All Articles: Spouses

Meghan Markle and the Immigration Rules on marriage

Hearty congratulations from all of us at Free Movement to the former army officer and UN charity worker who are due to marry next year. But given that Meghan Markle is an American citizen, what hoops will the happy couple need to jump through in orde ...

28th November 2017 By

Home Office: a stroke is not “exceptional circumstances”

An ex-soldier who struggles to walk, speak or perform basic household tasks following a stroke has been told that he must look after his children without their Philippine national mother because these do not constitute “exceptional circumstances ...

20th October 2017 By

A genuine couple can enter in a marriage of convenience, says High Court

A couple may enter into a “marriage of convenience”, even if they are in a genuine relationship. This was, in summary, the finding of the High Court in the case of Molina, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department ...

16th August 2017 By

Supreme Court confirms that burden for proving marriage of convenience rests with Home Office

The Supreme Court has handed down its judgement in the case of Sadovska and another (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) (Scotland) [2017] UKSC 54. In unanimously allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that the ...

26th July 2017 By

Alternative options for EU partners: making an application under Appendix FM

Now that the election manifestos have been officially published we have an indication what Labour and Conservative have planned for EU nationals living in Britain. While the Labour manifesto confirmed a pledge to immediately guarantee existing rights ...

31st May 2017 By

Supreme Court upholds Minimum Income Rule of £18,600 to sponsor foreign spouses in MM case

In linked judgments in the case of MM and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKSC 10, known to many as just “the MM case,” the Supreme Court has this morning upheld in principle the Minimum Income Rule which requir ...

22nd February 2017 By

What is the position of EU spouses of British citizens following Brexit?

The result of the Brexit referendum has thrown a harsh light on long standing UK Government positions on the free movement rights of EU nationals. Nowhere is this more obvious and more awkward than in the case of EU national spouses of British citizen ...

24th January 2017 By

Chief inspector criticises Home Office handling of sham marriage cases

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has published a new report on the Home Office approach to sham marriages. The report is critical of the change in approach brought about by new powers conferred on officials by the Immigration Act 2014: T ...

21st December 2016 By

Court of Appeal rules burden for proving sham marriage rests with Home Office

The Court of Appeal has reiterated that the burden of proof for proving whether a marriage is a sham for immigration law purposes rests with the Home Office. The case is Agho v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 1198 and ...

9th December 2015 By

Supreme Court dismisses challenge to English language pre entry test for spouses in Ali and Bibi case

The Supreme Court has dismissed the challenge brought against the introduction of pre-entry English language testing for spouses seeking to enter the UK as the family members of British citizens and those present and settled in the UK. The formal tit ...

18th November 2015 By

“I couldn’t pick her up and it just broke my heart”

Last week the Children’s Commissioner for England released a study into the impact of the Coalition Government’s new family immigration rules, introduced in 2012. The report is an emotionally difficult read with some heart breaking quotes ...

16th September 2015 By

Proxy marriage and domicile

The idea of a “proxy marriage” is rather alien in the UK and our fairly recently developed romantic love culture. It involves one or both parties to a marriage being represented by someone else at the marriage ceremony rather than attendin ...

21st July 2014 By

Outcome of MM minimum income case in Court of Appeal

UPDATE: see report of Supreme Court judgment here. The judgment is now out in the long awaited case of MM v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWCA Civ 985, the test case challenging the minimum income threshold for spouses wishing to ...

11th July 2014 By

3,641 families put on hold

The Home Office has updated its statistics on the number of families with pending applications separated by the £18,600 minimum income threshold for spouses. At the end of December 2013 it was 3,014. At the end of March it stood at 3,641. That is ...

2nd July 2014 By

3,014 families put on hold by Home Office

This is while the Home Office, judges and lawyers battle the harsh spouse minimum income threshold through the courts. For an idea of the human misery this is causing, see the distressing comments on this blog here, here and here. ...

12th March 2014 By

Spouse visa minimum income case heard last week

UPDATE: Outcome now known and reported here. Last week the Court of Appeal heard the Home Office appeal in the spouse visa minimum income case. The judges heard argument over two days and did not give a decision there and then. The timescale for a dec ...

11th March 2014 By

The Importance Of Being Genuine

Around 3,000 couples in England and Wales will tie the knot tomorrow (Saturday 15 February). According to a Home Office guestimate between 48 and 123 of these marriages will be ‘sham’, which is to say they will not be ‘genuine and subsisting’ ...

14th February 2014 By

Soldiers to be separated from spouses and children by new rules

Newly introduced Immigration Rules (Statement of Changes HC 803) due to take effect on 1 December 2013 will end a concession for family members of members of the armed forces, forcing many such families to separate if the soldier is stationed to the ...

20th November 2013 By

Update on Home Office appeal against spouse minimum income judgment

I’ve had quite a few queries asking for updates on the spouse minimum income case, MM & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 1900 (Admin). The challenge to the rules essentially succeeded in the High Court but the H ...

28th October 2013 By

Stranded spouses: a convenient form of child abduction

Child abduction is a criminal offence. It requires covert departure from the UK to another country, and from the abductor’s point of view preferably one that is not in Europe, not a signatory to the Hague Convention and that does not have a bila ...

24th October 2013 By

Divided families video

Fantastic video by Maryam Tafakory about the effect of the minimum income rule for spouses. Hat tip to Migrants Rights Network. ...

31st July 2013 By

A long time to be separated

My client today applied for a spouse visa in May 2012. A refusal was eventually issued in November 2012. The appeal took place today, 14 months after the application and 8 months after the refusal. The hearing took 20 minutes and it was allowed there ...

30th July 2013 By

Hope for Families Divided by the Income Threshold

Last week Monday, I represented a married couple in the husband’s immigration appeal in the First-Tier Tribunal instructed by Yomi Oni-Williams of Owens Solicitors.  I have the couple’s consent to write this post although there is no need for me ...

22nd July 2013 By

High Court finds minimum income rules disproportionate and unjustified

Almost exactly a year after they were first introduced, Mr Justice Blake sitting in the High Court has in a lengthy, complex and very carefully considered judgment found that the controversial immigration rules requiring a minimum income of at least ...

5th July 2013 By

New UKBA announcement on the English language requirements

As we saw yesterday, the topic of English language is de rigueur at the moment. Last week, the UKBA also announced in its April 2013 Statement of Intent that the government is planning changes to the Immigration Rules in relation to the English langua ...

16th April 2013 By

The Court of Appeal’s judgment in Chapti/Bibi on pre-entry English tests

It has been over a year since the High Court heard a challenge to the introduction of pre-entry English language tests for spouses and partners (and fiancés and proposed civil partners). It was argued in Chapti & Ors, R (on the application of) v ...

15th April 2013 By

More changes to the Immigration Rules

Two Statements of Changes to bring to your attention, HC1038 and HC1039. On Monday 1 April 2013, HC1038 came into effect and can be viewed here. Far weightier are the changes contained in HC1039 which will be brought into force on Saturday 6 April 201 ...

4th April 2013 By

More on pre-entry English language challenge

In his judgment in the case of R (On the Application Of Bhavyesh & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 2789 (Admin) Blake J has dismissed the latest attempt to challenge the requirement that foreign spouses learn Engli ...

18th October 2012 By

New Statement of Changes – sigh…

Yes another Statement of Changes – HC 565 –  has been laid and (hold your breath), most of it comes into force… today!  I am grateful to Alison Harvey at ILPA, whose hard-work is truly immeasurable:  an e-mail was sent out at 11p ...

6th September 2012 By

A case of tough love

In June 2012 Human Rights organisation Liberty issued a briefing on  the proposed changes to the Immigration Rules on spouses and partners and introduction of a minimum income threshold. The old rule required that spouses and partners show they had ...

8th August 2012 By

The Case of the Lost Prerogative

View image | gettyimages.com The judgments The judgments in Munir [2012] UKSC 32 and Alvi [2012] UKSC 33 are perhaps the most important in immigration law since the Immigration Act 1971 was passed. The Supreme Court holds that the ancient royal prerog ...

18th July 2012 By

Pankina upheld by Supreme Court

[UPDATE: for more analysis see new post The Case of the Lost Prerogative] This is huge news in immigration law: the Supreme Court has dismissed the Home Office appeal in Alvi [2012] UKSC 33, upholding the earlier Court of Appeal judgment in Pankina. T ...

18th July 2012 By