The Supreme Court ruled today that the £18,600 financial threshold requirement for spouse visa applications was lawful.

However, the Home Office also has a duty to consider entry clearance applications on the basis of an individual’s right to a family life, even when the strict financial requirement is not met. These applications are currently granted in exceptional circumstances. The Supreme Court ruled today that when considering spouse entry clearance applications on the basis of an individual’s human right to a family life, the guidance used by entry clearance offices to make decisions requires amendment so  that income based upon ‘reliable sources of earnings and finance’ should be considered by Entry clearance officers. In practice, this opens the door for a wider pool of funds to be considered in deciding whether or not an individual should be granted entry clearance.  

The Supreme Court also held today that the immigration rules relating to applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of family life unlawfully fail to take proper account of the Home Offices duty to consider the welfare of children affected by a potential refusal decision.  The Supreme Court confirmed that the Home Office’s duty to consider the best interests children in applicable not just in those cases where the child lives in the UK, but also in those cases where the affected child lives outside the UK.