Shropshire Star

Undecided whether new income rules will apply to family visa renewals – No 10

New measures aimed at curbing migration figures include a sharp increase in the minimum Britons must earn to be able to bring family to the UK.

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People with a foreign family member already settled in the UK face further uncertainty as Downing Street backtracked on its statement that new minimum income rules will apply when existing visas come up for renewal.

A package of measures unveiled this week aimed at curbing migration figures included a sharp increase from £18,600 to £38,700 in the minimum Britons must earn if they want to bring foreign family members to the UK.

No 10 previously said that the new threshold will also apply when families already in the country seek to extend their visa.

“People always have a set length of time for their visa and will be aware that at the conclusion of that visa time, they don’t have a guarantee that (they can) remain in the country,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

The policy has proved controversial as it threatens to tear UK migrant families apart.

However, on Thursday, a No 10 spokeswoman rowed back on the statement, suggesting it has not yet been decided whether visa renewals will be affected.

“There is work that’s currently ongoing looking at how it will apply to those renewing their visas and we’ll update and confirm more details in due course,” she told reporters.

She said the Government is “extremely mindful” that families already in the UK whose visas will expire are anxious about the prospect of being uprooted if they earn less than £38,700 — a figure well above the national median gross annual salary of £34,963.

Asked whether the policy was announced before details were hashed out, she said: “No. I think when it comes to renewals, that is something that we are working through in terms of how that will apply for people when they come to renew.

“Obviously, they’ve not come to that point, but we’re also very mindful that people want clarity ahead of coming to a point of renewal and we’re working to set out the details for them.”

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