New immigration family proposals

UKBA has today issued its worrying consultation on reforming routes for family migration.  This is just a consultation at this stage which we’ll be encouraging you to respond to. It closes on 6 October 2011.

We’ll being doing a lot more on these proposals and teasing out the finer detail but we’ve had a  very quick preliminary read through (for the full detail see here) and have set out a summary of the key proposals below. We’d welcome any comments you have.

Spouses

  • the introduction of a specific minimum income requirement (for maintenance  purposes) for British and settled sponsors to bring family members over – MAC is to advise on the level
  • an extension of the probationary period for spouses so that they will wait five instead of two years before they are able to settle
  • the introduction of a more specfic definition of what constitutes ‘a genuine and continuing relationship”
  • pushing up the language level requirements for settlement purposes from A1 to B1 level
  • requiring the production of more substantial documentation to substantiate marriage applications
  • examining interview arrangements for sponsors
  • the ending of the possibility of  immediate settlement for those who have been married for 4 years and are living abroad- it is proposed that such individuals will also have to complete a 5 year settlement period
  • restricting the ability of those sponsored as a spouse to sponsor another spouse or partner from within 5 years of settlement
  • the possibility of a requirement to take out medical insurance for certain family members (the detail of this will be in a consultation by the Department of Health)
  • introduction of powers to delay marriages which are suspected of being ‘sham’ marriages and the introduction of sham ‘lawful impediment’ to marriage in England and Wales
  •  and greater work with the European Commission to address this
  • combining some functions of the registrar of the UK Border Agency and marriage registrars
  • legislating to make forced marriage a criminal offence

Other family members

  • the introduction of a specific income threshold for sponsors of dependants for maintenance and accommodation – MAC is to advise on this
  • the ending of indefinite leave to enter for adult dependants and dependants aged 65 or over and the introduction of a 5 year settlement period
  • the introduction of a more exacting requirement for dependence in the case of parents/grandparents aged 65, and the possibility of increasing the age threshold
  • the introduction of pre-entry language requirements for dependants aged 16 or 17, or aged under 65 (level A1 standard)
  • introducing changes to the length of leave granted to 17 year old dependants nearing their 18th birthday
  • the introduction of more exacting settlement language requirements at B1 level for the above groups

PBS family members

  • increasing the probationary period from 2-5 years- with only time spent in the UK counting towards this
  • the introduction of a higher B1 English language requirement for dependants who wish to settle in the UK

Family visit visas

  • limiting thre grounds of appeal in relation to family visit visa decisions only in ECHR/race discrimination cases

Article 8 ECHR

  • opening up a discussion of the issues around Article 8 and immigration control
  • seeking views on the balance between the right to private and family life and the public interest

About jcwi

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is a key campaigning voice in the field of immigration, asylum and nationality law and policy. It is completely independent from government funding, remaining entirely free from government influence. View all posts by jcwi

12 responses to “New immigration family proposals

  • Kemi

    Spouses

    I think most of the new points to be introduced are needed in the UK immigration policy as most have used the spouse route inadequately. Increase from 2-5 years is good. Interview arrangement for sponsor is proper and independent arrangement for the parties are also essential. Prohibitting spouse sponsor to sponsor another spouse during 5 years of settlement should be increased to 7 years of settlement. Medical insurance should be mandatory for spouse of british citizen until they have settlement on the 5th anniversary of their wedding. This will make only genuine people apply for spouse visa.

    Family members;
    Specific maintenance requiirment of abour £5000 for the family dependant to be sponsored. Medical insurance for family members over the age of 18 years. Settlement requirment to be 5 years for adult dependant and age of adult dependant to be 70years.

  • Jing

    Hi. We are small operation specializing in helping individuals to enter and remain UK legally. Over the past 4 years we have seen worrying trend of deteriorating quality of service provided by UKBA, particularly case workers. It is becoming more and more common for case workers to do administrative mistakes and errors when judging applications such as overlooking included paperwork etc.
    The recent changes to student visas are regretable in a sense that the Government in their rush to please the electorate have began eliminating important level of education – one below University. There seems to be policy of total wipe out of private colleges – an important step for many students before they decide to join degree courses. There Government can not honestly believe that everyone wants to study at University but students coming to UK will be left with little choice from next year.

    Another worrying consultation – this time on family migration – is looming. The solution to rectify the system is more simple than most people think. Reform the benefits system and you will get reduced and fairer immigration too. British, native people often associate immigration with benefits culture and cheating. This is wrong and based on myths and media hate campaigns.

    There has been more Irish people moving into UK than ”East European” but nobody seem to blame them for taking British jobs and milking the system. This also says something about the oppenes of the British towards other cultures and nationalities.

  • Jing

    In regards to the family consultation, in particular spouses migration, we believe:
    – no minimum income level should be set-up.
    – no objections towards moving the probationary period from 2 to 5 years
    – language requirement should stay at level A1
    – we generally agree with the requirement to take our private medical insurance for everyone who do not have indefinite leave to remain – so yes.
    – the documentation needed now to support marriage applications is sufficient and we do not see a point to require further documentation for married couples.

  • Mark

    Worth noting that it says, for the income threshold, they’ll only take into account the sponsor’s job/savings, but it doesn’t make it clear that this is just for external visas – the threshold seems to equally apply to in-country applications. This could potentially lead to present and settled families who are well-off or at least comfortably supporting themselves to be torn apart, because the applicant is the one earning the more money or has the savings in their account, but this won’t be recognised. Could also exclude disabled sponsors. Any income threshold also cannot be based on London salaries/living costs.

  • nyla

    “New immigration family proposals”

    Having put together applications for spouses to join my family members here in the UK I feel that:
    No to the introduction of a specific minimum income requirement (for maintenance purposes)should not be introduced
    Yes to an extension of the probationary period for spouses so that they will wait five instead of two years before they are able to settle
    No to pushing up the language level requirements for settlement purposes from A1 to B1 level as the current level is enough to get on with your day to day living in teh UK.
    No to requiring the production of more substantial documentation to substantiate marriage applications as currently collecting all the evidence I feel is enough to show proof of incoem and maintenance details.
    No to examining interview arrangements for sponsors as collecting the evidence is enough and having an interview to repeat teh same process??

  • Equality Updates 14th July

    […] New Immigration Family Proposals (13/07/11): UKBA has today issued its worrying consultation on reforming routes for family migration.  This is just a consultation at this stage which we’ll be encouraging you to respond to. It closes on 6 October 2011. https://jcwi.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/new-immigration-family-proposals/ […]

  • YLT

    I say a minimum household income should be required but it should apply regardless of who is earning, applicant or sponsor. If an applicant has been supporting the family for 2 years while the sponsor stays home with the children, they have demonstrated that they can provide for themselves and a family. If they want to up the probationary period from 2 to 5 fine, but it needs to be done for applicants going for FLR from a specific date in future. Otherwise it is not fair for those now who have lived in the UK for 2 years to be required to add 3 more probationary years before applying for ILR.

  • Rose

    NO to the extension of Probationary Period from 2 to 5. The extension to probationary period would lead to more Domestic Violence cases as the British Spouse would know that the other half is fully dependent on them and they have to take all the misbehaves from them if they want to stay in the country and want the relationship to work otherwise they can chuck them out of country easily. Foreign spouse can be blackmailed, threatened and unfairly treated on this point easily. Moreover, it will create the sense of insecurity for foreign spouse as well going abroad for long holidays would become difficult for couples. However British spouse can compromise more if their spouses have ILR already, they know that they have the rights in the country and they cannot be thrown out so they adopt lenient approach to make the relationship work.

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