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Baroness Warsi attacks ‘racist’ Home Office crackdown on family immigration | Immigration Matters

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The Independent reports on a row between Conservative co-chairman and Home Secretary Theresa May over new restrictions on bringing in non-EU brides, husbands and partners to Britain.

Baroness Warsi apparently pleaded with cabinet colleagues to drop what she warned would be seen as a “racist” policy when they discussed curbs on migrants bringing family members to live with them in Britain.

The row exploded when Theresa May, the Home Secretary, proposed that UK citizens earning less than £40,000 should not be allowed to bring in a foreign wife or husband, The Independent has learnt. Lady Warsi, the Conservative Party co-chairman and the first Muslim woman to sit in the Cabinet, warned that such a policy would amount to a “whites only” entry rule, with family members living in the Punjab having no chance of getting to this country. Cabinet colleagues say she warned bluntly that such a policy would be viewed as “racist”.

The Tory peer, whose own father came to Britain from the Punjab, mounted a successful rearguard action against the Home Office plan after winning the backing of Nick Clegg and his fellow Liberal Democrat ministers. Ms May was forced to back down and announced a much lower income threshold of £18,600 last week, with a further £2,200 for each child.

Lady Warsi’s office declined to comment. But one ally said: “Sayeeda does feel passionately about this issue.” A Whitehall source confirmed: “She fought her corner very strongly. Other ministers took what she was saying very seriously.” Last month, the Tory co-chairman raised eyebrows by saying that a small minority of Pakistani men saw white girls as “fair game”. Nine Muslim men had been found guilty of grooming girls for sex in Rochdale. Greater Manchester Police had played down claims about a racial element.

Another cabinet dispute over immigration looms over a plan to exclude foreign students from the official figures. This is being floated by David Willetts, the Conservative Universities minister, and Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, who are said to be arguing that international students should not be counted because the vast majority only stay in Britain temporarily. The move would boost David Cameron’s prospects of meeting his pledge to reduce net migration to under 100,000 a year. It is currently running at 250,000.

But it is being opposed by the Home Office. Damian Green, the Immigration minister, has insisted that the Government is on course to meet its target without “fiddling” the figures. He told BBC2’s Newsnight programme that ministers could not “redefine” its way out of a problem. “Changing the thermometer does not change the temperature,” he said.

Yesterday, Mr Green turned his fire on Labour as the party began to launch a tougher stance on immigration. He told The Independent: “This feels to me eerily reminiscent of Gordon Brown talking about British jobs for British workers. Unless they are proposing to rewrite the rules of the European Union they could be promising to deliver in an area where action is least likely.”

Moves to increase the penalties for people-trafficking will be announced by the Home Office today. The Attorney General will gain the power to appeal against what are viewed as lenient sentences for criminal gangs bringing in overseas nationals. Source: Independent.

Earlier this month the Home Office announced that from 9 July 2012 anyone wanted to marry a foreigner (non-EEA European Economic Area nationality) and live in the UK together must earn £18,600. 

In cases where the foreign-born spouse has children, their British partner would have to earn £22,400 or more, plus £2,400 for eac additional children.

The government wants to change the immigration rules to prevent lower-paid Britons from bringing in husbands or wives who will effectively be dependant on state benefits as soon as they arrive in the UK. 

Cynthia Barker, of Immigration Advisers Bison Management, has dealt with thousands of dependant visa applications and appeals and feels the new rules will mostly exclude first generation migrant workers who usually earn lower wages than similarly qualified native workers.

‘The rules will particularly hit Senior Carers and some Nurses earning less than £9.00 per hour who want their partners and children to join them in the UK. 

‘Traditionally, one family member will emigrate to the UK on a work permit and get established with a secure job and housing before applying for their dependants to join them. 

‘But after years of working and paying taxes without ever claiming benefits they could find that they can no longer sponsor dependants because of this new rule.’ 

Cynthia’s advice to those who wish to sponsor their dependants is to ‘act sooner rather than later’.

See also:


Labour leader Miliband confirms immigration U-turn

Home Secretary says firms should stop complaining about immigation cap while judges receive instructions from Parliament on Human Rights Laws

How Romanians and Bulgarians working illegally without Yellow Card or papers can legalise their status in the UK

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals


7 tips for completing a Yellow Card BR1 application to work and study in the UK

Health care workers needed in UK now

Employment restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians extended until end of 2013

Filipino Fiancé(e)s, Spouses and Partners of Foreign Nationals need exit clearance sticker in order to leave the Philippines

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an Appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians. For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email

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  4. […] changes, which according to the Independent were opposed by Conservative Party co-Chairman Baroness Warsi,  could see a raft of legal challenges and appeals on ‘Article 8’ Human Rights grounds, as […]

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