THE UK Government could face legal action over its plans to introduce an income threshold for migrants of £38,700.

Thousands of families with one British partner and one from abroad are set to be impacted by the “cruel and inhumane” policy, which is due to be introduced next spring.

Tory ministers have threatened families with division or exile with the introduction of the threshold for couples living together in the UK.

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The policy means that only those earning £38,700 will be allowed to bring family members to join them in the UK, up from £18,600.

This could force couples to either live separately or leave the UK altogether.

The Guardian reports that Reunite Families, a campaign group for people impacted by immigration rules, has instructed law firm Leight Day to explore a potential legal challenge.

One family affected described Home Secretary James Cleverly’s announcement on December 4 as couples being “punished for falling in love”.

The National:

Cleverly (above) called the policy part of a “crackdown on those who try to jump the queue and exploit our immigration system”.

The newspaper reports that scores of people impacted had been in touch with journalists, with one stating that it was “ruining our plans for a happy future”.

Others raised fears over the policy or described it as an “atrocity”.

“I have never seen our community so galvanised and upset,” said Caroline Coombs, co-founder and chief executive of Reunite Families.

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She said the threshold was a “horrendous shock for tens of thousands of British citizens and their loved ones”.

“To declare it just before Christmas and leave people with no details is just utterly cruel,” she added.

A legal challenge could be sought on grounds of the government’s handling of impact assessments ahead of the rule change, how the £38,700 threshold was calculated, or whether the change interferes with the right to family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

“We have instructed the law firm, Leigh Day, to advise us on potential legal avenues,” Reunite Families said.

The National:

“Given the absolute lack of information currently provided on the policy, we want further detail from the Home Secretary on the policy as a first step.”

The Home Office has said it will “confirm more details in due course” on the policy, leaving open the possibility that families already living together in the UK under existing rules could be split up or forced to move abroad if they do not meet the criteria when their visa comes up for renewal.

“They need answers now – not next week or next year,” Coombs told the Guardian.

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“For children all over the country, this is an exciting time to spend with Mummy and Daddy and it’s just heartbreaking to know that so many caught up in this will not get the chance to be with one of them now or possibly ever. Even Scrooge and the Grinch saw the light – let’s hope the government will do the same.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have a longstanding principle that anyone bringing dependents to live in the UK must be able to financially support them.

“The minimum income requirement ensures that families are self-sufficient instead of relying on public funds, with the ability to integrate if they are to play a full part in British life.”