Reunite Families UK (RFUK) is a not for profit organisation supporting families who are affected by the UK spouse visa rules. Reunite Families UK (RFUK) has recently issued (June 2024) a formal legal challenge in the High Court to the government’s decision to raise the minimum income requirement (MIR) for family visas to £29,000 in April 2024 and going up to £38,700 by 2025.

The legal challenge will take sometime to go through the legal process. However, the Reunite Families case gives hope to many families that are unable to meet the increased minimum income level.

We also need to remember that in addition to meeting the increased minimum income requirement, the family visa applicants also need to pay high government fees: application fee entry clearance (£1,846) and NHS Surcharge entry clearance (£3,105). The total application fee and NHS Surcharge for entry clearance spouse visa application is currently £4,951.

Family visas minimum income requirement - legal challenge Judicial Review case


The minimum income for family visas such as spouse/partner visa has increased to £29,000 on 11 April 2024.  However, this is not the final increase. The minimum income requirement will grow to £34,500 at an unspecified time later in 2024/early 2025. Finally to around £38,700 “by early 2025”.

The new higher minimum income requirement has huge impact on families. Many applicants may never be able to meet such high threshold and either be separated indefinitely or UK sponsor will have to move overseas. Although there is an exception of Exceptional Circumstances in the immigration rules, the Home Office is tough on such applications relating on the exception and unfortunately frequently tends to refuse them.

Our advice is for applicants to examine the immigration rules carefully before making their application. Depending on individual circumstances, applicants may be able to combine various sources of income to meet the minimum income requirement. For example employment income with cash savings. The immigration rules are complex it is best to seek professional legal advice.

On a positive note, those who already have a family visa within the five-year partner route, or who apply before the minimum income threshold is raised, will continue to have their applications assessed against the current income requirement and will not be required to meet the increased threshold. The new higher minimum income requirement is suppose to apply ‘Only to first-time applicants’. 

Legal challenge Judicial Review to minimum income increase

Reunite Families’ Judicial Review case is that the decisions were made in breach of the Secretary of State’s duty of inquiry, Public Sector Equality Duty, and duty to treat the best interests of children as a primary consideration. The three grounds on which RFUK considers the new rule unlawful are:

  • It fails to fulfil the Secretary of State’s Tameside duty of inquiry – There was no indication that the Secretary of State took any steps regarding the extent to which raising the minimum income in line with the threshold for a Skilled Worker visa was likely to further the objectives the increase was intended to pursue.  
  • It breaches the Secretary of State’s Public Sector Equality Duty laid out in s 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010 – The increase will have a disproportionately adverse impact on women, members of certain ethnic groups, and young people.
  • It breaches the Secretary of State’s obligations under s 55 of the Borders and Citizenship Act 2009 which enacts Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The increase to the minimum income will result in many children being separated from a parent living abroad, because the British/Settled sponsor is no longer able to show the minimum level of income.

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