UK announces a 55% increase in the minimum income for family visa sponsors

Asma Ahmed - | World

The United Kingdom has implemented a substantial 55 percent increase in the minimum income requirement for British citizens and residents, including those of Indian descent, who wish to sponsor their relatives on a family visa.

This adjustment, which came into effect on Thursday, follows the enforcement of the gradual rise in salary thresholds announced by the UK government last year.

According to the new criteria, individuals seeking sponsorship to enter the UK on a family visa must now demonstrate a minimum annual salary of GBP 29,000, up significantly from the previous threshold of GBP 18,600. This figure is expected to double by early next year, reaching GBP 38,700 to align with the salary threshold for skilled worker visas.

The UK Home Office has characterized this change as the final step in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary James Cleverly's strategy to reduce legal migration and prevent newcomers from imposing financial burdens on taxpayers. Cleverly emphasized the complexity of addressing mass migration, stating that no single solution can satisfy the British populace's expectations regarding immigration levels.

Initially met with criticism from the opposition when proposed in December 2023, the government opted for a phased approach to increasing the salary threshold rather than an immediate hike to GBP 38,700 as initially suggested. This staged approach aims to provide families with predictability and the opportunity to plan accordingly, while ensuring that individuals arriving in the UK to reunite with family members have sufficient financial support.

Under the revised regulations, sponsoring family members or applicants residing in the UK with permission to work must now earn a minimum income of GBP 29,000 in the UK. The Home Office clarified that this requirement can be fulfilled through various means, including savings or a combination of a lower income and savings.

This adjustment is part of the government's broader strategy to reduce migration levels, which are perceived as straining public services, housing, and the job market for British workers. The Home Office estimates that approximately 300,000 individuals who arrived in the UK last year would no longer qualify under the new regulations. Since the beginning of the year, several visa policies have been tightened as part of this comprehensive approach.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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