Home Secretary Theresa May is expected to announce further changes to UK immigration policy today.
11 June 2012
Theresa May continues UK immigration crackdown
The Home Secretary Theresa May is continuing her efforts bring UK immigration under greater control as she announces further changes to policy.
Mrs May is expected to announce further changes to UK immigration policy which will see income thresholds introduced, increased waiting periods and 'Britishness' tests currently limited to citizenship applicants applied to all residency applicants.
Mrs May will announce an income threshold for British citizens or residents wanting to bring in family members from overseas; any Briton or permanent resident wanting to bring in a partner will be required to earn at least £18,600 a year or £22,400 if there are children involved. The threshold will increase incrementally depending on the number of children.
Spouses of British citizens currently have to wait a period of two years before being eligible to apply for settlement, Mrs May intends to increase that period to five years.
Mrs May is also expected to announce that all applicants applying for settlement, and not just those applying for citizenship, will be required to sit a 'Britishness' exam which will test their knowledge of British history and culture.
The home secretary’s efforts come as the Government continues its attempt to reduce net immigration to the UK to the 'tens of thousands' as promised by the Conservative Party upon taking up government. Both Mrs May and Immigration Minister Damian Green have made significant changes to UK visa and immigration policies and claim their changes are beginning to work.
Critics argue that the Government has been too focussed on cosmetic reductions which do not tackle the abuse of the immigration system.
"The truth is this Government is deporting fewer and fewer foreign criminals every year because of failures in enforcement and administration," said Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper. "Today's announcement from Theresa May does nothing to tackle these failings which are letting too many foreign criminals stay in Britain."
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.