On 13 July, the Government launched a consultation on family migration. The consultation is about better family migration: better for migrants, communities and the UK as a whole.
The proposals focus on stopping abuse, promoting integration and reducing burdens on the taxpayer and include:
• Defining more clearly what constitutes a genuine and continuing marriage under the Immigration Rules to help identify sham and forced marriages.
• Introducing a new minimum income threshold for sponsors of family migrants to ensure they are adequately supported as a basis for integration. The independent Migration Advisory Committee has been asked to advise on the level at which the threshold should be set.
• Extending the probationary period before spouses and partners can apply for settlement (permanent residence) in the UK from 2 years to 5 years to test the genuineness of relationships and to encourage integration into British life ahead of settlement.
• Ending immediate settlement on entry for spouses and partners who have been married or in a relationship for at least 4 years before coming to the UK, and for adult dependent relatives, including those aged 65 or over, and requiring both groups to complete a 5-year probationary period.
• Requiring spouses, partners and adult dependants applying for settlement to be able to demonstrate that they can understand everyday English (B1 level).
• 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 from taking place where sham is suspected.
• Reviewing the appeal right for family visit visas.
To read the family migration consultation and for information on how to respond, visit: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/consultati....
For further information about the work of the UK Border Agency, visit: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk.
Deadline: Thursday 6 October 2011