R (on the application of MM (Lebanon)) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) and Others [2017] UKSC 10

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) is "acceptable in principle" and compatible with European human rights legislation.

The MIR, which was inserted into the Immigration Rules in July 2012, states that a UK citizen must earn a minimum of £18,600 per annum before they can apply for spouses or partners from non-EEA states. It replaced a less prescriptive set of rules which broadly required the parties to prove that they had sufficient means to live "adequately… without recourse to public funds".

The Court acknowledged that applicants "have been faced with something of a moving target", especially because many relationships would have been formed before the change was introduced. It also noted that female sponsors, sponsors from certain ethnic groups and sponsors from certain parts of the country would be disproportionately affected by the threshold. However, it held that this in and of itself did not render the MIR unlawful.

The judgment outlined its suggested revisions to what it considered to be the defective aspects of the MIR, such as making clearer the Secretary of State's duty to children in such situations, as well as allowing for alternative sources of funding to be included in deliberations when calculating the relevant citizen's minimum income. However, it stopped short of indicating how these defects should be corrected, and adjourned the question of remedies to allow time for the Secretary of State to indicate how she proposes to amend the instructions and other guidance. The Court may consider whether a further hearing is necessary once they have received the Secretary of State's written submissions.