Home Office response to our letter on MIR
British in Europe was devastated on 4 December to see that the UK government proposed to raise the minimum income requirement (MIR) to sponsor a non-UK family member to move to the UK from £18,600 a year to £38,700 a year. This is twice the national minimum wage and will make it almost impossible for many of us living overseas with non-British family members ever to return to live in the UK with our non-UK families. Already, only 40% of British citizens with non-British family members can meet the current MIR.
So we took action and wrote to James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, on 19 December (see below). This decision effectively strips one of our few remaining citizenship rights - the right to return to live in the UK - from many of us. We asked the government what its justification was for this.
We then asked how we were going to be able to return to the UK to care for elderly relatives if we have a non-UK partner. We pointed out that MIR policy is drafted on the assumption that the British citizen is already in the UK and has access to the employment market, and also does not take account of the circumstances of the self-employed or indeed of their non-UK partner.
Finally, we reminded the Home Secretary that as of 16 January over 3 million currently disenfranchised UK citizens will again be entitled to register to vote in UK national elections and that these changes were announced without consulting them and before they got their vote back.
We already received a reply from the Home Office on 8 January (also below), which is a standard response setting out the policy in general terms, as per the government's reply to the recent petition on MIR rather than responding to the issues we raised. The full increase to £38,700 a year will be implemented by early 2025 in increments starting from Spring 2024. The letter at least confirms the position of those already in the UK with family or fiancé(e) visas before the MIR is increased.
But there is no explanation of why British citizens and their families, or those settled in the UK should be treated the same as those coming to the UK on skilled worker visas.
We are in the process of drafting a response, which we will share.
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