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Britain’s Supreme Court immigration rules restricts Britons from taking Indian spouses to UK

Britain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld immigration rules that restrict citizens from bringing Indian and other non-EU spouses to the country unless they have a minimum annual salary of £18,600, a ruling that will affect thousands of Indians and others.

Nearly 15,000 children are said to be growing up in “Skype families”, in which one non-EU parent sees and interacts with children only on the internet since they cannot join their families due to rules introduced in 2012, when Prime Minister Theresa May was the home secretary.

The court ruling disappointed campaigners, but opened a window by stating that children had been adversely affected, which could lead to changes. The court admitted the income threshold was “particularly harsh”, but not incompatible with human rights law.

The court said the threshold was “defective” and a cause of “hardship” even as it rejected an appeal by families who contended the 2012 rules breached their right to family life. The rules exclude earnings of the non-EU spouse.

The issue has affected many Britons of Indian-origin earning less than £18,600, who have spouses from India or elsewhere outside the European Union. Their plight was part of a recent documentary play titled My Skype Family in London.

The threshold of £18,600 rises to £22,400 for families with a child and £2,400 pounds for each further child. Campaigners say 43% of employees in the UK do not earn enough to meet the salary requirement.


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