Recent Changes to Appendix FM and Spouse Visas


The Home Office has published changes to the Immigration Rules intended to give power to the minimum income rule. The changes are set out in Statement of Changes HC 290.

The new changes shall take effect from 10 August 2017 and will apply to all decisions made on or after that date no matter when the application itself was made.

The case in question that brought these changes was MM (Lebanon)’s judgement. The Supreme court upheld in principle the Minimum Income Rule which requires an income of at least £18,600 from British Citizens and/or settled sponsors for a foreign spouse, the amount goes up if there are any children. However, the court also held that the rules and policies used by the Home Office to approach such case must be changed to take proper account of any impact on children and other possible sources of income and support.

As of 30 June 2017, there is currently around 5,000 applications on hold. The Home Office has stated that today’s Statements of Changes will allow them to reach decisions consistently with the finding of the Supreme Court, so an influx of decisions should be expected from 10 August 2017.

The General Requirements have been changed as it requires the decision-maker to consider whether the Minimum Income Rule can be met from other sources of income, financial support or funds as set out in a new paragraph 21A of Appendix FM-SE.

It must be now clear from the information provided in the application that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ which could amount a refusal as a breach of Article 8 because it could result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant, the partner or a child under the age of 18.

For employment and self-employment there must be evidence of existence and it can commence within three months of the applicant’s arrival or leave to remain. Any documentary evidence must be headed and include a contract of employment or, for self-employment, various types of contracts that can demonstrate the intention of providing goods or services.

The Home Office has allowed for access to public funds in only two circumstances. If an applicant can provide satisfactory evidence that he or she is destitute or that there are compelling reasons relating to welfare of a child of a parent in receipt of a very low income.

It is normal for the Home Office to issue or change their guidance when rules change but as of today no new changes are present. The relevant changes should be made soon and published on the Home Office website later on.

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