Migrants' Rights Network : Court of Appeal rules against challenge to lawfulness of family immigration rules
'The long-awaited judgment of the Court of Appeal in the case ‘MM’ on the matter of the lawfulness of the UK immigration rules setting income levels for the sponsorship of non-EEA family members was made public this morning.
'The Court ruled that the Secretary of State’s rules, though discriminatory in their effect, had a legitimate objective and were for this reason not unlawful.
'The immigration rule which was subject to the proceedings requires the British resident sponsor of a non-EEA spouse to demonstrate an income of at least £18,600 per annum in order that a visa be issued. In the event that a non-EEA national child is being sponsored a further £3,800 per annum income is required for the first child and £2,400 for each additional child after that. Provisions also exist for the sponsor to demonstrate a means to support through the savings of amounts indicated by the rules being available.
'In a case in the High Court in which judgment was given 2013 Mr Justice Blake had ruled that the rules were a disproportionate interference with the UK resident’s right to family life under the terms of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. This was the issue being considered on an appeal by the Secretary of State.
'In a long ruling on the matter the Court set out the view that, although the rule did discriminate against people with modest incomes they were not inherently irrational given the government’s legitimate aim in limiting the impact of immigration on public funds.
43 Temple Row (MM lawyers) : Court of Appeal rules on family migration and the minimum income threshold
'Whereas Mr Justice Blake’s decision had properly considered the detailed evidence provided by the claimants’ lawyers, the Court of Appeal barely considered it. The decision comes over four months after the appeals were heard in March 2014 and two years after the rules were introduced. Since Mr Justice Blake’s decision, the Secretary of State has imposed a stay on considering applications which would otherwise have been refused for failure to satisfy the new rules. That stay will no doubt now be lifted. This will at least give people an opportunity to mount an appeal against negative decisions.'
Free Movement : Outcome of MM minimum income case in Court of Appeal
'The coup de grâce comes at paragraph 150, where Aitkens LJ concludes that after all the work the Secretary of State and her dedicated officials put into setting the income threshold where they did, the judgment of the Secretary of State “cannot be impugned”.
'There will be those who disagree, I imagine rather vehemently. The conclusion that as long as one has done one’s homework it does not matter that it was unreadable nonsense is certainly quite a striking one.'
Morton Fraser : Court of Appeal gives ruling in MM and Others
'My initial reading of the decision is that, whilst it is a setback for those campaigning to lower the minimum income requirement, it is not all bad news. The Court of Appeal seems to confirm that it will still be necessary to examine human rights arguments in individual cases. My experience in the tribunal has been that, where the rules constitute a significant interference with family life and in particular where they impact on children, the tribunal is willing to grant appeals. This is likely to remain the case following this decision and, as cases will be dependent on individual circumstances, it is vital that individuals obtain experienced legal representation to assist with appeals.
'It is likely the MM case will move onwards to the Supreme Court and it is unlikely the issue of the financial requirement will be resolved until at least 2015. During that time we can expect the political debate regarding the financial requirements to continue, particularly in light of the recent findings of the Migrants Rights Network that 48% of workers in Scotland would not meet the financial requirement.
'Families affected by the decision in Scotland will also closely monitor the outcome of the independence referendum in September as the White Paper indicates that a lower threshold may apply in an independent Scotland.
Love Letters to the Home Office : Heartbreaking news
'In short, it is very unexpected news: the Home Office appeal was upheld, meaning that people in the UK continue to have different human rights based on their income, and that families continue to be divided by this. Thousands of people are going home to empty homes again tonight, knowing that their families are still forbidden from them, purely because of these rules.'