Action On Immigration Issues
The Government is bringing in new policies to deal with the many problems with family migration, including the abuse of Human Rights legislation, and the ability of people to come to the United Kingdom and live off benefits. These measures are coming in within the next few weeks.
I have a big postbag/full in-box each week with my constituents who have been expressing their unease about the abuse of the Article 8 on the right to a family life, particularly with regard to those who have committed serious crimes. That is why the Government are introducing clear criteria to protect the public from foreign nationals who try to hide behind family life as a reason to stay here.
Under the new rules, deportation should become the norm for anyone receiving a custodial sentence of at least 12 months. For criminals jailed for more than four years, the public interest in removal should outweigh the right to private and family life in all but the most exceptional circumstances.
Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights is a qualified right. While people have a right to respect for private and family life under Article 8, it is legitimate for the Government to interfere with the exercise of that right, where it is necessary, proportionate and in the public interest to do so.
The wider package of reforms will also stop UK taxpayers having to foot the bill for family members who cannot pay their way in the UK. Other new rules include:
From next month, only those earning at least £18,600 will be able to bring in a spouse or partner from outside Europe – ensuring they can offer the necessary financial support to allow their partner to fully integrate and not become a burden on the country. A higher threshold will be required for the additional sponsorship of migrant children under the age of 18: £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child sponsored before the migrant parent reaches settlement.
Increasing the minimum probationary period from two years to five years before non-EEA spouses and partners can apply for settlement to test the genuineness of relationships.
Abolishing immediate settlement for migrant spouses and partners where the couple have been living together overseas for at least four years. They will need to complete a five-year probationary period in the UK for settlement.
Adult dependent relatives will only be able to apply to settle in the UK from overseas and will be required to demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided in the UK by their relative here and without recourse to public funds.
From autumn 2013, all applicants for settlement will usually be required to speak better English by presenting an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above and pass the Life in the UK test.
The Crime and Courts Bill was published on 11 May and included provision to remove the full right of appeal for family visit visas. In the interim, regulations will be laid before Parliament shortly to remove the full right of appeal from those applying to visit their cousin, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew, or a relative who does not have settled, refugee or humanitarian protection status.
The new rules will also considerably raise the threshold for those seeking to remain in the UK on the basis of private life. These will replace the current 14-year residence rule for settlement for those who overstay in the UK. There will instead be a general expectation that at least 20 years’ UK residence (without family life) will normally be necessary to establish a claim to remain in the UK on the basis of the right to respect for private life.
The new Rules will take effect from 9 July 2012, following a debate in Parliament. A person who has been granted or has applied for leave on the family route before 9 July 2012 will remain subject to the rules in force prior to that date.
These changes will mean a reduced burden on the State, better integration of migrants and enhanced public confidence in the ability of the system to deport foreign criminals. Those with a genuine family life claim will have their rights fully protected, and clearly set out in the Immigration Rules for the first time and hopefully those who are concerned about the current levels of immigration will see that the Government is reflecting and acting on those concerns.