Lowe minimum income requirement agreed for the Armed Forces

Tuesday 19th March 2024

The Government has announced new immigration rules that has increased the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) to £29,000 to sponsor family members to enter, stay or settle in the UK.

As part of the Defence Secretary’s commitment to drive recruitment and aid retention, The Ministry of Defence has agreed with the Home Office that this MIR will be lower for Armed Forces to align with the salary threshold on completion of training. This bespoke MIR recognises the vital contribution that our personnel, including those from the Commonwealth and Nepal, have in defending the nation, alongside aligning with the Armed Forces Covenant.

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Families Federation advocated for Service families negatively affected

The RAF Families Federation, alongside the Army Families Federation and Naval Families Federation, were a catalyst for the change by raising concerns about the increase in the MIR to £29,000 and then £38,700 in 2025, when it was announced last year.

Together, we sought assurances that the contribution of personnel serving in the UK Armed Forces would be recognised when finalising these rules.

Positive changes for Service families

Whilst the MIR is increasing, it is only increasing to the minimum threshold of the UK Armed Forces pay £23,496. All those serving will earn this once training is completed.

This will support serving personnel with foreign national family members to bring their loved ones to the UK, allowing the family to stay together and give the recruit the support they need throughout their career in Defence.

Additionally, there is no longer an additional income requirement for children. (Previously, £18,600 for a partner, £22,400 for a partner and one child, and a further £2,400 for each additional child sponsored). The MIR will now be the same regardless of the number of children brought to the UK.

RAF Families Federation Director, Maria Lyle said:

“The RAF Families Federation is delighted to see this change, after we joined with the Army Families Federation and the Naval Families Federation in flagging the impact of this change on non-UK service personnel and their families.”

Transitional agreements

From 11 April 2024, the MIR for HM Armed Forces personnel and service leavers sponsoring visas or settlement applications for family members will align with the salary threshold on completion of training, currently £23,496. This is lower than the £29,000 for all other groups.

The Ministry of Defence has worked with the Home Office to agree this lower threshold for HM Armed Forces, which was included in new immigration rules laid on 14 March 2024. The MIR for HM Armed Forces will be reviewed in line with the annual pay award.

There are transitional arrangements for those who, before 11 April, already have entry clearance or leave to enter or remain (also known as permission to enter or permission to stay), or who have applied for it (and are being granted), who have already met the MIR.

This will ensure that they are not disadvantaged by having to meet a new MIR. Other aspects of the MIR will remain unchanged, such as the various ways in which it can be met and the application process.

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