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A number of changes to the Immigration Rules come into effect on 9 July 2012. These changes will affect non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK under the family migration route.

These changes will define the basis on which a person can enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family or private life, unifying consideration under the rules and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

If you already have leave to enter or remain in the UK, on the basis of being the spouse or partner of a settled person, you will need to meet the rules which were in force before 9 July 2012 if you apply for settlement.

The changes include:

  • introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child;
  • publishing, in casework guidance, a list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships, to help UK Border Agency caseworkers to focus on these issues;
  • extending the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses and partners from two years to five years, to test the genuineness of the relationship;
  • abolishing immediate settlement for the migrant spouses and partner where a couple have been living together overseas for at least 4 years, and requiring them to complete a 5 year probationary period;