad the 18.6k still stands given UK single parent poverty line is  £15,132. Even US green card is based around poverty line #MMCase” - @johnsonnicolev

“Cruelty of immigration laws bewildering. What if other countries imposed similar wage conditions? Families cd live literally nowhere #MMcase” - @jonlis1

“The UK gov’t essentially legislates on how rich you need to be to love. You can love a non-EEA citizen, but only if you earn enough #MMCase” - @TomJBentley

“The judgment #dividedfamilies had been waiting long time for. Not what we hoped for but still some positives #MMcase” - @LisaMatthewsRtR

“No words for how disappointed I am by #MMcase ruling. Meeting the requirements cost us our home! How can such discriminatory rules be legal?” - @ElleOsiliWood


 

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Best place to live?

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HAPPY: Copenhagen - in Denmark - is the capital of the world’s happiest country

HAPPY: Copenhagen - in Denmark - is the capital of the world’s happiest country

Denmark is world’s happiest country

According to a recent report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Denmark overtook Switzerland as the world's happiest place.

Syria, Afghanistan and eight sub-Saharan countries rack up as the 10 least happy places on earth to live.

The top 10 this year are Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden.

Denmark was in third place last year, behind Switzerland and Iceland.

The bottom 10 were Madagascar, Tanzania, Liberia, Guinea, Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi.

Britain fell two places to 23rd in the report, placing it below the likes of Mexico and Singapore.

All countries in this year’s top 10 are located in Europe.

The report ranks 157 countries according to factors such as equality, GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, perceptions of corruption and freedom to make life choices.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, head of the SDSN and special advisor to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Reuters: “There is a very strong message for my country, the United States, which is very rich, has gotten a lot richer over the last 50 years, but has gotten no happier.”

“While the differences between countries where people are happy and those where they are not could be scientifically measured we can understand why and do something about it.

“The message for the United States is clear. For a society that just chases money, we are chasing the wrong things. Our social fabric is deteriorating, social trust is deteriorating, faith in government is deteriorating.”

The report said: “When countries single-mindedly pursue individual objectives, such as economic development to the neglect of social and environmental objectives, the results can be highly adverse for human wellbeing, even dangerous for survival.

“Many countries in recent years have achieved economic growth at the cost of sharply rising inequality, entrenched social exclusion, and grave damage to the natural environment.”

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