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Bright Blue is calling on the Government to revise the unfair minimum income rule for British citizens wanting to obtain a visa for their spouse, following today’s appeal by families in the Supreme Court.

British citizens must currently earn more than £18,600 to obtain a visa for their non-EU spouse to live in the UK. This minimum income is raised for each of their children that wants to immigrate. This minimum income rule is being challenged by families in the Supreme Court today.

Bright Blue’s Director, Ryan Shorthouse said:

“The unfair minimum income rule of £18,600 for a British citizen obtaining a visa for foreign spouses should be revised. Instead, British citizens should be allowed to get a visa for their spouse if they earn the minimum income or have been working and paying tax for the past two and half years.

“The current rules should change for four reasons. First, a body of evidence now shows that it is highly likely to be leading to higher government expenditure. The future income of the spouse, if they worked in the UK, is not taken into account – they could be paying taxes and improving household incomes. Second, the policy effectively enforces single parenthood.

“Third, this minimum income rule is unfair. About four in ten Brits do not earn this salary and, as such, this minimum income rule does not sufficiently recognise the contributions of millions of hard-working people on modest incomes.  Finally, it is thwarting the highest of human emotions: love”

Bright Blue’s report Understanding how Conservative voters think about immigration found that support for the minimum income rule was low amongst Conservative voters. For example, 74% of Conservatives were willing to admit a South Korean spouse and children of a British man currently earning the minimum wage.  Under the current law, he would not meet the minimum income requirement and would be separated from his spouse and children.

In A manifesto for immigration, Bright Blue argued that non-EEA family visas be granted if the sponsoring British citizen meets the current minimum income threshold or earned above the Personal Income Tax Allowance for the last 30 months.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For further media enquiries, please contact our Communications Manager of Bright Blue, Laura Round, on laura@brightblue.org.uk or 07543759844.