Under new rules announced this month, people must be earning at least £38,700 to bring a family member or partner from abroad to the UK – more than double the current £18,700 minimum income requirement.
The salary will also apply to migrants applying for Skilled Worker visas, who must currently earn a minimum of £26,200 per year to come to Britain.
The wage requirements are expected to come into effect next spring as part of a swathe of Home Office visa changes. But families said they had been left in limbo after the Government did not confirm how the approach would work or whether the much higher earnings threshold applies to both visa renewals and new applications.
Mr Cleverly told LBC: “The proposals we put forward are forward looking not backward looking.
“We will make sure that we put clarity, because unfortunately, we made that announcement, and then the narrative moved on very, very quickly.
“And I’m conscious, that there are some people who at the moment are unsure and concerned because they don’t fully understand the proposals put forward. I have committed to make sure I have a clear explainer as to the implications on people.”
Asked whether those earning under £38,700 with family member already in the UK would be “okay”, Mr Cleverly replied: “Yes. This is forward looking rather than backward.”
A British mother-of-two who sponsors her Turkish husband to live in the UK told the Standard that the Government’s visa changes were “obscene” and would cause “severe” consequences for families who face being ripped apart.
“The idea that my children may no longer be able to live with their father in the same country they were born in…is just horrifying,” Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz told the Standard.
The policy and public affairs spokesperson for migrant charity Praxis is sponsoring her husband via a family visa so the couple can live together in Leicester with their two British citizen children, aged three and seven.
“I feel scared. If the Government can do this to British citizens, curtail our rights to family life in this way, with a stroke of a pen, what’s next?”
The Government has said it will out the full details of the visa changes in the near future.