Rishi Sunak(Image: Getty)

In response to a review of the family visa system, the Home Office has deemed the existing rules as “disproportionate and unfair,” negatively impacting family life. The review took into account recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent body advising the government on migration matters, prompting a decision to lower the threshold.

However, the Home Office emphasizes that this reduced threshold is a “temporary measure” and plans to increase it to £38,700 in “early 2025.” Notably, this will constitute the highest salary requirement for any family visa globally, according to the MAC.

The announcement has stirred diverse reactions from MPs, campaigners, and affected families. While some welcome the change as a “step in the right direction” and a “relief” for separated couples, others criticize the government for introducing “uncertainty” and “anxiety” for the future, deeming the 2025 target “unrealistic and unaffordable.”

Rishi Sunak questioned the changes during a Treasury Select Committee session and defended the decision as a “sensible and compassionate” response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn. He emphasized that the higher threshold for 2025 aligns with the government’s commitment to “control immigration” and “protect public services.”

Sunak refuted any personal interest or influence, asserting adherence to “normal procedures” for declaring interests and recusing himself from discussions involving his wife’s immigration status. He clarified that his wife obtained a UK visa through standard channels, meeting the current salary requirement during her application.

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