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Legal challenge launched against new family visa income threshold

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Reunite Families UK (RFUK) has commenced a judicial review challenging the recent increase in the minimum income requirement for family visas. The group asserts that the new rules will unfairly separate families, particularly discriminating against women and ethnic minorities.

In April, the Home Office raised the minimum income threshold for sponsoring family members from £18,600 to £29,000, with a further increase to £38,700 planned for next year. This marks the first change in over a decade and is part of the government’s strategy to reduce legal migration to the UK.

RFUK argues that this policy contravenes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and questions the legality of the government’s decision, suggesting it may not have adhered to official Whitehall guidelines.

Caroline Coombs, representing RFUK, stated, “This increase comes at a time when people across the UK are grappling with a relentless cost of living crisis.” The group contends that many families earning below the new threshold will be forced to live apart.

The judicial review will also address claims that the new income requirement breaches the Equality Act by disproportionately affecting women, ethnic minorities, and young people. RFUK hopes their legal action will encourage the government to adopt a more compassionate approach to family migration.

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This legal challenge follows recent political debates, where Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and opposition leader Keir Starmer both pledged stricter measures to curb legal migration, which reached 685,000 in 2023.

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