"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.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Immigration rules passed without due regard for human rights

Consultation on the human rights impact of the July 2012 changes to the family route were insufficient

“Consult widely with those affected” is just one of three steps ministers are required to take before making a legislative reform order.

Had this step been carried out with due regard in 2012 when new immigration rules governing family migration were introduced, the ongoing, unfair and unnecessary separation of family members as a direct result of the reforms would perhaps not be an issue.

Proposals to change the rules raised serious human rights concerns. Yet, remarkably, the Joint Committee on Human Rights―the most obvious of the Select Committees of the House for the rules to be referred to for scrutiny―was not consulted.

Despite several MPs, including Dr Hywel Francis, Jeremy Corbyn and Yvette Cooper, voicing their concerns, and the potential human rights impact of the reforms having not been given sufficient consideration during the proposal stage, the controversial changes were implemented in July 2012. 

Vincent Nichols says the rules are "anti-family" 
The rules, which include a financial requirement for British sponsors of non-EEA partners and any dependent children, stipulate the sponsor must have a minimum income of GBP 18,600. 

According to Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, up to 47 per cent of UK nationals would fail to meet this income threshold.

It is difficult to see how the potential impact of the rulesincluding the separation of British citizens from their non-EEA family memberswas not seen as sufficiently serious as to warrant the high degree of regard that scrutiny by the Committee would have provided.

There is perhaps no greater indication than this lack of referral to the Committee that the effects which would result from the rules, and their extent and magnitude, were not given fair consideration.

The feeling of being victimised by one’s own government is a bitter pill to swallow, said Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, when speaking out against the rules last month.

But knowing the government didn't pay due regard to the human rights impact of such rules before sanctioning them is enough to make one choke.

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