Launch of the APPG Migration inquiry report draws attention to the plight of divided families.
Today's launch of the inquiry report offers up an important opportunity to highlight the costs of this policy, but over the next few weeks there will be much more work to do, more evidence to gather and wider arguments to make. As campaigners we must build on the attention that this report will help to bring to the issue, to arm those that we know object to these policies from across the political parties with the arguments that they will need in order to champion a different approach.
Over the coming weeks we are hoping that MPs and peers will have the chance to debate the family migration rules, using both the report and all the other available evidence about the damage caused by the family migration - we will share all information about that as it emerges, and let you know how and when it might be most effective to feed into pre-debate briefings and/or lobby your MP.
But for now, here are two things you can do:
1. Sign the letter of support on the MRN website.
2. Put the 9th July in your diary. This, the one year anniversary of the new rules, is a Divided Families day of action, demonstration and lobbying at the Home Office and Parliament, organised by BritCits, JCWI, the Family Immigration Alliance and others. It will be a must-attend for those keen to campaign on this issue.
Let the Government know you support the Right to Family Life for everyone!
The All-Party parliamentary Group on Migration today launched their final report following a six-month inquiry into the New Family Migration Rules.
We are asking everyone concerned about the issue to sign a letter to the Government calling to reconsider the rules which are keeping families apart.
In partnership with others under the Divided Families Campaign, MRN is organising a demonstration in from of the Home Office to mark the first anniversary of the rules coming into effect. Come and join us!
When: 9 July, 4pm
Where: 2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF
Report on the Family Migration rules released.
This represents a landmark in the campaign and an extremely useful resource for us in the forthcoming activity to overturn the rules.
Free movement have also revealed the outcome of a freedom of information request, confirming a 20% increase in refusals to female applicants.
On the 9th July, ‘Divided Families day’, many of us will be gathering to protest against the rules, on the anniversary of the implementation last year – more details will follow. But in advance of this, please do take action to make the full impact of these rules known.
Immigration rules 'causing anguish', separating families.
The new minimum income threshold of £18,600 has forced separation between thousands of British citizens and their families, says a cross-party group of MPs, which is calling for an urgent review.
The group of MPs heard evidence from 175 families and said that the new minimum earnings requirements brought in last July had separated mothers from their babies, husbands from wives and elderly relatives from their British-based offspring.
Immigration reforms: what about the UK mums on the losing side, Mr Cameron?
... The results make for grim reading. While net migration continues to fall (though not as quickly as the Government promised), the numbers show significant inequality in where the losses are coming from. And the fallout extends far beyond migration policy, putting people who would not otherwise be on benefits into financially precarious circumstances.
One especially heartrending submission from a woman in Southeast England reads: “I am a British citizen. I have an eight month old daughter with my Moroccan husband... I have had to go on benefits for the first time in my life as I can’t afford to eat without them.”
She's not alone. Another British mum from East England reported: “I am a British citizen and ... my partner is Albanian... My baby is now two months old and an absolute joy to me. His father has only seen him via Skype. I’m now struggling to manage the final year of my degree on my own with a newborn.”
Some in the Government have suggested that the British partner could just move, and many are - but not all families have that option so are forced apart. Same-sex partners find it difficult to relocate to most other non-EU countries. Mums with children from previous partners are forced to choose between their spouses and their children.
The new minimum income threshold of £18,600 has separated thousands of British citizens from their partners and children.
The government’s quest for lower migration levels to the UK has driven a series of major reforms to the immigration rules since 2010. But as recent debate about the costs of reducing international students suggests, restrictive policies can have wider, and sometimes unintended, consequences.
A new report, launched today by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, has highlighted the impacts of recent rule changes on a group who would not previously have expected to be affected by tough immigration rules: ordinary British citizens hoping to build a family in the UK with a non-EEA husband, wife or partner.
The centrepiece of the new family migration rules, which came into force last July, is a new, fixed income requirement which now must be met by all British citizens and permanent residents seeking to sponsor a non-EEA spouse or partner to live with them in the UK.
British women disproportionately affected by new immigration rules.
A new Freedom of Information request has revealed that British women have been affected disproportionately compared against men by new minimum income rules for spouse and partner applications. There has been a 20% drop in the female-sponsored proportion of applications made, which suggests that women have been disproportionately put off applying for spouses to join them under the new regime. Of the applications that were made there has then been a further 23% drop in the female-sponsored proportion of successful applications in which a visa was subsequently issued.
The new rules were brought into force on 9 July 2012. The minimum income requirement for spouses and partners was increased dramatically to a hard threshold of at least £18,600, which has to be earned by the British-based spouse. Income from the foreign spouse was excluded for the first time and strict documentary and procedural requirements were also introduced, making it hard for the self-employed or even those with considerable personal wealth to succeed. Previously a lower and more flexible threshold of a minimum income equivalent to at least welfare benefit levels and without recourse to public funds was required, and the source of the income was not specified; income could be from either spouse or partner or even from family and friends. Family life campaigners and immigration lawyers warned that women would be disproportionately affected by the rule change because women on average continue to experience lower incomes than men. These predictions have, unfortunately, proven accurate.
Immigration policy tearing families apart, report shows.
Cross-party group calls for urgent review of rules, which have left thousands unable to live with spouses or partners in Britain.
The former Liberal Democrat children's minister, Sarah Teather, said the new rules on family migration showed that the government was far from meeting its pledge to support family life in Britain: "During the course of the inquiry we heard from many families in which British children are being made to grow up away from a parent, or where families had been forced to move overseas in order to be together. Whatever the objective of the policy, children shouldn't suffer as a result. Now is the time to take another look at the policy."
MPs raise alarm over policy which breaks up British families.
One of the coalition's immigration policies is splitting up British families and leading children to be raised without their parents, MPs warned today.
Members of the all-party group on migration said a new requirement for Brits to be earning £18,600 if they are bringing a non-EU spouse into the country needs to be urgently reviewed.
"During the course of the inquiry we heard from many families in which British children are being made to grow up away from a parent, or where families had been forced to move overseas in order to be together," former Liberal Democrat children's minister Sarah Teather said.
"Whatever the objective of the policy, children shouldn't suffer as a result. Now is the time to take another look at the policy."
Brits lose out when policy is led by blunt targets.
New research published today lays bare the negative impact of the UK’s management of immigration on British people. The report, from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, shows that the government’s efforts to bear down on immigration numbers through tightening rules on family migration has led to hardship for many.
Examples include British families ‘stuck’ abroad, young British children growing up without a parent and in one case a breast-feeding mother separated from her British baby. According to calculations in the report, as many as 47 per cent of people in employment in the UK would fail to meet the income level needed (£18,600 p/a) to sponsor a non-EEA partner to come to the UK.
Are new family migration rules simply a pointless burden for families?
Evidence shows that British citizens wishing to build a family with a non-EEA national are finding themselves unable to do so. In 45 of the submitted cases, young children are having the right to contact with both parents taken away indefinitely due to their families’ inability to reach minimum income requirements. The minimum income requirement, however, is far above the minimum income bracket that would make a family ineligible for benefits, a situation the APPG calls “perverse”.
'My wife's not allowed in the UK'.
New migration rules for people from outside the European Union are "tearing British families apart", a group of MPs and peers have claimed in a report.
They said thousands of Britons have been unable to bring a non-EU spouse to the UK since July 2012, when minimum earnings requirements were introduced.
The rules mean that any British citizen who wants to sponsor their non-European spouse's visa need to be able to show they earn at least £18,600 a year, rising to £22,400 to sponsor a child, and a further £2,400 for each further child.
One man, Douglas Shillinglaw, explained to the Today programme's Evan Davis that his wife and son were living in Nigeria and were not allowed to join him in the UK because of the rules.
The government's drive to achieve its target of net migration of below 100,000 a year is producing some unintended consequences.
The damage being done to the UK's £8 billion higher education sector has already been given coverage on several occasions. But there are other victims of the recent changes in immigration policy which have received far less attention.
Amongst these are the non-EU spouses of British citizens earning less than £18,600. The government has targeted this group with the justification that their financial position makes their spouse a burden on the public purse. The government's own impact report estimates that up to 17,800 British people will be prevented from being reunited with their spouse every year as a result.
Critics of this approach have pointed out that these financial requirements are set at a too high level, with an individual in fulltime employment at the minimum wage level falling over £5,600 short of the requirement. When measured against the earnings of the entire UK working population, almost half (47%) would be unable to meet the income threshold.
Needless heartbreak: new UK rules on family migration.
When it comes to designing public policy on any issue concerning family life you would think that human rights would be a pretty good place to start.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with new family migration rules introduced by the Home Office in July 2012. Today the All-Party Group on Migration issued a report (PDF) looking at the impact of what happens when politicians refuse to be guided by human rights obligations. The report follows a six month inquiry into what has followed since the Home Office applied stringent new measures on minimum levels of income which people need to demonstrate before they can bring a non-EEA partner or children to settle with them in the UK.
The new rules require the sponsor of the family member to demonstrate that they have been earning an income of at least £18,600 per annum. If they do not meet the threshold through their income, they can make up the difference through considerable cash savings.
For some people – not least a number of Parliamentarians who were surprised that the figure was set at only £18,600 — this might seem a modest level of income. It rises considerably higher in the not unusual case of children being involved. If one non-British child is present then the minimum income level becomes £22,400, and every additional child hikes up that amount by a further £2,400.
A group of MPs says that thousands of British citizens are being unfairly separated from their foreign born spouses and children because immigration rules are too restrictive.
Radio 5 Live phone-in.
The new rules state that UK nationals or permanent residents hoping to sponsor a spouse or partner from abroad must have a minimum annual income of £18,600. If the spouse or partner is living abroad, their income at the moment or any potential future income in the UK does not count towards meeting the threshold. Cash savings can be factored in, but the starting point is £16,000, banked for six months before the application: if you have only £16,000 in the bank, your savings component is nil. As far as I can see, your net worth – in the form of a property you share with your bank, for instance – cannot be factored in to the new requirements for family reunion.
So, for example, the husband of a British woman who inherited a mortgaged flat in the Midlands, worked for five years, left for the US, met and married a US citizen, and then returned to pursue a postgraduate degree, would not be able to bring her husband to the UK. The partner of another British citizen who had served nine years in the army and wanted to bring her husband – ‘currently earning more than I do overseas’ – to live with her in Yorkshire might as well forget it. (Most applications for non-EEA partners to come to Britain are made by women; Home Office figures show that 66 per cent of non-EEA men arriving via family ties find work ‘compared to 64 per cent for all UK males’.) Most healthcare workers will not be eligible either.
If you want to sponsor a child as well as a partner – you’re probably a man in this case – the minimum income requirement rises to £22,400, with a further £2400 for each additional child. It is now extremely difficult to bring in adult dependents – the ageing parent of a doctor in Perth, an only child, must be left to her own devices in India.
Financial restrictions on who is permitted to bring a non-EU spouse into the UK are having a damaging effect on families, according to a group of MPs and peers.
Rules introduced in July 2012 mean that in order for a British citizen to sponsor a visa for a spouse from outside of the EU, they must be able to demonstrate that they are earning a minimum of £18,600 a year.
This increases to £22,400 to sponsor a visa for any child they have, and another £2,400 on top of that for each additional child.
But the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration have called for a review of the policy, which they say is "causing anguish for families" who are being forced apart because of it, including British children who are separated from non-EU parents.
Stockton father slams immigration policies tearing his family apart.
THE FATHER of a boy estranged from his American mother has slammed new immigration laws.
Guy Bailey, whose five-year-old son Vince has not seen his mother Stacey since April, said new policies on non-EU immigrants are tearing families apart.
Rules that came into force in July 2012 state anyone hoping to bring their non-EU spouse to the country must prove they earn at least £18,600 a year or £22,400 if they also wish to sponsor a child – with a further £2,400 being required for each additional child.
MPs and peers attack the earnings threshold imposed on Britons who want to support a spouse or child from outside the EU.
British citizens are being separated from partners and children from outside the European Union (EU) by new migration rules that are "causing anguish for families", a group of parliamentarians has found.
Migration rules may 'be costing the public purse'.
Migration rules are causing "anguish" to families and may even be costing the public money, according the chairwoman of the inquiry.
Baroness Hamwee, the Liberal Democrats home affairs lead in the House of Lords, said: "We were struck by the evidence showing just how many British people have been kept apart from partners, children and elderly relatives.
"These rules are causing anguish for families and, counter to their original objectives, may actually be costing the public purse."
The unnamed sponsor.
My good friend married their Peruvian girlfriend in May 2012 and applied for a visa in the summer as they had lived previously together in Peru.
He had to take a second job in order to make the minimum income criteria. He was initially happy to do this until the tragic consequences became clear.
Earlier this year his wife fell pregnant. Knowing that even with 2 jobs he could not meet the minimum income criteria for a wife and child his wife was forced to terminate the pregnancy.
She is now back in Peru awaiting the next visa application and has no support as she is unable to discuss the tragedy with her catholic family, and her husband and UK friends are not with her.
I want to petition to end this disgusting infringement of pur basic human right. What kind of government would force women to have abortions to possibly save only pennies.
Via Google Plus :
A great day today. The #APPG report has been published (http://www.appgmigration.org.uk/family-inquiry) with the BBC commenting "UK's new visa rules 'causing anguish' for families" ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22833136) and Channel 4 doing a piece on the news at 7 tonight. He's hoping for some change soon and the end to #settlementvisanightmare.
https://twitter.com/emmabmoussa , via Facebook :
Just been solicitors guys to put in appeal so the reasons for refusal were apparently I'm not married to my husband but here's the best part I'm not British!
(She certainly sounds British. This is a joke, surely).
Long day time to go bk to my baby, parliament went well seated next to JCWI britcits and chris Bryant shadow immigration minister. Then got told that mark harper immigration minister thinks I'm harassing him lol aint spoken to you mate but I will now after picking up my husbands refusal. The best part of the day my husband was refused a visa partly down to me NOT being British, so apparently if ur born in Dartford u ain't a Brit lol
The Immigration Minister believes that a person can survive on £1,820 per year, he is not convinced that Britons who merry foreigners should be allowed to do so unless they are earning a minimum of £18,600. Read our latest blog post about the latest insult to injury in what our asylum system has become.
As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air — however slight — lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
- William O. Douglas.
Something completely different... Incomers and castaways in the Hebrides.