"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 30 April 2014

WELCOME NEWS: Liberal Democrats endorse a fairer family immigration policy

The Liberal Democrat policy paper 'Making Migration Work for Britain: For a stronger economy and a fairer society' can be read here :

The paper contains multiple welcome and progressive policy positions - music to my ears, in fact, after years of negative rhetoric.

Excerpts below :

Page 26 :
'However the tighter rules have restricted the ability of some British citizens to live in the UK with their partner and families and created important areas of friction for migrant communities. They are affected by family separation, of husbands and wives, and from elderly parents living in their home countries. Recent changes to the Immigration Rules including the increased financial thresholds for the granting of ‘leave to remain’ have put historic expectations of reunion out of reach. There is also the significant issue of short-term visits for holidays and family events some, such as funerals, occurring at very short notice that the visa system can frustrate. It is important to address those legitimate concerns. '

On the income requirement :

'... However the current rule means that many residents in full time employment at,or above, the minimum wage have been unable to bring their partner or children to the UK. It sets a standard that 47% of the UK population would fail to meet, and has even caused children to be separated from their parents. '

'For these reasons we agree with the recommendation of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration that this income level should be re-examined. '

On job offers and employability of the foreign spouse :

'... However at present any offer of employment the partner may have in the UK, any likely employment, or their earnings in their home country is completely discounted. In previous advice to the Government the MAC reported that it would be understandable if these factors were allowed to be considered. In the context of our proposed reforms to the entire visa handling system, outlined in the Getting the Basics Right chapter, we believe that such a discretionary power should be given to the decision-maker. '

On elderly dependants :

'The changes made to the Immigration Rules in July 2012 went further, requiring dependent relatives to demonstrate that “as a result of age, illness or disability they require long term care to perform everyday tasks and are unable even with the practical and financial help of a sponsor to obtain a required level of care within the country they are living”.
As a result of this change only one visa was issued via this route between July and October 2012. Liberal Democrats believe it is right that migrants bringing elderly relatives to the country should be able to maintain and accommodate them without recourse to public funds. However the Immigration Rules must be fair and reasonable and not simply written to exclude all applicants... '

'... Our current system does not allow foreign grandparents to visit their families for an extended period. Countries such as Canada have introduced an extended tourist visa for these circumstances. Allowing elderly relatives who can be adequately supported to visit enables them to spend time with their families, and makes Britain a more attractive place to settle for those highly skilled and wealthy migrants who benefit our economy. '

On short-stay family visitors :

'There is significant hardship caused to many migrant families by the inflexible and slow-moving process of visa-handling by UKBA when traumatic family events occur. Whilst it is clear that there is a legitimate concern to address about attempted abuse, which makes diligence essential, we are persuaded that real improvements in accuracy and sensitivity are possible. '

On nationality :

'Liberal Democrats believe that immigration laws should be fair and non-discriminatory. Since 1 January 1983, unmarried mothers have been able to pass on their British nationality to children born outside the UK. However unmarried fathers were not able to do so until a change in the law came into force from 1 July 2006. This change did not apply retrospectively, so children born
to an unmarried British father before July 2006 did not automatically benefit. To ensure fairness, those children should also be allowed to claim British nationality. '

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