"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.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Looking beyond the economic value of family migrants

The UK government’s move towards placing increasingly harder-to-meet restrictions on British nationals who want to bring their non-EEA partner to the UK emphasises a global pattern of equating the value of migrants with their economic benefit.

July 2012 saw the introduction of significant amendments to the UK’s family migration rules, including the introduction of an annual income threshold of GBP 18,600 for British sponsors seeking to bring their non-EEA partner to settle in the UK.

Other changes included a considerable extension on the previous probationary period, bringing the period in which a family migrant has no recourse to public funds to five years.  

Rather than being compatible with the Conservatives’ goal to strengthen families and the Liberal Democrats’ passion for protecting civil liberties, the rules have resulted in hundreds of families being torn apart indefinitely and many British citizens being unable to avail of their right to respect for family life.

By judging family migrants on their economic benefits only, we render those who don’t meet the financial requirement as undesirable.

This false notion is problematic since determining migrants on their fiscal value alone ignores their non-economic qualities and marginalises their, albeit uncertain, future and potential contributions.

When family migration policy is motivated solely by a desire for economically desirable migrants, the results are not just economic but social, too.

What is the price of forcing British children to grow up without one parent due to their economic value being deemed as insufficient to qualify for settlement? 

Or the price of making a British parent grow old and die alone as their British child cannot gain access to the UK as a family unit with their non-EEA spouse?

The inevitable collapse in the family, and consequently the community, which is sure to follow is certain to have profound, long-term effects on society in general.

The value of family life cannot be measured in terms of a financial threshold. If we want to create a society which supports family reunion and consequently, stable families and communities, it is time we moved beyond focusing on economic rationales when formulating family migration policies.

1 comment:

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