The Home Secretary’s appeal against the decision in MM, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1900 (Admin)has been allowed by the Court of Appeal.
The long-awaited judgment on the minimum income requirement for partner visas was handed down on 11 July 2014.
The Court ruled “all immigration law is inherently discriminatory” but in this case found the £18,600 minimum income requirement for partner visas was “justified”.
The Court set out the view that while the Immigration Rules did discriminate against people with modest incomes, they were not inherently irrational given the government’s legitimate aim in limiting the impact of immigration on public funds.
The Court reached its conclusion essentially on the basis that it was not for the Court to analyse the basis of the Secretary of State’s decision to introduce such requirements into the immigration rules which are merely statements of administrative policy.
The Judgement means that UK residents will not be able to bring their spouses to join them in the UK unless they have a minimum annual income of £18,600.
The Home Office says that the 4,000 individuals whose applications are currently on hold, pending this judgment, will now receive a decision and stand to be refused.
The applications which are refused will now have the opportunity to appeal on the individual grounds of unfairness and disproportionality on the basis of their own facts.
The individual cases will have to show exceptional circumstances in order to win on appeal such as cases involving British children or some other compelling reason. Such cases will only arguable succeed outside the Immigration Rules.
[Amir Masood is a Human Rights Lawyer practices in London. He is also Director of a prestigious law school.]