UK immigration threatens to get tough on marriage visas

Published: 09/06/2012

The emotive subject of immigration rules for families wanting to live in the UK has seen the Home Secretary suggest that new changes may be introduced next week that will reduce net migration.
Home Secretary Theresa May MP has recently announced that new immigration rules that could potentially disqualify non-EU partners from obtaining UK family visas. While the possible new rules have been largely criticised, so too has the UK’s immigration policy for some time, with the widely-held view that too many people have been allowed to enter the UK, causing a drain on public resources at a time when cuts are being made.
The two key aspects of Theresa May’s proposed changes relate to a minimum income requirement for the sponsor of a foreign national and the introduction of an extended probationary period, from two to five years, with an additional ‘attachment test’.
With regards to the minimum threshold, the changes are likely to see the requirement for a British sponsor needing to earn at least £25,700 (more if they are also sponsoring dependant children) if they wish to bring a non-EU national to the UK on a settlement fiancee, unmarried partner or marriage visa. Critics of this change say that between 45 – 60% of the current annual 53,000 visas granted would be rejected on these grounds and that ‘ordinary people’ who have genuine relationships and could live relatively comfortable lives without recourse to public funds will be refused visas.
The Government, however, is keen that the change does indeed restrict the number of people eligible for UK visas as it aims to drive down the country’s net migration from the current 250,000 each year to just ‘tens of thousands’.
Furthermore, the changes highlight the Government’s aim to reduce the potency of the ‘right to a family life’ clause, which is under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which has previously been considered to be abused by people who may not perhaps be considered worthy recipients of a UK visa. As such, Theresa May has suggested that, in rare and exceptional cases, these people will have to choose between separating from their British-based spouse or going to live with them overseas.
For further information on these or any other UK marriage visa issues and how they may affect your personal situation, please contact Marriage Visa Help for up to date support and guidance.

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