UK clarifies income levels for British-French families moving there

The rollout of higher income threshold for new visas will be progressive

The first income threshold increase for family visas will be in spring 2024
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The UK’s plan to double the income requirement for family members, such as a French spouse, to join a UK national has been clarified. The Home Office has said that the income threshold for new visas will increase progressively and existing visas are unaffected.

We look at what the government has announced so far about this plan, which is part of measures to reduce immigration.

A higher income threshold for new family visas will come into effect from spring 2024. This will mean that families moving to the UK will have to show that they earn a larger amount to be granted a family visa.

The UK government was widely criticised for plans to more than double the current visa thresholds of £18,600, which would prevent many families from moving to the UK.

In many cases it is essentially the British person's income that has to meet the required level, as the foreign spouse's potential to earn in the UK is not accounted for, however the family's savings can be taken into account to reduce the amount needed - see more here.

The Home Office now states that the threshold will rise to £38,700 “progressively”, saying that visa renewals are not affected.

It also states that it is scrapping the extra amounts that are currently added to the required sum in the case of the foreign children coming over along with an adult spouse/partner.

What is timetable for new income thresholds for family visas?

From spring 2024, the threshold for new applications will rise from £18,600 to £29,000.

This will then increase to £34,500 later in the year, and up to £38,700 “in early 2025”, according to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

"The principle here is absolutely right that if people are bringing dependents into this country as part of their family, they must be able to support them.

"...So it will go up in a few months time and then to the full amount in early 2025."

The precise date of the full rollout in 2025 is likely to be left until after the next UK general election and thus potentially under a new government.

Family visa campaign group Reunite Families UK said the plan, even with the initially lower threshold, “would still tear families apart”.


However, critics have called the new income thresholds ‘half-thought-through.’

“This is more evidence of Tory government chaos on immigration and the economy,” said shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

“They failed to consult anyone on their new proposals and took no account of the impact of steep spousal visa changes on families next year, so it is no surprise they are now rowing back in a rush.”

For the Liberal Democrats, the plans are ‘unworkable’.

“You have to wonder who if anyone is in charge at the Home Office,” said Liberal Democrat’s home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael

“It was clear to everyone else that the raising of the earnings threshold was unworkable.

“This was yet another half-thought-through idea to placate the hardliners on their own backbenches. Decisions like this should be made by experts and politicians working together.”

Read more:

UK income threshold plan for British-French families called ‘cruel’