Supreme Court to Rule on ‘Skype Families’ Law Within Weeks

The Supreme Court has today confirmed that it will give its long awaited judgment in the MM case within the “next few weeks.”

The case of MM and Others v SSHD was heard almost a year ago in February 2016.

The court will decide on the lawfulness of the government’s imposition of a minimum income threshold of £18,600 for British citizens and residents to sponsor a foreign non-EEA spouse to join them in the UK.

The minimum income required increases to £22,400 if there is one child involved in the application and by a further £2,400 for each additional child.

The strict rule introduced in July 2012 has resulted in tens of thousands of families being split apart with their communication limited to social media methods such as Skype and FaceTime.

This has resulted in the victims of this policy being described as ‘Skype families’.

In 2015, research commissioned by the Children’s Commissioner and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) estimated that “at least 15,000 children have been negatively affected by financial requirements in the three years following implementation of the new Rules.”

The Rules are wholly unfair.

As was argued before the Supreme Court, almost half the population of the UK do not earn such a salary, which is over £5000 greater than those working full time and earning minimum wage.

Such persons would be unable to bring a foreign non-EEA spouse to the UK under these Rules.

Caseworkers are also prohibited from exercising any discretion so that even if an applicant is a few pounds short of the £18,600 requirement, the application will be refused.

Genuine third party support is not taken into account, nor is the first £16,000 of savings.

News of the forthcoming judgement will be welcomed by the tens of thousands of families who have been ripped apart by the Rules.

The litigation has been ongoing for almost four years and it is hoped that a positive decision from the Supreme Court will bring relief to these families who have suffered for far too long.

image,  Diary of an Immigration Lawyer, is a blog run by Fahad Ansari, the director and principal solicitor of Riverway Law, a niche UK immigration and nationality law practice based in London.  If you would like any advice or assistance in relation to your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to email me at or submit your details here.


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