The 12 week UK government public consultation on reforms to family migration closes on Thursday 6 October 2011.
The consultation, which has so far received just 4,000 responses, focuses on ‘tackling abuse, promoting integration and reducing burdens on the taxpayer’.
Key proposals, which could become law, include:
- defining more clearly what constitutes a genuine and continuing marriage, to help identify sham marriages and forced marriages;
- introducing a new minimum income threshold for sponsors of spouses, partners and dependants, to ensure that family migrants are adequately supported as a basis for integration – the independent Migration Advisory Committee has been asked to advise on what the threshold should be;
- extending the probationary period before spouses and partners can apply for settlement in the UK from 2 years to 5 years, to test that relationships are genuine and to encourage integration into British life;
- requiring spouses, partners and adult dependants aged under 65 to demonstrate that they can understand everyday English (B1 level on the Common European Framework for Languages) when they apply for settlement;
- exploring the case for making ‘sham’ a lawful impediment to marriage in England and Wales, and for giving the authorities the power to delay a marriage where sham is suspected;
- working closely with local authorities to ensure that vulnerable people are not forced into marriage;
- reviewing the full right of appeal for family visitor visas, and inviting views on whether there are circumstances (beyond race discrimination and human rights grounds) in which a right of challenge should be retained; and
- looking at the operation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to respect for private and family life) and immigration.
If you would like to take part in the consultation, please make sure you return your response by midnight on Thursday 6 October. Please see the consultation section on the UKBA website for more information. Source: UK Border Agency.
Last week Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
‘the proposals, which are part of a public consultation on family migration to the UK, will prevent the family route being used to bypass our immigration laws, while welcoming those who want to make a life here with their family and contribute to their local community.
‘These are sensitive issues which have been ignored for far too long but ones we are determined to tackle.
‘We want a system that lets everyone know where they stand and what their responsibilities are. If your marriage is not genuine, if you have no interest in this country and its way of life, if you are coming here to live off benefits, don’t come in the first place.
‘That is why our focus is on delivering better family migration – better for migrants, for communities and for the UK as a whole.’
Early findings from the consultation launched in July 2011 show broad public support for many of the changes the government has proposed. The great majority back the proposed requirement that spouses and partners must have to understand everyday English before being allowed to settle here permanently.
Full details of the consultation on family migration can be found on the UKBA website.
The Minister has outlined the proposals on a YouTube question and answer video.
You can email him on email@example.com or tweet your questions @ukhomeoffice
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk