UK Children's Commissioners endorse the concerns of the APPG Migration report on family immigration policy.
The four Children's Commissioners (for, respectively, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) have put out a briefing endorsing the recommendations set out in the All Party Parliamentary Group in Migration report on family sponsorship, which was published yesterday.
The Commissioners have the authority to set our their views on the operation of UK law in respect of the position of children. In their briefing they draw attention to the problems that will be created for children whose parents are prevented from establishing a family home together as a result of the operation of the relevant immigration rules.
The briefing states:
We support the central recommendation of the report calling on the Government “to commission an independent review of the minimum income requirement” drawing on evidence of the impact of the changes made to the family migration rules since July 2012. In particular we welcome the proposal that the Immigration Rules should:
“....ensure that children are supported to live with their parents in the UK where their best interests require this. Decision-makers should ensure that duties to consider the best interests of children are fully discharged when deciding non-EEA partner applications. Consideration should be given to enabling decision-makers to grant entry clearance where the best interests of the child require it.”
https://twitter.com/JCWInews tweets :
The next step to scrap these iniquitous family immigration restrictions: PROTEST at The Home Office, Marsham Street July 9 at 4pm. Be there.
The All Party Parliamentary Group reports!
Having held two evidence sessions earlier this year, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration today published the report of its inquiry into the Family Immigration Rules of July 2012.
They had a lot of evidence to wade through 280 written submissions from individuals, lawyers, businesses and MPs, and the report they have produced roundly condemns the rules. It constitutes an important document, coming from representatives of all parties in Parliament. Although lacking the weight of a select committee report, it provides ammunition and a good deal of irresistible data for the case against the rules.
CCLC supports parliamentarians' call for an urgent review of the family migration rules.
Coram Children’s Legal Centre welcomes the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration into the new family migration rules.
CCLC in particular welcomes the recommendation that the family migration rules should ensure that children are supported to live with their parents in the UK where their best interests require this and that decision-makers ensure that duties to consider the best interests of children are fully discharged.
In CCLC’s experience, the new family migration rules have, since their introduction on 9 July 2012, divided children from their parents and damaged children’s lives. CCLC has been contacted for advice by a significant number of families devastated by this enforced separation. Children, including British citizen children, are being hit by the government’s harmful policy, contrary to their best interests and in breach of their legal rights.
It is incumbent on the government to ensure consistent application in policy and practice of the best interests of the child, as set out in the recent guidance of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
CCLC supports the APPG’s call for an urgent review of the new rules and calls on the government to uphold its legal obligations to children and honour its stated commitment to supporting families.
https://twitter.com/amit_kapadia tweets :
no civilised country can think of bringing in rules to deprive their citizens a family life, but ministers here are doing just that
The conclusions of today's All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, that the changes in the family immigration rules are unfair and causing families to be split up, should come as no surprise. It was obvious to anyone who knows even a small amount about the immigration system that they would have a terrible and heartbreaking impact.
As global communications and travel become easier, so it becomes more and more likely that people are going to fall in love with someone from a different part of the world. If that someone is from within the EU, as it was for Nick Clegg, then they have a perfect right to live together with them in this country. If, however, they are from outside the UK, the process was always a bit more complex. Last year, however, the Government introduced stringent and inflexible new income limits, based on the income of the UK spouse, which makes it much more difficult. The report shows that the number of applications refused rocketed from 1 in 10 in the first quarter of 2012 to not that far off 1 in 2 after the change came in.
The rules are particularly unfair if you are a woman married to a non EU resident. I have a friend who lives in Japan with her husband. She's not in employment because she's at home looking after her children. Her husband earns more than enough to support the family, yet there is no way they would, under the current rules, get in to live in the UK as a family. Women are doubly at a disadvantage because even if they are in work they are likely to be earning less than a man doing the same job. We're supposed to have equal pay, but as the Fawcett Society will tell you, if you compare all work, for every £1 a man takes home, a woman earns 85p.
The BBC has a number of examples of families affected by this, including that of a British woman due to give birth next month and feared her Japanese husband could be deported at any time. It's not as though she doesn't have enough money to support the family, it's just not salaried income as she is self-employed. Another example from the report tells how a 5 month old breastfed baby was forcibly separated from its mother because of these rules. How wrong and how heartbreaking is that? I remember dealing with a similar case. At that time it was against the Home Office's own policy to separate mother and baby in those circumstances but it ignored it anyway. How can we allow such cruelty to happen? There is no need. It's not as if spouses can claim benefits anyway.
https://twitter.com/VirendraSharma in Hansard ( http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130610/debtext/130610-0001.htm#13061011000532 ):
Mr Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall) (Lab): The recent report on family migration by the all-party migration group—I am vice-chair of the inquiry committee—shows that the processing time for non-European economic area partner applications has significantly increased over the past 18 years. What is the Minister doing to keep families united rather than dividing them?
Mr Harper: My response to the hon. Gentleman, who takes a very close interest in these matters, is similar to the one that I gave to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden). He is right: in the past financial year, those processing times increased. We have split family applications for spouses from, so to speak, straightforward applications, and we are making decisions on them much more quickly. They had been grouped with applications that were taking a great deal of time. The hon. Gentleman will see in the latest figures that we have made a great improvement, and I hope to see more of that in future.
http://brentlibdems.org.uk/en/contact/sarah-teather-mp also in Hansard :
Sarah Teather (Brent Central) (LD): Have Ministers checked whether the family migration rules are compliant with our obligations under the United Nations convention on the rights of the child?
Mr Harper: Yes, we are confident that they are. Last week I met the chair of the all-party group on migration, the noble Baroness Hamwee, to discuss the report. The Government will consider the recommendations in that report, but my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has set out clearly the objective of the family migration rules: to ensure that those who want to make their family life in the United Kingdom are able to support their families, rather than expecting the taxpayer to do so.
Thanks to https://twitter.com/DavidWardMP , https://twitter.com/PeteWishart , https://twitter.com/JackDromeyMP , https://twitter.com/KateGreenSU for strong leadership on the issue.
https://twitter.com/emmabmoussa tweets :
after appg yesterday I went to pick up my husbands visa refusal. A reason being ukba say I'm not British! I was born in Kent.
https://twitter.com/BritCits tweets :
Disappointed not to see u @Mark_J_Harper at @APPGMigration report launch on ur pet subject.Happy reading nonetheless.
The British Institute of Human Rights Tour 2013.
Via Facebook :
'I just received information about the British Institute of Human Rights conference tour which will take place between 10th September and 18th October. It is a FREE conference. I'm hoping that as many people from this campaign will attend and spread the word to as many people as possible. The tour will go to 16 cities all over the UK. The BIHR were present at the demonstrations on 9th July last year against the rules. Organisations and individuals attending are almost certain to be sympathetic to this cause. It will be a great networking opportunity. I have already booked my place to the Cardiff event. Please see if there's a city close to you that you could attend. Did I mention that it's FREE :) . I went last year and it was great! '
'Just wrote this to Maternity Action. All of you with young children/babies, please write to them with your own stories.
Dear Maternity Action.
I would like to bring this issue to your attention. In July 2012 new immigration rules were introduced which means that British citizens with a partner /spouse from outside the EEA cannot live in the UK with their partner unless they earn 18.600 or more. An All Party Parliarmentary group yesterday released a report on the effects that these rules are having on families.
They found that these rules are causing thousands of families to break up. Many of these families have young children or babies.
I am a member of a Campaign group which is lobbying to get the government to review these laws. We are aware of many women who are forced to give birth without their partners, and babies and toddlers who are separated from their mother or father for long periods of time.
We are aware of some families where the father has never seen their baby and only gets to have contact via Skype, in spite of being in a loving relationship with the mother and wanting to be with them.
The rules have created a generation of married single mothers and babies who are being damaged by forced family separation and in some cases family breakdown.
Please help us to put pressure on the government to scrap these rules. We would like to raise more awareness of the rules and their devastating effects.
The Migrants Rights Network has launched a petition which I include here.
Please see the attached links.
'If you're going through hell, keep going.' - Churchill.