Win for families separated by ‘Minimum Income Requirement’

23 Feb 2017

The long awaited judgment was handed down in MM (Lebanon) and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKSC 10 was handed down today, 22nd February 2017. This was a challenge to the minimum income requirements contained within the immigration rules, which came into force in July 2012. Victoria Laughton, led by Karon Monaghan QC of Matrix Chambers and instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, intervened on behalf of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and JCWI, in order to address the impact of the new rules upon children. Although the rules were not quashed, the Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment declared that the immigration rules unlawfully failed to give effect to the duty of the Secretary of State in respect of the welfare of children under section 55 of the 2009 Act. The court was further particularly concerned about the impact upon children affected by these new rules, starkly illustrated by the report commissioned by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England, Family Friendly: The Impact on Children of the Family Migration Rules: A Review of the Financial Requirements (2015, Middlesex University and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) and held that the Secretary of State’s guidance, which, importantly, was accepted to apply to children overseas as well as children in the UK, is defective by failing to treat the best interests of the children as a primary consideration and instead laying down a highly prescriptive criterion and an unnecessarily stringent test.

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