Expressing alarm over statistics which claims that one in three foreign spouses are either of Indian or Pakistani origin, pressure group Migration Watch UK has called for the introduction of stricter rules for those who want to marry a foreign partner to ensure confidence in the immigration system, The Economic Times reports.
It called for a crackdown on marriages arranged for immigration purposes, which it said could be “harmful to the cohesion of our society”.
According to the Daily Mirror, Migration Watch UK demanded full interviews for those wanting marriage visas, with a specific focus on those with a low average age of marriage, and tougher earnings and language conditions should be brought in before a visa is granted.
The number of people given leave to enter the UK as spouses rose from 21,000 in 1992 to 47,000 in 2006, before falling to 31,000 in 2009, figures showed.
Most foreign spouses come from Pakistan or India, and, together with those from Bangladesh, they accounted for almost one in three foreign spouses in 2009.
In its report, Migration Watch UK said the “virtual abandonment” of the interview process in recent years “leaves the door wide open for marriages where one or both parties have come under pressure to marry against their will”.
“It also fails to ensure that the spouse will not become a burden on public funds and that the spouse has the language skills necessary to integrate into wider society,” it said.
Sir Andrew Green, the group’s chairman, said the measures would be “fair to those who seek to marry a foreign partner while also commanding the confidence of the majority of the population – something which at present is sadly lacking”.
Reports published last month show that net immigration flows have hit their highest level for six years with numbers increasing from Eastern Europe, even from Bulgaria and Romania despite restrictions on working in the UK.
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