"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Monday 10 June 2013

The APPG Report is out


'The UK Government properly recognises family life to be the bedrock of a strong and stable society. Where families are formed across borders, wider concerns about immigration management and any costs to the public purse are also considerations.

'Since July 2012, new family migration rules in the UK have brought into focus how these different considerations may compete. This inquiry arose out of cross-party concern that the introduction
of a new minimum income requirement for those seeking to sponsor a non-EEA partner and any children, and of new rules affecting sponsorship of adult dependents, may have led to family members being unnecessarily and unfairly separated from one another.

'During the course of this inquiry we received nearly 300 submissions, from affected families, charities, lawyers, businesses and MPs. Whilst this inquiry does not claim to be a comprehensive review of the emerging impacts of new family migration rules, we were impressed by both the amount of evidence we received and its weight. The evidence that we heard suggests that there is a strong case for these rules to be reviewed.

'We found that, in today’s internationally connected world, British citizens who are seeking to build a family with a non-EEA national – including from the USA and from Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Pakistan and India – are being prevented indefinitely from living together in their own country. We heard from a range of people who had been affected by the new rules, including British citizens and permanent residents with considerable means, or access to means.

'In many of the cases children, including very young children, had been separated from a parent, with potentially severe effects on their future development.

'We also heard that the new rules may have generated costs to the public purse, which we assume must not have been anticipated.

'In addition, on the basis of evidence we received, the adult dependent relative route appears to have all but closed. British people and permanent residents who may wish to care for a non-EEA elderly parent or grandparent at their own expense in the UK now appear unable to do so.

'We question whether this is unnecessarily prohibitive and likely to have negative impacts into the future by prompting significant contributors to our society to move abroad or deterring them from working here at all.

'We heard that the UK’s new family migration rules are among the toughest of their kind in Europe, and that European Union nationals now benefit from less restrictive rules relating to their family life in the UK than those affecting British citizens.

'However, we were encouraged by a recent assurance (in answer to a written parliamentary question) that “ [t]he Government will keep the impact of the rules in achieving these objectives and more generally on family life in the UK, under review in the light of the published immigration statistics and other sources of information available on the operation of the rules."

'We urge Government to consider the emerging evidence about what must be the unintended consequences of these rules, and hope they will agree the need fully to review whether, one year on from their introduction, these rules have struck the right balance between different interests.'


Divided Families Campaign - video.


A film by Maryam Tafakory

UK's new visa rules 'causing anguish' for families.


'New migration rules for people from outside the European Union are "tearing British families apart", a group of MPs and peers have claimed in a report.

'It said thousands of Britons have been unable to bring a non-EU spouse to the UK since July 2012, when minimum earnings requirements were introduced.

'Children have also been separated from a parent, the committee said.'

Family migration rules that put a £18,600-a-year price tag on love are 'heartbreaking'.

Families devastated by earnings requirement for any non-EU spouse visa.


'When Ashley Prodgers, a minister in the Salvation Army, and his Georgian wife, Teya Tikaradze, returned from their honeymoon in July last year, they were looking forward to a new life together serving their local community in Addlestone, Surrey.

'Little did they know that changes to family migration rules – put into place just three days before their return – had put an £18,600 price tag on love. Despite having a house and car provided by the church, Mr Prodgers' annual salary of £7,000 was deemed too low for him to get a spouse visa for his foreign wife.

'The controversial changes now require British citizens wishing to sponsor a non-EU spouse to show minimum earnings of £18,600 a year, despite the fact that more than half the working population in the UK earn less than that.

'Forced by the UK Border Agency to choose between a life abroad and a life apart, the couple left for Dublin. '

British immigration rules 'splitting up families'.


'HUNDREDS of families are being torn apart by new immigration rules requiring British citizens to earn more than 18,000 pounds ($29,000) to bring in a non-EU spouse or partner, a new report say.

'High-earning businessmen and people wanting to return home for their retirement have been barred from entering Britain because of the income threshold, it is claimed.

'And British citizens wishing to return home after living abroad have found themselves prohibited. An Australian businessman with prospective UK earnings of 400,000 pounds ($650,000) a year and a $5.8 million property in Britain was ineligible for a visa because his British wife had no earnings.

'The man, a chief financial officer with a multinational firm in Dubai, had a salary package of 250,000 pounds but did not qualify under the new income threshold.

"This is because his earnings overseas could not be considered and his wife is not employed, nor does she intend or need to undertake employment in the UK," PricewaterhouseCoopers reported.

'In another case, a British citizen decided against returning to Scotland to retire after living in Australia for 45 years. She said: "We got a shock when my Australian husband of 43 years applied for a visa. We don't want to go to a country that doesn't want us."'

UK families speak of visa rules pain.


'"We need to know that you're not going to be living off benefits from day one of arriving here," the immigration minister said last year as he announced new rules to cut the number of people coming to Britain.

'It is hard to imagine he had Kei Yamomoto in mind.

'Kei is the Japanese husband of Marianne Bailey, a 35-year-old former senior designer for Yamaha, who now runs her own design firm. She is pregnant with Kei's baby, but her husband could be deported at any time.

'They are just one of the thousands of families said to be prevented from living together in the UK because, on paper, Marianne does not earn enough to satisfy immigration officials.

'"I'm giving birth in July," she says. "But they could take away my husband at any time - just pick him up."


'"How am I supposed to bond with my son?" asks one father. "I've only seen him twice since he was born. He's got a tooth coming through, he's turning around in his bed and I'm missing all these big events in his life."

'Douglas lives in Kent, 3,000 miles away from his wife and six-month-old son Ethan in Lagos, Nigeria.

'Immigration officials say the £17,000 profit he made as a self-employed mortgage broker last year is not enough for him to sponsor his wife's visa.

'He says he has already spent £2,000 appealing against the decision.

'If an applicant wants to use their savings, rather than income, to show they have enough money to satisfy the new rules, they need £62,500.

'"I'm just an ordinary person. I don't have those kind of savings." Douglas says.

'"It seems like if you're middle class and you've got loads of money, then you can come in. They've got it totally wrong."

'But financially better off people, like Marianne, have found themselves in a similar situation...'

'Liberal Democrat APPG member Sarah Teather MP said: "During the course of the inquiry, we heard from many families in which British children are being made to grow up away from a parent, or where families had been forced to move overseas in order to be together. Whatever the objective of the policy, children shouldn't suffer as a result."


'The committee's inquiry looked at the new minimum income requirement of £18,600 for British nationals and permanent residents seeking to sponsor a non-European Economic Area spouse or partner. The figure is £22,400 to sponsor a child and a further £2,400 for each further child.

'In more than 175 submissions from families affected by the rules, 45 claimed their inability to meet the income threshold had led to the separation of children, including British children, from a non-EEA parent.'

Migration rules 'causing anguish'.


A breast-feeding mother separated from her British baby was among the cases the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Migration heard during its inquiry into the rules that came into force on in July last year.

Immigration rules designed to prevent Britons bringing foreign spouses into the country who they cannot afford to support are so rigidly enforced that they are also preventing high-earning executives from settling in the UK, research has found.


https://twitter.com/MigRightsScot :
Casework suggests (£18600) limit is preventing elderly couples from being able to live together in #UK: @GordonBanksMP to @APPGMigration Inq  

Follow https://twitter.com/APPGMigration and https://twitter.com/migrants_rights for more.

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