Minimum salary for sponsorship under family route should be raised

A minimum salary of between £18,600 and £25,700 before tax should be introduced for UK residents sponsoring a partner or dependent for citizenship, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommended today.

The MAC was asked to identify a salary that would prevent any sponsor, their spouse or their dependents from becoming a burden on the state.

The MAC was asked by the government to consider what the minimum income threshold should be for a British resident sponsoring a spouse, partner or dependent for settlement in the UK under the family route. This was part of the government’s review of the family migration routes.

Presently the threshold is an annual income of £5,500 after tax, excluding housing costs. This is equivalent to £13,700 before tax and including housing costs.

The thresholds are based on the income levels at which a family is not entitled to state benefits or contributes at least as much to the public finances as it consumes in services.

A salary threshold of £18,600 would reduce settlement through the family route by 45 per cent, the MAC estimates. A minimum of £25,700 would reduce it by 63 per cent.

Chairman of the MAC, Professor David Metcalf CBE, said:

‘The current threshold of £5,500 seems low considering the government’s desire to ensure new migrants settling in the UK are not a burden on the state.

‘Our recommendations are made on a purely economic basis and we recognise that family migration is not determined by economics alone. However our analysis suggests there is justification for raising the pay threshold.’

Potential methods for calculating higher salary thresholds to account for child and adult dependants are also set out in the MAC report.

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