The UK government instituted a rule that prohibited immigrants who don't earn more than a certain amount to bring their non european spouses over

Q1. Is the income test a form of discrimination against the poor?

Q2. Is the income test a form of discrimination based on geography given that it doesn't apply to european spouses?

Q3. Is the income test a form of racial discrimination given that most of the non european spouses are also non whites?

  • 1
    Comment because I don't have an answer for Q1, but the answer to Q2 is that it's discrimination on the basis of nationality, not geography, which is generally permitted in immigration ("european" in this case means "european union citizens"). Q3: do you have any source to back up your assertion that most of the non-European spouses are non whites?
    – phoog
    Feb 23 '17 at 23:47
  • Does the requirement to pay a lot of money for surgery discriminate against poor? What about studying in a prestigious university or hiring an expensive attorney? Feb 24 '17 at 6:34
  • @SalvadorDali While I see your point, you've actually picked two difficult examples there, since the UK's healthcare system is free at the point of delivery to its own citizens, and its education system offers certain means tested benefits to students from poor families. There are certainly examples of government fees and licenses which discriminate on income though.
    – origimbo
    Feb 24 '17 at 11:46
  • > Does the requirement to pay a lot of money for surgery discriminate against poor? Absolutely. That's why so many of us are pushing so hard for universal and free healthcare as a basic human right. If healthcare is a basic human right, how can having your family together, having sex with your partner or spouses, pursuing happiness not be a basic human right? How can this incomes test not a gross and blatant violation off human rights?
    – dannyf
    Feb 24 '17 at 12:06
  • The same goes to free education and free legal defense, which is provided for free in most civilized societies.
    – dannyf
    Feb 24 '17 at 12:07

I understand the question to refer to the income requirement on those applying for entry clearance to, leave to remain in or indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a non EEA partner or child of a British Citizen or person already present in the UK:

Q1. Does this discriminate against the poor? Yes, in as much as it will separate poor families, but not rich ones. However the test is acting as a proxy for the requirement that migrants must be able to support themselves and their dependents without recourse to public funds, which is a test applied to numerous other forms of visa, including for visitors, both by the UK and elsewhere, and is based on the view that countries have a right and duty to support their own citizens more than they do others. In other words the justification is that this is "an allowable discrimination".

Q2. The UK is currently a member of the European Union, and as such through interpretation of existing laws regarding freedom of movement doesn't issue or require entry clearance for EEA nations. As such, there is no point at which such a test on EEA partners could be applied. In principle if an EEA partner were found to be depending wholly on state benefits for more than six months, it might be possible to remove them, but I understand the legal situation to be complex.

Q3. It's unlikely it could be shown that the test is racially discriminatory, since it applies to all the people it's possible for it to do so, while Britain remains in the EU. When and if the UK finally renounces its membership, then it's possible this question could be revisited, however in the current political climate, it is more likely to be extended to all foreign nationals.

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