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Tue Feb 21, 2017, 06:44 PM

These Couples Are About To Find Out If They Can Live Together In Britain After Five Years Of Waiting

The Supreme Court decides on Wednesday morning if thousands of married couples where one spouse is not British can live together in the UK.

Satbir Singh eats his breakfast every morning with his wife Gitanjali even though she lives more than 4,000 miles away. Propping up his iPad, he tucks into his porridge in his house in northwest London and talks on FaceTime to Gitanjali while she eats lunch at her desk in Delhi. Most days, this is the closest they come to normal married life.

For the last five years the couple have been trying to live together in Britain and failing, thanks to strict earning requirements that were introduced to spouse visas in 2012, when Theresa May was home secretary. On Wednesday morning at 10am the Supreme Court will announce a decision in a test case that could change their lives – and thousands of others – forever.

The 2012 rule change means British citizens must earn at least £18,600 a year to bring in a non-EU spouse. It has taken the Supreme Court more than a year to reach a decision on whether this is unlawful.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/emilydugan/these-couples-are-about-to-find-out-if-they-can-live-togethe?bftwnews&utm_term=.gcQ4aeZM4p#.mnwjB0Lkjz

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Reply These Couples Are About To Find Out If They Can Live Together In Britain After Five Years Of Waiting (Original post)
Denzil_DC Feb 2017 OP
Jake Stern Feb 2017 #1
Denzil_DC Feb 2017 #2
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2017 #3
Denzil_DC Feb 2017 #4
BooScout Feb 2017 #5
Denzil_DC Feb 2017 #6

Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 07:34 PM

1. I'm not seeing how this is unreasonable

Why is it so terrible to require that the citizen spouse has the resources to support the foreign born spouse?

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Response to Jake Stern (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 10:08 PM

2. Did you bother to read beyond the four paragraphs I was allowed to post?

Here's just one example of the idiocy and inhumanity of the situation:

Satbir is British and Gitanjali is Indian. Satbir works as a human rights advocate, and is currently working on a project for the World Bank. On average his earnings typically exceed the £18,600 threshold, but because his work is based on short-term contracts the Home Office won’t accept it. Gitanjali, meanwhile, has a good job for the Clinton Foundation that she could do in any country, but under the inflexible rules, her wage does not count.


Not that money's the be-all and end-all of somebody's contribution to society anyway (take a look at the UK cabinet, and your Congress), and not that the non-British spouses would just languish at home and not seek productive work. But yeah, let's rip families apart because of some arbitrary financial rule that doesn't reflect wage differentials around the UK, apart from anything else.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2017, 06:37 AM

3. "Income rules for foreign spouses upheld" - seems a really confusing decision

Judges rejected an appeal by families who argued that the rules breached their human right to a family life.

As of 2012, Britons must earn more than £18,600 before a husband or wife from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) can settle in the UK.

Judges criticised this threshold as "defective" and a cause of "hardship".

The seven justices sitting on the case found those rules did not take sufficient account of the welfare of the children involved, or of alternative sources of income.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39050664

The justices also acknowledge that that the rule “does present a serious obstacle to their enjoying family life together” and may provide a permanent obstacle to many couples because those earning less than £18,600 are unlikely to amass sufficient savings to make good the shortfall. Women and particularly those from minority ethnic groups will be particularly hit because of the gender pay gap.

But they have ruled that the £18,600 threshold is a legitimate part “of an overall strategy aimed at reducing net migration. Its particular aims are no doubt entirely legitimate to ensure, as far as practicable, that the couple do not have recourse to welfare benefits and have sufficient resources to be able to play a full part of British life.” They say that, given that is a legitimate aim, it not possible to say that “a less intrusive measure” should have been adopted.

Immigration welfare campaigners took comfort in the supreme court’s findings that the rule was causing hardship to thousands of families and that the interests of children needed to be reconsidered.

Saira Grant, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: “This judgment is a real victory for families especially those with children. For five years JCWI has been working with affected families and has been trying to persuade the government to abandon the family migration rules it introduced in 2012 because they are tearing families apart and significantly harming children.

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/feb/22/supreme-court-backs-minimum-income-rule-for-non-european-spouses

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 22, 2017, 08:07 AM

4. Good grief!

I don't know after reading those two articles whether the decision's confused or the journalists are, but I certainly am.

Both headline that the May-imposed (yet another fuck-up from her disastrous time as Home Secretary) UK spouse income threshold's been upheld, but the Guardian reports:

The justices ruled that current Home Office guidance is defective and unlawful until it is amended to give more weight to the interests of the children involved. This could give limited hope to some of the separated families with children but the four families who brought the appeal will not find out whether they can live together in Britain until their cases are reconsidered.


So, if I understand it correctly, the UK spouse income rule stands as lawful, but the way it's been imposed in practice so far isn't, because as I argued above, it doesn't take into account other sources of income and assets the non-UK spouse brings to the family.

If I have time, I may have to look at some law blogs to clarify what exactly's happened.

I wonder if this will get taken to further appeal? The right to family life and the rights of the child seem to have been neglected here, so the ECJ etc. may take a different tack. That process would likely mean further years of uncertainty for the families involved, of course.

I should declare an interest here (as I've done in the past). I married an American some 30 years ago, and if these rules had been in force at the time (with an equivalent income threshold), we wouldn't have been able to live together in the UK (and I don't give much for our chances of being able to have made it in the US either). As it is, even after all that time, my partner's status in the UK rests on Indefinite Leave to Remain - which, as an immigration lawyer in a book I worked on recently pointed out, really has an emphasis on "indefinite" meaning "indeterminate," not "permanent"!

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 24, 2017, 01:12 PM

5. You have the gist of it...

So, if I understand it correctly, the UK spouse income rule stands as lawful, but the way it's been imposed in practice so far isn't, because as I argued above, it doesn't take into account other sources of income and assets the non-UK spouse brings to the family.


This is the crux of the matter in a nutshell. If I was trying to settle in the UK today, I would be unable to like I did over ten years ago. At that time, they took into account our joint assets, and my ability as someone with a University Degree in Business to earn a wage that would keep our level of income sufficiently high enough to keep me off of benefits. The changes made to the law are astonishingly idiotic and untenable.

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Response to BooScout (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 24, 2017, 02:16 PM

6. Thanks.

"Idiotic and untenable" sums up May's term as Home Secretary (never mind her time as PM).

Labour set the scene for the recent ascendance of UKIP (by opening the doors to all-comers from the EU while many other countries worked within the rules and phased entry for EU immigrants), but for all May's Home Secretary show of being a hard case (those revolting, ridiculous poster trucks telling folks to "go home" if they were here without official sanction, for instance), she did nothing meaningful to stem the "tide" even though she had all the legal regulatory and compensatory means (like ploughing resources into the communities worst effected so that their social services weren't overstretched) necessary to do so if she'd just applied herself to the task.

So here we are, with both main parties having ceded any high ground about economic and other immigration (which we need, and are happy about when it works the other way) to the rump of UKIP, denying residence to people who'd do nothing but enrich us and our culture and without whom some of our essential services can't function, headed for economic devastation on the strength of a glib Remain/Leave vote that certain pols are conveniently interpreting as giving them carte blanche for whatever idiotic and untenable measures they see fit because "the will of the people" etc. etc., and meanwhile, the ground reasons for our economic and other ills are only likely to get worse and lead to even more idiotic and untenable countermeasures that we'll all be the worse off for because nobody in the UK's polity has the guts or wit or will to clearly point them out and stand their ground against the inevitable backlash from the stupid RW media.

Sorry for the rant, but GAAAHHH! Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for beer.

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