The Impending Changes to UK Family Visa Requirements: Assessing the Impact on Families

December 6, 2023

On December 4, 2023, Mr. Cleverly unveiled a series of measures that are set to reshape the landscape for businesses, families, and workers in the UK. The focus of this assessment is on the potential consequences of these changes, particularly on families seeking to migrate to the UK and those already residing within its borders.

The financial requirements for family visas were implemented on July 9, 2012, with a minimum income threshold of £18,600. Over the years, challenges were raised, and measures were introduced to address concerns. However, recent developments have sparked fresh debates about the potential impact on families.

Proposed Changes:
One of the proposed changes involves a significant increase in the minimum income threshold for family visas under Appendix FM of the immigration rules. If implemented, sponsors (British or settled individuals) would need to demonstrate an annual income of £38,700, nearly double the existing requirement.

Impact on Families Seeking to Migrate:
The repercussions of this proposed increase are substantial, particularly for those individuals earning minimum wage, which currently stands at around £21,000 per year. With the new threshold, many working-class individuals may find themselves ineligible to sponsor their spouses, partners, or family members, impacting family life and unity.

Impact on Families Already Residing in the UK:
Existing families in the UK, especially those relying on a single income or earning minimum wage, will face deep repercussions. The financial burden is set to intensify as the costs for a 2.5-year extension application are expected to rise significantly from January 16, 2024.

As of the date of writing (December 5, 2023, the current out-of-country application fees for a partner application are:

£1846 – Application Fee
£1872 – Immigration Health Surcharge
=£3718 (and that does not include the currency conversion that is added to these fees)

As of the date of writing (December 5, 2023), the current in-country application fees are as follows:

£1048 – Application fee
£1560 – Immigration Health Surcharge
Total: £2608

However, starting January 16, 2024, the fees are slated to increase:

In-country Applications
£1048 – Application costs
£2,587.50 – Immigration Health Surcharge
Total: £3635.50

Out of Country Applications
£1846 – Application fee
£3105 – Immigration Health Surcharge
= £4951.00

In addition to elevated fees, families will be required to meet the heightened income threshold, placing additional strain on households already grappling with financial challenges.

The Way Forward:
These impending changes are likely to prompt families residing in the UK to seek fee waivers from the government. The inability to meet the new application fees and the mandatory high-income threshold may force families into challenging situations, potentially affecting their immigration status and overall well-being.

As discussions surrounding these measures continue, it is essential to consider the broader societal implications and the potential human cost associated with reshaping immigration policies.

As these significant changes to UK immigration policies unfold, it is crucial for individuals, advocacy groups, and concerned citizens to stay informed and engaged.

Here are a few actions you can take:
Stay Informed: Keep abreast of updates and developments in immigration policies through reliable news sources, official government announcements, and reputable advocacy organizations.

  • Advocate for Transparency: Encourage open dialogue and transparency in the decision-making process. Advocate for policies that consider the diverse needs and circumstances of families.
  • Engage with Communities: Reach out to local community groups, immigrant support organizations, and legal aid services. Share information and resources to empower individuals affected by these changes.
  • Connect with Elected Officials: Communicate your concerns with your local representatives and elected officials. Encourage them to advocate for fair and compassionate immigration policies that prioritize family unity.
  • Support Legal Aid Services: Contribute to or volunteer with organizations providing legal aid services to families navigating immigration challenges. Your support can make a difference in ensuring access to justice.
  • Share Stories: Share personal stories, experiences, and challenges related to immigration policies on social media platforms and within your networks. Humanizing the impact of these changes can raise awareness and foster empathy.
  • Join Advocacy Campaigns: Participate in or support advocacy campaigns that seek to address the broader issues surrounding immigration policies. Collective efforts amplify the voices advocating for fair and just policies.

Remember, positive change often starts with informed and engaged communities. By taking these actions, you contribute to a more compassionate and inclusive society, fostering an environment where the needs of families are considered and respected.

© Copyright 2023. All Rights Reserved. 

Regulated by the OISC NO: F201600025  |  VAT Ref: 379835630